Ever heard of Renal failure or renal disease? No? Try kidney disease. Ah, there is the lightbulb. Kidney disease, the leading cause of death in elderly domestic cats. The kidneys slowly fail over a long period of time, gradually not able to keep up with what is passing through. If caught early enough, it can be treatable to help your lovely cat live out a long, full life. There are four stages: Stage 1 being early kidney insufficiency, stage 4 meaning end stage kidney failure.
Jellorium, my cat, is at stage 4. This means that her kidneys are functioning at 15% or less. Treatment at this point doesn’t aim for longevity, but comfortability. Quality of life over quantity of life. I give her a pill a day and then 50 mL of fluid injection every other day. She isn’t very progressed in stage 4, so the goal is to keep her at this early stage for as long as possible before her kidneys shut down. She has about a year left, two at the most.
As I was being told this, I tried not to cry. It is like hearing that you child or best friend is slowly dying. I was watching her curiously walk around the room, occasionally meowing at me. I sat there wondering if she knew she was dying, if she knew she didn’t have very long. In my head, I was envisioning her being with me when I graduated college. Now that vision is diminished, and a new one has taken its place. When it is close to her end, she will start to vomit a lot. Her lovely kitty breath will turn sour, and her mouth will be overrun with blisters. She will be skinny and possibly have seizures. And this is when I will put her down.
We may only have a year left together, but it will by far be the best year of her life.