I thought it was time to report on Parker’s condition, as it’s been more than two weeks since he last appreared in this blog. Each time that I write about him, I note a deterioration in his condition, and yet he remains with me, and has not given me an indication that he wants to leave. He reminds me of the process of trying to reach zero by continually dividing a number in half: one keeps coming closer, but never gets there.
There have been some changes to Parker’s behaviour in the interval. He still enjoys his walks outside. We went for a couple last weekend; the weather was perfect, and we spent rather longer than usual in the outdoors (such as it is in a small city neighbourhood). Much of the time, Puck simply lie on the concrete, smelling and seeing the scenery. (I can’t let him on the grass because he constantly wishes to eat it; he throws up enough without assistance, thank you.) But now, he wants to go out all the time. He lies by the door, and scratches at it. I suspect that outside is the only environment in which he feels very good. I wish I could take him out more often, but numerous cats, and other non-feline responsibilities, limit our time there.
The orange boy has a desire to lie in new places about the apartment. Initially, it was on the large cat-carrier temporarily (one of those long-term temporarilies) in the corridor. I keep a half-box on it, one of several I have about the residence for quick use when I think someone is about to throw up. Parker decided that it a good place to lie.
Then, I found him on top of the litter-box in the library. This was certainly new, but did not last long. He later lie beside the box for a while.
More recently, he has taken to snoozing on top of the bookcases. This is not a novelty, rather a resurgence of interest. To reach the bookcase that he now prefers, however, means walking across one that is a little wobbly, and it sounds, strangely, just like a cat heaving before a good puking session.
But Parker is searching for new spots at which to rest. This may be an element of a need for comfort that he is not finding elsewhere, but when he lies down, no matter where it is, he does not appear to me to be in discomfort. There is rarely constant movement, no real restlessness, and his tail is usually still, not slapping in annoyance or dissatisfaction.
Another change is to his nose, which is darker than it once was, and seems to be losing fur. This may have something to do with his hygiene. That remains good, both in terms of his cleaning himself and in visiting the litter-box. But a spot he does not wash is his nose, which often has a residue of soft food stuck to it. I clean that off myself.
His vomiting has changed. It is no longer explosive, nor is it mostly liquid. It is of a smaller quantity, but a thicker quality. I would like to think that the calmer upchucking is an improvement but, given my sturdy-boy’s condition, that is improbable.
While Parker’s appetite has lessened, it is still impressive for an ailing fellow. Whenever the menu no longer appeals to him, I change it, so that there is always the possibility of something else for him. He now again enjoys a Royal Canin variety, and does not hesitate to eat a Nutro ‘loaf’ for senior cats. He has also, surprisingly, taken to Merrick turkey, which has not been a big hit in the apartment in the past. He finished off a three-ounce tin for breakfast this morning, which approximates his old appetite of eating half a 5.5 ounce tin at one sitting.
I am pleased by this, of course, and not just because it means Parker is receiving much-needed nutrition. I believe that cats enjoy their meals more than the average human does, and that they derive great pleasure from them. After all, in a life in which sleeping, watching and the odd play-time are the biggest parts, eating takes on a wider importance. If my cats don’t enjoy their food, I feel that I am depriving them of something to which they look forward. Parker continues to look forward to his meals. I have the feeling that his appetite will continue strong until immediately before he dies, or perhaps will even be unfazed by his condition. I hope so. A full belly works wonders on moral, human or feline.
My remarkable friend continues to defy mortality, if only for a few more days. Next week may bring disaster, but that’s next week. When I left him this morning, he was resting, content with his breakfast, and an earlier visit to the litter-box. We measure his life in hours, and these recent hours have been, all things considered, pretty good.