Diablo is my fur baby. Despite his name he's actually a little angel.
He's 14 now, but I've had him since he was a little over a year old. He may be 'old', but he's full of life and often keeps up with our 7 year old cat, Lucy.
Lucy and D
When I adopted Diablo I wasn't sure he would ever measure up to the other cat I had at the time. Digger was an awesome cat (with perhaps an unfortunate name) who had been there through some tough times with me and always offered up his unconditional love.
Digger (who coincidentally was also black and white)
I hadn't had Diablo 3 months when Digger died of a heart attack in my arms at 7 years of age. It was pretty traumatic. As much as I hated seeing him convulse in my arms and then pass I was grateful that I got to be there for him. For him to have my comfort in his last moments.
Love that little moon face
I wasn't sure Diablo would ever be able to live up to Digger, but I grew to adore him immensely. It was hard not to. He loved to cuddle, didn't get into too much trouble, and was always at my side. I knew that his end would come well before mine, but hoped that he could stay around forever.
In September 2008, Diablo started vomiting. A lot. He's always been a bit of a puker, but this was more than usual and paired with not eating. At the end of the first day I thought he was getting better, but by late evening the second day it was apparent that it was getting worse. We took him into the emergency overnight vet and discovered that he had renal failure. We were told that he could have 2 months or 2 years to live. They said it was hard to predict. We took him home after getting him pumped with fluids and changed him to a low protein diet. And then hoped for the best.
Drugged up after all his tests
It's been over three years since that diagnosis and he has done quite well. We get him tested every 6 months or so and his levels have come back in the appropriate range. That is, until his last appointment in August. We discovered that his calcium levels were high and that this could be an indicator of a number of things including kidney issues, or cancer. The doctor suggested a urinalysis and an abdominal x-ray. We debated how many tests we wanted to do on him in case the test led to other treatments that we weren't sure we would proceed with. If he was diagnosed with cancer would we proceed with surgery or chemo? I hate to say it, but I'm not sure we would... with his age, and already outliving the renal failure expectations I'm not sure putting him through that would make make the rest of his life better or even longer. However, when it comes down to it I don't want to have to make a decision about 'putting him down' over offering possibilities of life.
At the time we were told about his calcium levels he wasn't showing any signs of distress, but about a week later he started using the living room for his bathroom. Then he would beg to eat, but then wouldn't eat. I decided to set up the urinalysis appointment. The results didn't give us enough information to tell us what the problem was so I agreed to the x-ray. The x-ray confirmed that our poor buddy was starving as his stomach was so small it didn't even show up. His liver also took up a smaller area than usual, but we're not sure why this is. His right kidney was much smaller than his left which indicated that his left kidney was doing all the work. The biggest concern was an area that appeared to be in his colon. The doctor was unable to determine exactly what this was on the x-ray and suggested an ultrasound. She sent us home with some medication that would help engage his appetite and suppress his potential nausea that could be used long term. We then had to decide if we would proceed with another test.
Since then his appetite has come back full force. He's stopped pooping in the living room and is acting like his old self. It's easy to fall back into denial, but I still have to make a decision about the ultrasound. I am almost 100% sure that I will proceed with it if only to get more information about his health. It's the decisions I might have to make after the ultrasound that I'm scared of.
I guess regardless of what happens I need to remember that he truly has been a blessing on my life... and I wouldn't trade that for anything.