Bonkers got his purr back this morning. Actually, he did more than just purr, he went full-goose bozo on me, rubbing his ears against the edge of the table and sticking his hinder up in the air, begging me to pat it, so I did. Even so, I had to pick him up and put him in my lap after he tried to jump up but lost his nerve and just sat there beside me, crying pathetically. Still, it was good to see him more like his old self again.
Bonk’s got something wrong in his head, but we don’t know what. The veterinarians we took him to didn’t know, either. “This is probably something neurological,“ more than one of them said, looking at his blown eye and the way he walked in circles and wobbled when he stood still. Thank you, Captain Obvious. We kept taking him back until finally they did what we in layman’s terms would describe as “tests” where, instead of merely frowning at him and throwing out several opinions, they took his blood and examined it for signs of infection, such as the very scarily-named feline leukemia, or dysfunction, such as diabetes.
Finding none of that, the last vet we took him to said we could shlep him down to the UW vet clinic, where a couple dozen student vets would take turns scanning his brain with the million-dollar equipment they have, then poking and prodding him for a while before showing us the pretty color print-outs that might or might not give some clue as to what’s going on in there. The pretty color print-outs would tell us that a) we would have to fork over several thousand dollars to a cat surgeon, who might or might not be able to cut his head open and fix what had gone wrong, or that b) the problem in Bonker’s head was not fixable. There was also the not at all slim possibility that c) they would find nothing wrong in his head and suggest another round of tests to look for something else.
We were not at all receptive to the idea of turning Bonk into a lab experiment for the benefit of student vets, and paying them for the privilege to boot. He’s sixteen or seventeen years old, which has got to be something like ninety-nine in cat years, a time in his life when our prime concern ought to be maintaining a modicum of dignity for the venerable old guy. I know it’s what I’d want, and I figure he’s earned it. So we said no thank you to a), the brain scan and the cutting his head open.
When we told the vet that there would be no brain scanning, she prescribed some steroids we could shove down his throat to reduce the swelling that was presumably taking place in his head, making him act like he feels loggy all the time. He slept all the time, even more than usual for a cat, and when he got up he could hardly cross the room without stopping to rest for a while. He didn’t meet us at the door when we came home, and he stopped purring. He still wanted to sit in a lap, he just didn’t have the will or the strength to do it.
We were really afraid the steroid they’d prescribed, Prednisolone, had triggered the symptoms in the first place. A little googling turns up all kinds of scary side effects, and a cat we had before had died when the vet prescribed a related steroid, Prednisone, at a stupidly high concentration for way too long. But at this point, Bonk needs relief and the steroid seems to be helping. He’s curled up in my lap as I type these words, happily chasing mice in his dreams, something he was too zonked out to do a week ago.