The cat and I have been together for 14 years. They say if you live together long enough you start to look like the other person. Well, he doesn’t look like me, but sadly, he also has Interstitial Cystitis. I probably cried more when I found out he had it that when I found out that I did. Because I know what it is like. It is something I would not wish on my worst enemy. It doesn’t just cause pain and regular trips to the bathroom, it takes away a lot of things that others take for granted.
The cat is sleeping next to me while I write this. He has never been a lap cat although occasionally he will indulge me with 10-15 minutes of lap time. I realized long ago that he does not think he is a cat. He thinks he is a person no doubt. He likes to follow me around the house, and in particular, into the bathroom. Ah the irony.
The cat, like me, has acquired other chronic illnesses. He has a severe flea allergy and chewed the back half of his fur off before we started him on cyclosporine. Since the cat, of course, is not eligible to be on my insurance plan, this is quite costly. But he looks better and feels better. Then last fall he started losing a lot of weight. He has always been a big boy, at one point up to 23 pounds. He got down to about 15 pounds. I was so worried, he is my best friend. Turns out he is hyperthyroid. He now has the privilege of taking methimazole, an antithyroid medicine. Luckily, this is cheaper if we get the higher dose and have it split. Although I often feel alone in my chronic illness, I don’t really want anyone else, including the cat, to have to deal with any. It breaks my heart more than my own.
The cat has been with me since I began my career in speech language pathology. He has been with me though moves to four different states (counting the one where he was found, in my parents garage, in New Jersey). He has been with me through my diagnosis of fibromyalgia, and then Interstitial Cystitis. And I have been with him through his diagnosis. Friends stay together through thick and through thin.
I love you Smokey.