Eric and I moped around the airport.  I felt terrible.  I was sleepy and sad.  They told us the flight was overbooked, and asked if we’d be willing to take a bump on the flight for $400 worth of travel vouchers.  We said we would.

We sat around and waited to see if we were going to get bumped.  I told Eric why I was sad.  I hate saying goodbye to his family.  He told me that I shouldn’t get so upset.  I’ll see them again.

They called us up.  They didn’t need to bump us but since we were so nice to offer, we were going to fly to Houston first class.  First class!  I’ve never flown first class before!

“Just play it cool,” Eric said.

There was so much room in the seats!  Everything was so nice!  They gave us drinks just to sit around before take off!  “We can’t fall asleep!”  I said to Eric.  “We must soak in everything.  Take advantage of everything!”

“Don’t sleep,” he said.

We slept the entire trip.

We sat at the Houston airport for an hour.  We were frightening other people.  We were smelly and cranky and tired.  We slept the entire trip to Austin.

“I hope Lillith is feeling better,” I said to Eric.  “We never called to check.”

“I’m sure she’s fine.”

Martinique picked us up at the airport.  “Lillith is eating out of my hand.  She’s still a bit mopey, but I think she just misses you guys.”

We got home.  Lillith wasn’t better.  She didn’t come to say hello like she usually does.  She was hiding in corners she never slept in.  Once she was in the closet.  I pulled her into my bed and took a nap.  She was breathing heavy, and wouldn’t sit with  me.  Taylor kept sleeping next to me, which was unlike him.  Lillith started rubbing her nose and making this yip noises.

I called the vet as Eric got ready for his rehearsal.  They said it sounded like an upper respiratory infection, and it would be much cheaper to take her in tomorrow to get looked at, since it was a Sunday.  I made an appointment and sat down to look at her.  She didn’t look good.  She kept her mouth open when she breathed.  She was breathing hard and fast.  She had a weird look in her eyes.

“I’m gonna take her now,” I said.

“Wait for me to call,” Eric said.  “I’ll try and come home so we can take her to the vet.”

Ten minutes later Eric was on his way home for us to take Lillith in.  I called the vet and told her we were coming.  We wrapped Lillith in a towel and carried her down to the car.  She was so skinny.  When did she lose so much weight?  She kept breathing with her mouth open.  “She looks like the Pet Sematary cat,” Eric commented.

We waited at the vets for an hour.  Lillith just sat there and panted.  She never made any noise.

The vet took a look at her.  “Has she ever been tested for leukemia?” she asked.

“Well, she gets all of her shots every year.  I didn’t have her for the first three, but he was pretty good at giving her the shots I think.”

“But have you ever tested her?”

“Don’t they do that in the check up?”
“No.  You have to ask that.”

“Oh.  I guess not, then.”

“Well, this looks more serious than just an upper respiratory.  It could be a number of things, but I’m going to check for leukemia first, since that would rule out a lot of other expensive tests.  She could have had this for a while but it’s in remission.”

“And if she has it?” Eric asked.

“Well, then we do preventive care, mostly.  There’s no cure.  You just want her to be comfortable.  Let’s do the test first, though.  She’s lost a lot of weight.  She’s only five years old, but she looks about twelve.  Her color is good, she looks like she’s responsive, but I’m worried about her breathing.”

Lillith started making her hic noises.

“Oh, that’s the noise, huh?”

She asked how long we had left her alone. I thought to myself, “We’re good parents! We’d never do anything to hurt her!”

Eric said, “We leave her alone a lot. She’s always fine.”

I thought, “No, not a lot! You make it sound like we abandon her! We don’t! She’s always fine when she’s alone. We were only gone for a couple of days and we had house sitters to watch her!”

“Let’s check her a little here,” the vet said. “I’m gonna run the leukemia test.  I’ll be back in a second.”

She brought her back in shortly.  “I’ll just let her sit here with you two and I’ll be back here in ten minutes.”

Lillith just laid there.  She looked so sad.  Eric left for the restroom.  I sat there petting my cat and wondering what I could have done.  If it’s leukemia I’ve just been giving her boosters for nothing.  She’s had it all this time and I didn’t know.  I wanted to do something.  I felt so helpless.  She just looked so horrible and angry and I couldn’t do anything to make her feel better.  If it was leukemia I knew that she was going to have a very painful rest of her life.  I heard horrible stories about seizures and tumors and things.  I just wanted my happy kitty back.

The vet came back in.  “Do you want to go and get him before I talk about this?”

Oh, shit.

I went to get Eric.  She sat us down.  “Well, unfortunately, it is leukemia.  There’s really nothing that we can do right now, if she’s eating.  If she stops eating we can give her something to make her eat, but really just keep her comfortable, feed her whatever she wants and keep her calm.  Don’t let her stress or anything.  Her lungs sound really good.  She could pull out of this and the leukemia could go into remission for a little while, but this will eventually kill her.  I’m really sorry.”

“We have another cat at home,” I said.

“Do you know if he has the booster?”

“I’ve given it to him every year, but they came together.”

“He probably has it, too.  He may not.  You’ll want to bring him in soon so we can test him.  It’s better sooner than later because you’re just going to worry about him.  I’m really sorry.  Chemo is expensive, and isn’t usually recommended.  She looks like she could pull through this one.  Her immune system is really weak with leukemia, so she’s susceptible to many infections.  Just keep her calm.  Bring her back in if she starts having problems breathing worse than this, or if she doesn’t eat, or– well, you’ll know.  You’ll know when to bring her back in.”

We cried the whole way home.  I cried all last night.  I can’t get her to eat.  She wants to be by herself all the time.  She reaches out for Taylor once in a while, but he’s avoiding her now that she smells like the vet.  She looks tired.  Her breathing has slowed down to normal, but I can’t get her to want any food or water.  She took a small piece of chicken out of Eric’s hand but then she wouldn’t eat anymore.

My poor kitty is dying and I don’t know what to do.  I can’t do anything.  I feel so terrible.

So, if the past few days worth of entries are lame it’s because of this.  Because I’m sitting here thinking about my cat and all I want to do is go home and hold her until she feels better but I can’t do anything.  I couldn’t have done anything to prevent this, and now it may turn out that Taylor has this too.  My last cat died of diabetes.  Why can’t I have healthy cats?

I looked up feline leukemia today and found a few things that are a bit hopeful.  If she comes out of this illness that she has right now, the leukemia could go back into remission and she could be healthy for a couple of years.  She seems like she wants to.  I hope she does.  Then I found this site, which is a bit less hopeful.  I don’t even know what to believe.  I just want her to be back to normal.

I just sit here looking at her picture on my wall and realizing how quickly this disease took to her body.  One week ago she was fine, jumping around and playing with everyone.  Today she just sits in the corner and doesn’t want to move.  She walked with me to her feeding bowl this morning, as she does every morning, but it seemed to be just a gesture on her part to make me feel better.  She didn’t eat or drink.  She just went over to it, looked at me, and then walked back to where she was.

I can’t write anymore.  I’m sorry.  I’m done for today.

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