Taxi had another seizure last night. Unfortunately for us, rather than sleeping at the foot of the bed, where we have a towel laid out for her, she was up near our shoulders, lying between us. By the time her howling roused me, it was too late to get anything under her. Once again, we had to strip the bed.
She's fine this morning. Her seizures follow a very specific pattern. She's asleep when they hit her (of course, these days she's asleep 85% of the time), and she howls while her body shakes and shivers. One of the first times I observed this, I tried to move her, and got my arms badly shredded. I know that I just have to wait. It seems like a long time before the worst of it subsides, but it's probably only twenty or thirty seconds.
Despite the fact that she's been having these for over a decade, her expression when she comes out of it is the same -- "What the hell was that!?" She breathes heavily for a bit, gulping a little. Then, she gets up and paces rapidly around the room (she's also quite obese -- although less so as she's gotten older -- and the sight of her pacing rapidly would be amusing if she weren't so clearly in distress), before she remembers that there's only one thing that can comfort her -- food! She heads for the food dish and inhales as much as she can. Once she's got a full tummy again, she's back to normal.
I've looked into feline seizures, and there are medications that could be prescribed. I've hesitated, for the same reason that I never tried to treat her obesity chemically. She was three years old when she began to grow alarmingly. I'd adopted her and her sister when I moved into the apartment on Compton & Halliday. My first wife was a fiber artist. We both loved cats, but with beads and yarn and whatnot all over the house, we didn't think it was practical. So when I moved out, I was looking for three things -- cheap rent (since most of my money was still going to support her), good air-conditioning, and cats. The manager of the third apartment building I looked into had a cat that had just had three kittens. His girlfriend was claiming one, but he said I could have the other two if I took the apartment. I named them Merline and the Princess von Taxicab.
At the time that Taxi began her dramatic expansion, I was carefully controlling the cats' diet, so it was clear that this was not an issue of overeating, although on the advice of the vet, I cut back even further and changed to a diet formula catfood. Made no difference. But despire her weight gain, and the seizures that began about the same time, she was the most good-natured, pleasant, and all around happiest kitty. Putting her on a variety of drugs that had the potential to disrupt that didn't seem sensible to me. Better to keep a close eye on her during what was likely to be a fairly short life and if she ever appeared to be suffering from her ailments, I'd take whatever measures seemed appropriate to keep her comfortable.
Who knew that she'd make it to fifteen, still as charming as ever, and actually trimmer and more agile than she's been in some years? (These are relative terms, of course -- one would never use the words "trim" or "agile" in describing Taxi in comparison with other cats). I've given up wondering how long she'll last, just grateful for the fact that she's still around.
It could be awhile. Housecats generally live longer than those that are allowed outside, and we've always been strict about that. Lynn's alter ego, Molly, is twenty (?) and, despite increasing decrepitude, shows little signs of giving up her privileged position as grande dame of the house. We assume that it's primarily because, after spending her life looking after Lynn, she can't imagine leaving her alone with those other four cats, none of whom can be trusted to do the systematic, daily patrols of the house that Molly still makes a part of her regular routine. She's pretty cranky at this point in her life, and extremely demanding. She gets a little pill for her thyroid condition twice a day, which Lynn mixes up with babyfood, and by the time I get home in the evening to start fixing supper, she'll be in the kitchen telling me in no uncertain terms that she needs to get her medicine before I waste any time fixing the people food. Of course she gets what she wants.
We tell ourselves that we have cats because they're self-sufficient and can tolerate our travel schedules in ways that dogs never could. "Self-sufficient" is a bit of a misnomer -- it's not that they can get along without us -- they're housecats after all. But they do have us extremely well-trained.