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The Joys of Aging Pets

Big content notice here for those squeamish about illness and stuff coming out of the body. I will include many adorable animal photos to offset the disgustingness.

Also, spoiler alert: everyone is fine right now. No need for anxiety as to how this turns out.

Ready? Okay. Here we go.

So, I recently had a birthday. As in, less than a week ago. And the day itself was pretty good overall. Played a lot of Dying Light 2, killed a lot of zombies. As you do.

The following day, however, everything went to shit. And I mean that more literally than I wish I did.

Cosmo with a stick hanging over her head.

In the middle of my Twitch stream, the air was befouled by Cosmo. This is not an unusual occurrence; the dog leaks gas almost constantly. This time, however, her leak had a lot more, um, substance. Bluntly, she had dumped a puddle of liquid shit on our bathroom floor. We jumped into action and got it cleaned up – with much gagging and even some synchronized dry heaving – and finished the broadcast, desperately hoping it was a one-off. Cosmo handily dashed those hopes by leaving two more puddles on the kitchen floor.

An orange tabby cat curled in a ball. His body has been shaved, leaving him with a fluffy head and tail.

During the time when Mike Wazowski was really sick, he would sometimes lose his balance in the litter box and end up with poop on his paw(s). He would then walk around in the bathroom, leaving us a lovely little diagram of prints. It reminded me of those dance diagrams, so we started calling this the “ShiTango.”

What Cosmo did while restricted to the bathroom this weekend was like a super-sized ShiTango. On the positive side, my bathroom floor is very, very clean now. It was fully scrubbed twice on Saturday alone.

Despite being on gallbladder meds, Cosmo does occasionally have a bout of acute pancreatitis. In the past, this has meant explosions from the front end rather than the back, but it seemed a likely possibility for this new intestinal distress as well. Due to that, combined with the fact that she was still drinking water okay, we decided to keep an eye on her and try to wait until the vet was open on Monday to take her in. Though it seemed that she might be getting over the worst of it, she was still having accidents inside the house by Monday morning, so we got her an appointment in the afternoon.

The first thing the vet asked was if this had started before or after the Super Bowl. Apparently, they plan for an influx of unhappy bellies around certain dates. In his words, Black Friday is known as “Brown Friday” around the animal hospital because pets get so much people food on Thanksgiving. 

If only our problems had started on Sunday! Alas, it was an incredibly shitty weekend at our house long before kickoff. The timing was fortunate, however; usually there would not be open appointments on a Monday.

The official verdict is some sort of stomach bug and she has meds to take twice a day to clear everything up. And I have a serious date with the carpet shampooer. 

Closeup of Cali blepping.

Not one to be left out, Cali decided she needed to make her mark as well, first by barfing up a hairball on her cat tree. When that proved inadequate, she made sure to puke in the middle of the hall leading to the kitchen. Twice.

In true Starbuck fashion, our youngest fur kid capped off the weekend with a seizure. It’s the first one she’s had since last September, which is the longest she’s gone between episodes in years. This morning, deciding the floor needed to be rather more disgusting, she deposited a truly impressive amount of vomit. Twice. I was stunned into inaction for a minute, unsure just how I was going to go about handling the volume of yuck I’d just been handed.

Cali and Starbuck lying together on the bed.

As I said at the beginning, everyone is fine for now. Or as fine as they ever get. At 16 (Cosmo), 10 (Cali), and 8 (Starbuck), they are all three getting up there in years. As are we. While on my hands and knees, cleaning the bathroom for the second time on Saturday, I couldn’t help but wonder how I’d gone through years of Mike Wazowski’s poo tracks. Then I remembered how stressed I was all the time and it clicked.

Speaking of which, between stress over the dog, cleaning up after the dog, coddling my automatic litterbox due to its inability to handle the volume of urine Cali produces, getting up to take the kid to school, and various and sundry interruptions from my cellphone, I haven’t gotten more than a few hours of sleep at a stretch since last week. Each time I dare think “perhaps this will be the day I get some rest,” some fucking thing has to come along and say “actually, no.”

A small, long-haired brown & white dog looking off camera with her ears perked up.

After her most recent dog passed, my mom has occasionally considered adopting another pet. Then she talks to me. Whether it’s weekends like this (which are thankfully few and far between), the nonstop medication schedule, the hoops we have to jump through to keep Starbuck from getting into the trash and recycling while we’re out of the house, or the increasing number of barriers we have erected to stop Cosmo from finding new places she wants to pee on the carpet, I regularly hear “Thank you for reminding me why I don’t want any more animals.” 

Though I often threaten fuck-kicking, bark removal, or catricide, Starbuck’s overwhelming joy when I return home, Cosmo’s “let’s play!” weasel face, and Cali’s “I’m so fucking cute” requests for lap space constantly reinforce my conviction that I really wouldn’t have it any other way.

Well. Minus the ShiTango, of course.

Categories: general musing

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Stormy Lane McKnight

Writer of trashy queer superhero romance, smutty sci-fi, and other things that are gay af. Disaster enby and all around bisexual wrecking ball.