Pumpkin Soup


Dr. Cohn called me from the veterinary clinic Wednesday while I was pole-walking. I have to stop giving Torvald one of his medicines, he said, and the other has got to be cut back. The diuretic that has been saving his life for a year is now, after his siege in the ICU and a raised dose to prevent another one, starting to tank his kidneys.

I had suspected as much. He hasn’t wanted to eat much of anything since the hospital stay, and didn’t even drink on his own, so far as I could tell, for two days after that. (I did something that he considered undignified, several times, with an ear syringe, before he went back to slurping at the fountain. You do what you have to.) Kidney toxicity erases a cat’s appetite, famous for being finicky at its best.

He’s lost a pound, on top of the bad bloodwork, and I no longer feel the coiled springs under my hands when I pick him up, though he grouses and complains sometimes when I do. Possibly if I can keep him eating something, he might perk back up; for several days I thought he was going to stay bouncy again — top of the sofa, favorite window — but just as that seemed a sure thing, he slowed back down. He walks half way across a room, stops, and sits down. This morning he slept in the same position so long that I was afraid to look closely for a moment.


I have no idea how this is relaxing but he spent an hour this way

I hope, however, that’s how it ends. He could go for a few days or for weeks, I don’t know, but once the drugs start to break their kidneys, you can’t do a save on the heart failure like we did a couple of weeks ago; you can’t even give them the dose that was helping before. It’s a brutal bargain; it’s just the only one I’ve got. I just watch his breathing — slow and quiet now, the way it should be.

I did find some food that he seems to like — a trendy little organic grain-free blah blah pouch brand called “Soulistic” that offers such delicacies as “duck and chicken in pumpkin soup.” I don’t know what this thing is for feeding pumpkin to quadrupeds, but it seems to be suddenly all the rage. He certainly slurped it up. Not the whole dish, but enough to signify. This afternoon he went for “tuna and duck in gravy”: I don’t know why, but he now wants food that he can lap.

He is a Viking and would pee on me if he knew I were telling anyone about this.

Right now he’s on the porch, though, watching whatever prey there is to watch in the rain. Not going anywhere yet. I have to go out tomorrow and get him more pumpkin soup.


18 thoughts on “Pumpkin Soup

    • Every cat you ever have is the best cat in the world somehow, aren’t they? Cat lover virtual hug.

      He’s not too keen on the food and his idea of love is a little on the BDSM side, which he’s not quite up to presently, but… even if love is just leaving him alone under the sun lamp because that’s what he wants, he gets it.

  1. We’ve been through this with another cat, and with this one (now 18+) I said no meds, no surgery, no major blood work ups, etc. But a few times I’ve taken her in and had her rehydrated to prime the pump, and she goes back to eating. I’ve stopped buying the expensive $2.00 grain-free food, and now she’s just as happy and healthy on Friskies at $.40 a can. Just love him while you can.

    • I wish rehydration were possible, but this is a special case. Heart failure shows up as accumulation of fluid in the lungs, which is why he has to have the Lasix. If you plop a big bolus of fluids into the cat — I’ve done that too in uncomplicated kidney failure — you’re going to go right to another cardiopulmonary crisis. That’s why he has to stay a little dried out, and why it’s such a miserable bargain.

      The Engineer and I have teamed up to home rehydrate two of his cats, one lived for three years in slow kidney failure of old age.

      At least, for the moment, my young man is trotting up and down the steps again!

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