Judith Lautner (judith) wrote,
Judith Lautner

The Bullet dodging me

This morning I was able to feed my cat Bullet without much resistance. I am feeding him through a tube that goes into his stomach and that is wrapped in tape so that it extends out from his neck, on the upper side. I use a large syringe (60 ml), filling it completely with a liquid similar to baby formula (but a lot more expensive). I push 4 ml or less into the tube at a time, taking many breaks, because it is hard for Bullet to absorb too much at a time. It is also not very comfortable if all conditions are not right. I haven't gotten all conditions right yet but this morning seems the closest I have gotten.

And how did I get here?

A few weeks ago, while grandson Joey was visiting, I noticed that Bullet, who is 20 years old and has a thyroid condition and is FIV-positive, smelled bad. Like an infection. I brought him to the vet for investigation. The vet found an infection on a growth on the underside of his tongue. She put him on antibiotics and pain meds and after a week she put him under anesthesia to clean his teeth and remove as much as possible of the growth.

The growth was larger than she thought it would be. Because of the invasion of his mouth she called and recommended that he get this tube inserted so he could be fed a liquid diet. She would not know how bad it was, the growth, until the biopsy results came back. The biopsy came back with the results we did not want: cancer of a type that will invade whatever it can and for which there are no good treatments, at least not for Bullet.

So Bullet is sentenced to eating four times a day through a tube. He does not get to taste his food, certainly does not get to enjoy it. I had bad problems the first day or so and went back to the nurse at the vet's to have her feed him so I could get some sense of what might work better. My cat caretaker also took on the feeding while I was out of town for a few days, and she developed some improved techniques.

Two days ago I could not stop myself from tearing up. Bullet looked at me distrustfully and seemed fearful every time I fed him. The experience has not been great for either of us. It is getting a little better, though. This morning when I came into the living room Bullet was sitting there and he let out a typical Bullet Meow, which I was very happy to hear. When he is complaining I am not. I mean, this is Bullet being demanding and that means he seems to be feeling better. He is gaining weight and I suspect the pain in his mouth has diminished some now that the surgery is healing. The cancer will continue to grow and he might even develop some ability to eat a little on his own, through his mouth. That is really the most I can hope for. I can also hope that I recognize when it is truly time to let go.
Tags: cats

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