Senpu is beyond treatment now. I have an appointment on Weds for his final vet visit. We're going to let him go then.
He's been a fantastic cat for nearly 13 years now, and I can't even begin to imagine life without him, but we will have to come to terms with it in just a few days. I know that he'll be with us forever, though. His fur is everywhere. I will be picking it out of corners and clothing for the next 20 years, I'm certain.
For those curious about the medical side of things, here's the long and short of it:
One year ago, we noticed a decline in Senpu's kidney function. He went through a few serious urinary tract infections that we treated as soon as we noticed them. We were as diligent as possible, and swapped him over to wet food. We also started giving him a fairly expensive food supplement powder prescribed by the vet. He did ok. He lost a lot of weight, and it concerned us, but otherwise he was fine.
We struggled with his appetite off and on after that, and his weight always seemed to fluxuate from week to week.
About six months ago, I noticed he was starting to behave strangely. His purr sounded weird. When he did purr, he'd stop suddenly and start hacking like he was going to vomit, but he never did. The morning I saw him breathe through his mouth for the first time, I made a vet appointment.
Senpu's Xrays were solid white. You could not make out any internal structures. He was a few days away from death, and we needed to hospitalize him for a few days while they worked to get the fluids down in his chest. The fluids were expunged with diuretics, but they would not clear up easily.
The vet tentatively diagnosed him with congestive heart failure, and we aggressively tackled that as much as we could while dancing around his impending chronic renal failure. (At this point, he was still technically in decline, not failure.)
After 2 months of diligent medication, we started to see positive changes in his Xrays. We still could not see the heart. The doc saw some concerning things on the Xray, but really wanted to clear him up before making further diagnoses. She suspected Amyloidosis, and we were both secretly afraid of a tumor.
He progressively got better, and I was able to skip two months at a time between regular checkups. When he went in for a follow up in January, his Xrays looked awesome. He was up a pound, and his blood oxygen readings were fantastic. It was never really a case of lung function, but room for them to function. The doc estimated that if things kept going the way they were, we could still expect a little bit more progress out of him. If we could keep it under control, he'd be ok for years! We shaved him because he wasn't cleaning himself so much. When Senpu came home, I could tell he loved his new haircut. He started rolling around on the carpets and scooting all over the place like a happy cat.
Cut to last week. I came back from Ushicon, and Senpu looked wretched. The thing I was most afraid of was that he'd stopped responding to the diuretics that kept his chest cavity free from fluid and allowed him to breathe properly. I decided to wait through the week and see if we couldn't bring him back to a better place. Matt's mom was here while I was at Ushi, and she brought her yappy dog. I figured he may have just been stressed a little bit.
Senpu didn't improve. This morning, he looked absolutely wretched. I called the vet and got him in for that afternoon. His Xray was exactly like it had been 6 months ago- solid white. We weren't sure if the diuretics were working anymore, but it appears that all the good they did just made more room for something else to fill it up. Senpu's kidneys were also looking way worse, and it now appeared that he had another UTI. If the UTI was the only thing causing it, that would be easily treatable. However, the vet noticed that his heart wasn't positioned where it was supposed to be, and suspected that the reason we never properly got to see the heart was NOT from congestive heart failure, but perhaps a tumor on the heart itself. That being the case, clearing out all the congestion gave the tumor more room to take off and grow. It then pushed everything inside Senpu all out of whack.
There's not anything left to be done for him. I opted to spend a little extra to make him comfortable. We treated the UTI with an injection of antibiotics, and she also gave him a steroid to try and reduce inflammation around the mass in his chest. If they work, he should be a comfy& happy cat tomorrow. She said as soon as it wears off, though, he'll start to decline again.
We scheduled his final appointment for Weds, so he will be comfortable until then. I'm pretty upset about all this, but I've been coming to terms with it over the past 6 months. We've had so many health scares with him, but I knew when I was taking him in today that it wouldn't be something he could bounce back from. I am going to miss him terribly.