Sad cat tales
My daughter's two-year old cat, the personable Ms. Pinot, has been diagnosed with feline hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. For those who don't speak medicine, this means that the muscle around the left side of her heart is grossly overdeveloped. Her cardiac function is already no more than 30 %. Unless the heart responds to aspirin therapy (a long shot) the heart will eventually crush itself. Pinot has no better than an even chance of reaching three, and is unlikely to live more than three more years in the best case.
The good things in this are that HCM causes no pain, in cats or people. Also, being a cat she can live in the moment and be spared the foreboding that her people feel.
In the exchange of feline symptoms that this news brought about, my daughter suggested that Ms. Annie, a cat who lives in our house but is not ours, or any human's, has probably developed feline cognitive disorder, popularly known as "kitty Alzheimer's."
One of our neighbours is an ASPCA volunteer who gentles feral animals before adoption, and Annie was one of her few failures. Well, partly so: although she ran away from Sheila's home, Annie stayed on the block. Eventually she decided to try life on our back deck, and during a snowstorm seven years ago nonchalantly moved in. She will not permit a human within five feet of her, but is content to have food, water, warmth, and the often-annoying companionship of Spike, the cat of record here. Annie is probably 18 years old, which is right up there in cat years.
The one benefit I can hope for is that Annie might forget that she is afraid of people, and so allow some petting and comfort. I don't know that she would accept being gathered up for that final trip to the vet's, but one could at least give her a little comfort at the end: she is such a beautiful little thing.