A wish for a cat

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I’ve had Gillespie since the summer of 2000. I got him when he was 9 months old. He’s now 17 1/2.

He’s had a few problems — he had several teeth pulled a few years ago; he lost a part of his tail after Oscar slashed it and the wound wouldn’t heal; and for a time, he nervously bit at his fur — but for the most part he’s been a healthy kitty. He’s even doing OK with kidney issues, thanks to the fluids I give him.

So when I noticed he wasn’t coming downstairs to eat, I got concerned.

Breakfast for the cats is usually a free-for-all. I pull out a can of wet food and distribute it among the gang. Mulligan demands it, Gillespie finds his own bowl, and Oscar — deciding he’s not going to fight the others — heads over to the kibble we have in a feeder. But a few mornings ago, Gillespie didn’t join the group. I thought maybe he didn’t want to deal with the excitable Mulligan. Understandable; I’d even taken to feeding Gillespie some wet food upstairs from time to time. That seemed to be fine. Though he’d lost a bit off his 10-pound frame, he’d had a normal appetite and he is old, so I didn’t think much of it.

Until he wouldn’t come downstairs. And he wouldn’t eat treats. So over to the vet we went.

The vet ran a few tests, suspecting he may be suffering from hyperthyroidism. That’s easy enough to handle. But his thyroid was fine; kidney function, too. It was his bilirubin that was high.

That can mean many things, the vet told me. He may have a gall bladder or liver problem that can be treated with a prescription. He may need a change in diet.

Of course, it could be something worse. I’m not going to write it.

I’m trying to be upbeat. He’s old but he’s been healthy, and despite this recent development, he’s still getting around. I’m taking him in for more tests Friday and hoping for the best.

He still has some lives to live, and I wish for him to enjoy them to the fullest.

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