Any morning where you wake up to find your cat in hypoglycemic shock is a bad morning.
I immediately knew something was wrong when I woke up late. Taylor doesn’t let the sunrise pass without yelping for his food. He was under the writing desk, quite stiff and getting colder by the second.
I rubbed Karo syrup all over his mouth, and then threw on clothes only appropriate for a woman in her thirties taking her elderly, clearly dying cat to the vet — sweatpants that are too big, a shirt that isn’t mine, a cardigan that was in the laundry basket and shoes I haven’t worn in probably a year but they were the first ones I grabbed from the closet. I turned to find Jason at the door, wearing a button-down, jacket and jeans.
“How did you do that?” I asked him. “You look normal and I look crazy.”
He tucked his head, like it was no big deal. Then came the lesson. “Pam, it’s important to always be able to get out of any situation in under thirty seconds.”
He can be smug all he wants. I saw he wasn’t wearing any socks.
Taylor is a trooper, and by the time they got some fluids and sugar in him they said he was instantly wolfing down food. I kissed his head before I left the ER, where they’ve got him under warming blankets and stuck with catheters and generally looking like the Most Important Cat in the World.
I had to admit there was a moment when I found him this morning, right before anything happened, when I wondered, “Is now when it’s time for him to go? Should we all just sit here and pet him until he’s gone?” He’s sixteen and been on insulin for so long. He was absolutely fine yesterday, trying to snag both my breakfast cereal milk and the salmon I had for dinner, but this morning he was headed toward a coma.
But then Jason said, “We gotta go,” and Taylor was in my arms with his tail wagging just a bit and I figured, “We got through this the last time; we can do it again.”
It’s ten years this weekend that I moved from Austin to Los Angeles, and the only things I still have from that time are these two cats. Taylor has been a regular part of pamie.com, of my books, and even a couple of sitcoms. I’m sitting here now and it’s very different not having him between my feet as I type, as various clouds of god-awful stink randomly rise from his skinny, diabetic body. It’s weird here without him, and I hope he’s going to be okay.
I have to call the vet in a few minutes for a status update, and later on tonight I pick him up and take him to the overnight clinic. He’s not out of the woods just yet, but he is certainly doing better than he was this morning. They’re running tests to find out why this would happen, how suddenly the insulin would be too much when it has been fine all this time. Maybe he has an infection, maybe he wasn’t eating enough. Maybe he’s just a million years old and this is when he’s getting ready to die. But the angriest cat in the world is still kicking it, and I’ll know he’s better if the vet calls to say, “Can you come get Taylor? He’s really pissed off and wants to come home.”