I’m a bird person. This is known. My perfect pet is a parrot, and I wouldn’t mind holing up somewhere to breed them someday. But I am not home enough and do not have enough time to be a good owner of birds, so I do not own birds. I own a cat. She’s my first cat, my first pet somebody else couldn’t take away from me because they don’t like her, and the closest I’m likely to come to being a mother. She’s tiny, solid black with big yellow anime eyes and her name is Idi.

Idi is trying very hard to die on me. We’re at the point now where we’re giving her hard core antinausea meds, feeding her with syringe, and watching her throw up everything we feed her. As of an hour ago she actively tried to claw and bite me for the first time because I was shoving a syringe in her mouth and she’s learned that there’s no stopping that, so she may as well take some skin as retribution. She’s lost more weight (under seven pounds now) and is only really interested in sitting still. When she does run around she’s stumbling and wobbling in ways that would be utterly adorable if they weren’t proof she really, really needs to eat.

It’s not FIP, so now the vet is wanting to re-test her for feline leukemia. I figured out it couldn’t be FIP before the test results came back. Looking up the symptoms and typical effected cats made it really clear that it didn’t describe Idi at all. Looking up feline leukemia does not provide similar reassurances. If it is feline leukemia then it’s so far along, based on what I’ve read online, that we have to give up.

So I’m cheering for inexplicable fatty liver syndrome. This apparently happens in cats sometimes. The usual cause is “stress” which Idi doesn’t really have as an indicator. All of the changes in household arrangements, sleeping, traveling and whatnot were set solidly by the end of September. We haven’t had strange houseguests since October. I started spending more time at home in November, but that shouldn’t be a source of stress. We haven’t changed her food. We don’t share any space that affects Idi with neighbors. Her greatest source of anxiety is the cat from next door who likes to push his face in our windows while Idi is standing guard, and he hasn’t been around since the snow got deeper than he is tall. All this makes random fatty liver syndrome less likely than I could hope, but the cure for that is stubbornness and patience. Keep shoving food down the cat’s throat until it starts digesting that instead of its own tissue. Don’t stop until the cat has learned to eat again. I’m good at patient. I’m marvellous at stubborn. The more successfully Idi fights back, the stronger she is. The stronger she is, the more I’m winning.

I may have found yet another reason the job switch is a beautiful thing. Now I have the time to stay home and berate my cat into living. I am okay with this.

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