KiKi is moving into his later years.
It'll be 14 years ago this fall that SM picked up this squished little kitty at a gas station. KiKi has had good life for a mostly wild cat. Food and shelter inside our warm adobe and a kitty access door to the wide wonderful world outside whenever he wants it. Scratches and snuggles available on demand but instant "alone time" when the mood and his growls warn us to back off.
He's never missed a meal unless you count the time he went missing for a week. We thought he was a goner for sure. We couldn't figure it out. We went up and down the streets calling him. No cat. We notified all our neighbors and after 5 days of "no KiKi" we assumed something bigger and meaner had got a hold of him and took him to kitty heaven.
A few days later, our neighbor Don heard meowing under the vacant "For Sale" house beside ours. He looked into the crawl space and there was KiKi none the worse for wear after a week under the house. We think that a home inspector had gone under the house and KiKi, seeing the crawl space door open, followed his instinct for dark, creepy places and got locked inside after the inspector left.
The only other excitement we had with KiKi was his bi-annual fights that he had with various cats in the hood when he was younger. These fights would result in bites that would abscess leaving SM and I with our periodic financial contribution to the Vet who was more than happy to take our money in return to sedate and stitch up "Devil-Kitty" as he was known at the Vets. Seriously. His rather thick file had a big red sticker on it that proclaimed THIS CAT BITES!
Things have calmed down over the years though and KiKi has become a somewhat friendlier cat, more with SM than with me since I'm the one covered in dogs 24-7. The dogs treat him pretty good too considering that there's three of them to one of him. He is The King after all.
So it was SM who noticed KiKi's behavior change a few weeks ago. He became a lot more vocal and demanding. SM said that he seemed hesitant to jump from one area to another. I brushed it off as "old age". It has been cold here and he IS getting up there in years, maybe arthritis was setting in?
Last week though I went to feed him and it seemed that he couldn't find his food. I noticed that he walked around until he bumped into it. I kept my eye on him as he walked through the house and noticed that he "hugged" the walls. He knew his way around for sure and if you didn't know him you wouldn't think anything was wrong. I went to touch him and he startled. I snapped my finger in front of his face and waved my hand around. Nothing.
His pupils were huge though. I grabbed a flashlight and waved it in front of his eyes. Pupils were responsive. No blood that I could see. He was eating and drinking and other than being blind seemed fine so I told the Vet's office that it wasn't an emergency and that we could wait till Monday to take him in for an evaluation.
I google searched sudden blindness in cats and came up with the "big three" of cat issues. Kidney, thyroid or hypertension.
The Vet confirmed bilateral retinal detachment and did a blood draw to pin down a cause. He suspects hypertension but won't know for sure until the blood results come back. I am encouraged that while both retinas are detached, they aren't folded or wrinkled. He says they appear "closer" like he has some edema (swelling) behind the retinas that's pushing the retina forward thereby detaching it. He feels that if we can get the inflammation down, than KiKi just might get some of his vision back. He fixed me up with 3 different pills and asked me if I can give KiKi pills.
*Those of you with cats, try to suppress your giggles Those of you who have never tried to give a cat a pill read all about it here.
BTW, SM and I managed to get the pills down his throat with SM holding KiKi wrapped up in a towel and me dropping tuna smeared pills into his growling mouth. Heaven help us if he DOES get his sight back cause then he'll see me coming and KiKi can be one pissed off cat!
The Vet wants to see KiKi again on Friday to check his eyes for improvement and to discuss the findings of the blood work. I have to be at work that day (lucky me!) so this is a job for SM. SM 's only comment to me was that I have to put the cat in the carrier before I leave for work and that as long as the vet staff does the same when they're done looking at him, he'll be happy to take him in.
So SM and I have had to have THAT discussion. You know the one. When do you say enough is enough? He is 14 years old after all. If it's a thyroid or blood pressure problem I'm OK with buying the meds. He seems healthy enough. The Vet mentioned referring us to a specialist if he can't figure out what the problem is. "Um...No, thanks."
We also won't go down the "kidney failure" road either. Our last dog Alex went quick with kidney failure. About 6 weeks from diagnosis to death. It was fast. If it's kidney, there's not much to be done IMHO. (We had neighbors who told us they tried to extend the life of their 6 year old cat who was suffering kidney issues. IV's and all sorts of meds. Nope. Not for this old cat.)
So here we are. I will say this though...For a blind cat, he gets around amazingly well. Makes you realize how refined all his other senses are. It is fascinating to watch.