A fright from Vincent

Yesterday was a bad day for Vincent.

He only ate a moderate amount for breakfast and throughout the day, he refused to eat.

The sad thing is that, he would come into the kitchen when it was time for meals and wait for his food. I offered him everything we had (home-cooked, canned, blended raw, cut-up raw, liquid food, Primal), one after another, but nothing seemed right. He would just look at the food and turn away, but continue waiting.

That was really so, so sad. It was as though he wanted to eat, but had no appetite to do so.

I even opened up two new flavours of the liquid food and what’s even sadder is that he smelled the new flavours and he got excited. His eyes lit up, waiting for the new food. But when I put it into a fresh bowl in front of him, all he could do was to sniff at the food…and then, turn away.

And each time, after patiently waiting for me to put the “right food” in front of him (which I failed to do, but I did offer everything we had), he would walk away and drink water. So yes, he drank water every time, as though compensating for the absence of food. I felt horrible, but there was no more food options to offer him.

By night time, at around 10am, I force-fed him some liquid food. It was difficult. He didn’t want any food, but I was worried about him having no nutrition for too many hours. He refused to eat, so I only managed to force-feed a wee bit of liquid food. Hardly a significant amount.

If it were any other one of our cats going off food for half a day or so, it would have been less worrying. They all have reserves. But for Vincent, he is already so thin and emaciated. Hepatic lipodosis (fatty liver) would be a great worry. Or, for that matter, starvation. He lost muscle mass rapidly, which means he also lost a lot of fat. We don’t know why. The vet said it could be due to aging as well.

The only thing we can do now is to deal with his condition and make sure he eats every day. It’s a case of taking one day at a time. As long as he is still able to eat, it is good enough. So yesterday was indeed a very bad day, with Vincent not eating anymore after breakfast.

I took these photos of Vincent on the staircase landing (his favourite place now) before going to bed last night.

He looked pretty bad too. His eyes were all watery.

He didn’t even want to engage with me. When I tried to pat him on the head, he turned away. He usually does this when he is not feeling well.

I barely slept all night, wondering if his refusal to eat was a sign of something worst. I remember Daffodil and Tiger both refused to eat one day before they passed on. I wondered if Vincent would still be alright this morning.

We all know that death is inevitable. Everyone must die. Of course, we prefer that everyone dies of old age, peacefully, but that is not always the case. Some die young, some die of illnesses and when it’s time to go, I think there is hardly anything anyone can do to stop it. All we could perhaps do is to try our best to make the remaining time as comfortable as possible and hope there is minimal suffering. Pain is also inevitable, but suffering is a choice, so people say. Pain is physical, suffering is mental. So, if the mind is strong, suffering can be choice even if there is pain. If animals don’t indulge in complicated (and unnecessary) overthinking like we humans, maybe they won’t suffer as much. Or maybe, they just go with the flow and accept physical pain, and there is no mental suffering. Let’s hope that is the case.

If I may be allowed to digress a bit, I read from somewhere that animals do not understand their own death. They would just go with the flow when they feel very weak or tired, so they rest, usually in a quiet and safe place. This is why there is a misconception that animals “go away to die”. It’s not really going away to die, it’s more of going away to hide because the animal feels weak and defenseless when death is imminent. If it is true that all they feel is just being tired and they want to rest, that’s rather reassuring, in a way. At least there is no fear of death, hopefully.

But back to Vincent.

Something unexpected happened early this morning.

As I lay awake in bed, wondering how he was, I heard my husband’s alarm going off at 3am (he had an early session at work). I wanted to wake up and go down to stairs to check on Vincent, but when I turned around, guess what?

Vincent had come up to our bedroom and he looked much better!

He rubbed himself all over my leg too, something he had not done for many days now. He was asking for something and was engaging with me.

Food?

Let’s try!

We went downstairs to the kitchen and I read Vincent’s body language. He wanted to eat.

I first offered some Monge but he didn’t want that. The reason I wanted him to eat Monge is because that’s the easiest food to “lace” with Vetri DMG. It had been very difficult putting Vetri DMG (although it’s odourless into his good as Vincent is so sensitive to smells and he turns away the moment he suspects his food isn’t “pure”. It is already hard enough getting him to eat. Between just eating and eating Vetri DMG-laced food, I’d rather he just ate than not eat at all.

Then, I offered some cut-up raw meat.

Aha…that’s what he wanted.

If that’s the only thing you are willing to eat, just eat, Vincent.

He ate about 5 helpings (a moderate amount). I gave him as much as he wanted until he walked away from the bowl.

After eating and drinking water, he went back to his “safe place”.

He certainly looks better this morning compared to yesterday.

One day at a time.

As long as it’s not time to go, please continue to be able to eat, be reasonably happy and be free from suffering.

Pain is inevitable, but suffering is a choice. Let’s hope animals, being still attuned to nature, handle and accept pain better than us and if at all there is any mental suffering, let that be minimal.

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