Toonses seems to have had a stroke, or some other brain something. But he seems to be getting better because he can be coaxed into turning left with the right combination of treats and clapping.
Last weekend when I was out of town, Chuck noticed that Toonses hadn't been eating. And he was to only be able to turn to the right and in circles. Chuck Googled it, then bought Toonses some of the reekiest unhealthy cat food he could find to try to get him re-interested in the old face-in-bowl routine. That worked. He started eating again. But he has to walk in circles to get to the dish.
I swaddled Toonses in a Steve Urkle sleeping bag and took him to the vet on Monday. While we waited, he spun in tight slippery circles around on the metal table. He's having trouble with his back legs -- they work, but he doesn't seem to trust them. He looked like a commercial for kitten mittens, and if I hadn't thought they were going to Kevorkian him, it would have been hilarious.
I studied a chart on the wall. One of those "If your cat is (this old) in cat years, he is (this old) in people years." Though he is a pre-teen to me (12), Toonses is really creeping into the Greatest Generation.
The doctor checked Toonsie's eyes, watched him walk in circles, and stuck a thermometer in his little cat butt.
"Well, despite the fact that he just ran into that wall, he can see out of both eyes," the doctor said as we watched him perform a clumsy feline version of Ice Capades.
Something brainular has occurred. True. But there is no one in Duluth who does brain scans on cats (cat scans), and even if they did it would be the price of getting a pool in the backyard. And that's before the brain surgery, and on a 12-year-old cat ...
But. His eyes work. He's vocal. He's eating again. It's like, the vet said, there's something wonky in his personal navigation. The message for what he wants to do isn't translating. If he's had a stroke, he might be able to re-learn how to enjoy the simple pleasures of yesteryear: turning left, say, or tipping over my water glass.
I re-swaddled Toonses, and brought him home -- a six block trip during which he managed to empty his bladder on my leg. I didn't even mind. A) I expected it. Something about the open road just makes him want to unclench and free himself of his waste somewhere on my person; B) I was just glad there was an animal in that sleeping bag, and not the beginning stages of a creepy pet alter. He has a prescription for Prednisone, and, FUN FACT he is the second being at this address on that particular drug. I let them feed it to each other.
Two nights ago I got Toonses to turn to the left a few times. Granted, he also tipped over afterward. And last night he got up on his back legs like he wanted to jump on the couch, but he's not quite ready. He spends the rest of the time laying on a blanket in our closet.
In my unprofessional opinion, he's got another good five years in him. I've taken to calling him Zoolander. Chuck calls him Lefty.