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Decisions, decisions...

She’s 6, coughs almost exclusively at night and is very playful, but I learned yesterday that Callie probably has asthma, and while that is a treatable condition, Callie may be difficult to treat

Callie is a cat.

The vet suggested tests that cost more than two mortgage payments and I declined, at least for now. Of course I am committed to keeping her well, but today I am contemplating exactly what the parameters are on that.

As her condition progresses, she may need to use a nebulizer twice a day for the rest of her feline life and there’s no way around this but Callie may be a most uncooperative participant in her health care.

A once feral rescue, it has taken years for Callie to tolerate being cuddled. I cannot image that she will easily sit on my lap as I fasten a mask to her face twice a day so she can inhale a cat-version of albuterol.

There are other options, including steroids, but every option presents a karmic consequence; long term steroid use in cats often creates other system failures that may be more burdensome for us both.

Pet care gets complicated. Years ago, we provided biweekly at- home intravenous hydration for both our calico cat, Gin and our Sheltie, Snickers to prolong their lives and prevent their imminent demise due to progressive kidney failure. But those efforts created other complications.

For me, this raises some basic existential questions; how do we manage to maintain the highest, most meaningful quality of life while minimizing suffering and when is it time to stop aggressive treatment and to seek palliative care?

Obviously important questions to be considered, and not only for Callie. Most of us have confronted these delicate dilemmas before for our beloved furry friends and for family members as well, and will likely face them again...

For now, thankfully, her episodes are limited mostly to middle of the night a few times a week. But that may change. Being a health care proxy is serious business.

And yes, I will be here for you, Callie, whatever that looks like …... I promise.

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