So I called the vet. In California, our vet kind of diplomatically suggested that, since our cats are indoor-only, we maybe shouldn't bother bringing Loki in for things like vaccinations except when required by law (moving out of state, for example). He was not exactly what you'd call a model patient. But I made him an appointment this morning, because something was very obviously wrong. I emailed Tom and said, "I'm honestly not sure he's walking away from this one."
So, you know, I thought I was prepared. Then again, if any cat has used up all nine proverbial lives, it's that cat. Between the multiple urinary blockages and the "holy shit this is not compatible with toddlers in the house" temper and various bloody injuries, never mind the ungodly amounts of plastic he managed to eat, Loki earned reprieve after reprieve. So yeah, I suppose there was some maybe-not-so-small part of me that thought somehow he would pull off another miracle save. Unfortunately, it was not to be.
Bone cancer was the most likely diagnosis. It would have cost a thousand dollars just to confirm what the initial blood test was strongly suggesting. Really there weren't any other likely options. Weekly blood tests and rounds of chemotherapy would have been the course of treatment, only to prolong his life by a few months. That's not an especially kind thing to do to any animal, in my opinion, and for that particular cat, I can't think of a worse punishment.
So I signed the form. Loki was put to sleep a little after noon today. It was harder than I anticipated, but it was the right choice. The kids were sad when I told them (they knew he was sick and that I was taking him to the vet, but I hadn't let on just how sick I feared he was), but they seem to be handling it more or less okay. Soren...well...it appears there is such a thing as being too up-front and pragmatic with kids at this age. He asked what was being done with Loki's body, and I explained that he would be cremated. Soren did not think this was a good option and wondered if we should get his body back "so we could use the meat." Uh, you think we should eat Loki? "Well yes. We should make sure that his life wasn't wasted." (This, folks, is what comes of telling your precocious five year-old to be sure and eat all of the chicken/pork/beef on his dinner plate out of respect for the animal that died so we could eat it. Sigh.)
Anyway. It's going to be a little weird without him around, of course. It was eleven years ago next month that I brought the "feisty" little orange fluffball down to Tom's place in California. He's been with us almost as long as we've been together. It'll likely be a while before I stop expecting to see him when I get home. As much as he feared strangers, he almost never failed to come running whenever the front door opened. Granted, I'm pretty sure he was just always hoping it'd be Tom, but I still enjoyed that quirk of his.
I'll miss you, big orange angerball. I'm sorry you got sick, and I'm sorry you had to spend your last morning uncomfortable and freaked out at the vet's. But you had a good run of it, and for all your grouchiness, you were loved. Which I guess is all any of us can hope for, in the end.