He'd been showing signs of something being not right for a while when spiritualmonkey took him to the vet at the beginning of March. $400 of office visit + tests later, all they could tell us was that there was no sign of blockage or other problem in his digestive system, his blood work was clean with no signs of infection, and the radiology showed "a large mass of some sort" occluding most of his right lung — probably cancer, but they weren't sure.
They could have done further tests, but the next one in the sequence would have been $500, and there was no guarantee it'd be definitive. And if they did diagnose it, what next? Cancer treatment is rough even if the patient starts out young and vigorous, and in cat terms, Cosmo is geriatric.
So we brought him home and have been keeping him comfortable. He's surprised me throughout this process — when we got the bad news from the vet, I thought it would be a week or less. But a week later, he was still chasing (and catching) moths, bullying his brother, and being his usual affectionate self. He hasn't shown signs of any pain or physical discomfort at any point (and I've been watching closely for them), and has continued to show far more energy and enthusiasm than I would have thought possible.
I've been spending an increasing time on the meditation cushion over the past month. Cosmo has been keeping me company. "Lotus position, with cat curled up against ankles" isn't standard zazen position, but it's felt like the right thing to do just now.
My mother used to say, "You love every cat you have, but every so often one comes along who's just your heart-cat." Cosmo is without a doubt mine. He's been a wonderfully companionable cat, always happiest hanging out near his monkeys. His favorite position is stretched out along the back of the sofa next to the picture window, where he can enjoy the view and sniff the breeze as it brings him the latest kitty news from the neighborhood.
He was originally my mother's cat — she decided to get a second cat to keep her first cat company and sent me off to the county animal shelter with instructions to "pick a good one". Unfortunately, her first cat turned out to despise all other cats, without exception, and taught Cosmo that the way you interact with other cats is to walk up to them and whack them on the nose with your claws out. After Mom died I adopted Cosmo. It was a little tough for him to adjust to living with the two cats I already had (who understandably didn't much like the whole getting whacked on the nose business), but eventually they made peace. It helped that the other two had seniority.
And when spiritualmonkey moved in, it helped that Cosmo had seniority. *grin*
If Cosmo could speak English, the most frequent phrase in his vocabulary would be "somebody's getting attention, and it's not Cosmo!" It doesn't really matter whether it's his brother, the bird, or even spiritualmonkey — if there's affection to be had, he wants some.
He's a gorgeous cat and he knows it. He loves being the center of attention, especially when we have female friends over. "So soft!" exclaimed matrushkaka when she first petted him. He purred.
Over the past several days his energy level has dropped markedly. It's time for me to take care of the final responsibility I committed to when I adopted him from the shelter twelve years ago. spiritualmonkey and I are about to put his cushion in the carrier and take him to the vet for the last time.
Cosmopolitan T. Fine Cat 510 Monkey-510
January 1994 — April 2, 2007