Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Not Long For This World

Ok, so the title is a bit dramatic, I'll admit, but Mortimer was diagnosed with Feline AIDS yesterday. The doctor says he could have several more good years ahead of him. Still, it's a bit sobering.

Mort has had this ongoing respiratory infection for the last 6 months or so. We've tried a few different antibiotics and the symptoms seem do go away for a little bit but they come back. He just can't shake it. This is what prompted the FAIDS test. He does not have leukemia, so that's good news.

He has a deep ear polyp and the doctor speculates that that could be the source of the infection. Then again, it may not be. There is a surgical procedure for removing the polyp, but no one around here does it. He is in no pain because of it, and we decided that given his age and condition it's not worth the trauma of putting him through a surgery that would require so much travel and time.

I often question putting cats through traumatic surgeries that require a lot of recovery. It's easy to anthropomorphize them and forget that they are not human. Even if they come out of it healthy there can be a psychological aspect that is hard to quantify.

I always think back to a cat we had when I was a kid. He was hit by a car and we opted for major surgery to save him. This required a long period of confinement for recuperation. The poor cat was just never the same after the whole ordeal. I was a kid at the time, and didn't think much about it then, but in retrospect, I don't think the heroic efforts were the right way to go with that cat.

I've already made the decision that I won't let Mort suffer and there will be no surgeries in his future. He has had a very long and difficult life, but the last 5 or 6 years have been very good for him. It doesn't seem right to put him through something that he may see as torture just so I can spend a few more months or years with him. When I feel the time has come, I'll put him to sleep.

When I first started the blog I wrote about how I met Mortimer. I wasn't really sure what to write about at the time, so Mort seemed like a good topic. I mentioned how he runs up to my truck every day when I get home from work. He still does it. Sometimes when I tell people this they say he only does it because he's hungry, but I know that's not it.

It doesn't matter how many times I pull up in a day, or how hungry or full he his, if he sees me pull up he runs out to the truck and greets me. It seemed like a good time to get this on video so I took my camera with me to work today. I wasn't worried that this might take several tries to get the shot. He does it every time rain or shine.


Anonymous said...

and people wonder why we love them.

i know people who've had AIDS for 26 years and are walking around enjoying themselves.

jes' sayin'.


StuccoHouse said...

How adorable was that clip. Sorry to hear the bad news about Mort. Finger crossed that he defies all odds ;-) said...

Thats a tough post for me to read. Ive always been a dog guy, but with our house we bought, my wife talked me into getting a cat. I picked out the cutest guy from the pound and hes become such a great friend. He now chooses to sit in the char next to mine when I read a book out back. In fact, he is right here with me now, wagging his tail... hoping I pet him :) Great video too, thanks! -Dave

mike & rachel said...

Really sorry to hear about Mort. We almost lost Mort's "twin" here at the Hall House last year to a urinary blockage - but fortunately the surgery wasn't to tramatic and he had a quick recovery. But I agree putting them through hell for an extra few months is more in our interest than theirs....

Cat's don't get enough credit. Just 'cause they don't beckon to our every (or any) commands doesn't make them dumb or unloyal - they just have a difference in opinion from us sometimes and aren't afraid to show it!

mindy said...

I'm so sorry to hear about Mortimer. I think your decision to let him live out his life minus complicated and scary surgeries is the right way to go. I often think us humans have extreme things done for our pets so that we'll feel better about things.

I fully believe he's coming to say hi (and not to beg for food). You're his buddy!

Alicia said...

I'm sorry to hear about the diagnosis. I went through this with one of my kitties, and it's been much easier since I accepted that she is may only make it for another few years.

Anna said...

Dear Greg,

I'm so sorry to read these bad news about Mortimer.

Him coming to the car to greet you is definitely a sign of feline affection, our cat does pretty much the same thing every day.

Wishing Mortimer all the best - and remember: Cats have seven lifes!

Anonymous said...

Here's hoping for many more years of the two buds greeting each other. Hey Buddy. Meow.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about Mort. I also have a cat with FIV and she has had it her whole life. She is about 6-8 yrs old and still doing great. If Mort get sick again maybe try Zythormax(sp). It is a little pricey but works like a charm. FIV positive cats also tend to have some dental issues.

I totally agree with not putting any animal through surgery (no matter what the cost) if it is going to diminish the quality of life. It is about quality not quantity.

Best of luck to you and Mort. Long live that Mort.


Oh and the bathroom is looking fantastic!!!!!

Anonymous said...

That's a great video and he is a loyal kitty. Give him a bit of salmon or tuna, he deserves it.

Greg said...

Thanks everyone. He's actually doing pretty good right now except for the coughing. In fact, the little pig put on nearly a half pound since he was at the vets about 6 months back.

Gail said...

Sorry to hear about Mortimer. Cats are amazing. One of my cats, Mikey, is at least 19 now, dating from when he showed up at the house and never left. I call him my "1/2 cat" because I've shared him w/my farm-girl neighbor for at least 10 years. She, like you, said she promised him "no more doctors" and does all sorts of weird old-fashioned treatments on him. He's nothing but skin and bones, has a golf ball and a half size tumor? goiter? polyp? on his side, rotten teeth, can't hear, can't see (one eye was poked once during a cat fight). Little over a month ago she called crying and said he was dying (wouldn't eat, just layed there). Turns out he had gotten into rat poison. He snapped out of that and 3 wks. ago I was babysitting while they were out of town I remembered his old favorite flavor of food, bought him some and he scarfed it right down. The report is now he's eating over 6 oz. a day.

Alicia said...

Totally off topic, but I noticed in the vid the apartments next door, which I didn't notice before, but in the bathroom "before" vid you can see right into the balconies of those aparts, so, have you had the opportunity to have someone stand naked in the shower while you go across the street to the second floor balcony and check out visibility (at night) thru the purple glass?

Greg said...


Amazing story. I think that cat may have more than 9 lives.


No, I haven't tested that, but that Violet glass is very hard to see through. At best you would get a fuzzy silhouette.

Or, who knows, maybe the neighbors are getting a treat!

Kathy from NJ said...

I'm so sorry to hear about Mort, I know he has been a great addition to The Petch House. You have given him a wonderful life.

Anonymous said...

What a sad post. It reminded me of when our cat Tommy, was diagnosed with diabeties. He was like a negative of Mort- Totally White! It was a really tough call- Trying to decide if, with all the potential unpleasant complications, attempting to treat him would be adding years of "life" - Or just adding years of suffering & misery. ( & who was I doing this for... the cat or myself.. maybe my husband as Tom was really his...) It turned out we decided to treat him & it went better than even the vet expected. Tommy would sit it front of the fridge in the morning & meow at us if we weren't quick enough with his insulin injection (He's always had dry cat food so no, he wasn't saying "Feed Me" ) He lived to be 19...almost another 10 years...But it could easily have gone badly & if it had I would have stopped treatment, kept him as comfortable as possible & if he seemed to be suffering had him put to sleep- Let's hope though that Mort responds well to the antibiotic- for the infection & the F AIDS stays dormant & he has many happy years left... Love your Blog. The house is wonderful. I admire your drive, commitment & tenacity.

Sandy said...

You have given Mort the best years of his life. Not doing surgery is the one of the best things you can do for him. Sadie and Mort are the reasons I started reading your blog. Your amazing work with the Petch House is the reason I have keps reading!

Greg said...


Thanks. Mort is acting a little funny since Sadie died. I didn't think it would affect him, but it seems to have.