I'm so tired of going to the veterinarian. The first part of this story started today, when Rich and I headed over to Brian's house to pick up my hutch and to check on Loki the cat. We'll get to that in a second.

Back Story

Jeremy and I, while married, had two cats and two dogs. In what may sound strange, the ownership of said animals fell along gender lines, in that I owned Isis and Sarah and he owned Casey and Loki. When we divorced, the animals were split up and I took Isis and Sarah with me while Loki and Casey stayed with Jeremy. Fast forward a year or so and Jeremy got a job in Northern Virginia and moved, leaving behind his pets. He gave Casey to Frank and Susan and left Loki with Brian, the off and on roommate in our marriage.

Brian has been living in the house that Jeremy and I lived in for about three years or so. He rents this house from my parents at a very discounted rate (as Jeremy and I did while there). So my family has been peripherally around Loki ever since the divorce. One might say I've had visitation rights. A few months ago, my father mentioned that Loki was looking very thin and his stomach looked bloated. He worried that Brian may need to take him to the vet.

A few weeks ago, I started e-mailing Brian and asking about the cat. I found out that he had torn his ear on a nail under the sofa in June and that he had a very bad case of fleas. He also apparently had an allergic reaction to the flea collar Brian used which caused him to lose some hair "around his neck." After Brian came over last week he mentioned that he was going to Pennsylvania for a week's vacation and was leaving the cat in the house. I told him that I would like to check in on the cat while he's gone (hell, I still have a house key) and we could pick up my dining room hutch which has been there since 2002 as well. Brian thought that was a good idea.

Sunday Morning

Rich and I stopped at the house and I went inside. I knew that Loki was inside and had not been allowed outside recently because of his bout with fleas. I was not prepared for what I found in the house.

I took one look at him and burst into tears. What you can't see in the picture is the way he feels. He was literally skin and bones with a huge swollen belly. Most of his fur was gone, showing his white undercoat and what looked like hundreds of fleas.

So we packed up the hutch in the truck and took Loki home with us, fleas and all. I wrapped him up in an old stained towel I found on the floor, ironically one that my great aunt had gifted Jeremy and me with for our wedding. And Loki just slept in my arms the four miles home, purring and enjoying the air conditioning.

We re-instated the kitty quarantine ward that is normally the sewing room. I brought up a can of Fancy Feast to see what Loki would do with it. I couldn't keep his head out of the can. He literally devoured it.

We debated on taking him to the emergency vet right then, but he seemed happy enough and was eating and drinking. So we figured we would give him a few hours and see how he fared.

Sunday Evening

We returned from our outings and finished dinner. I went upstairs to check on Loki and to take a few more pictures of him. I'm not sure why I wanted to chronicle his condition, but it seemed important at the time. Lying on the floor, taking pictures of him and seeing the fleas crawl all over him, I couldn't stop crying. I just lied there on the floor saying "I'm so sorry, Loki" over and over. At 10:30pm I came back downstairs and told Rich that while the cat seemed happy enough and would probably live until Monday when he could go to the vet, I would not be okay unless we took him somewhere immediately.

Sunday Night

We drove Loki to the Tidewater Emergency Vet and checked in. There were several other people in the waiting room, but we didn't wait but so long. I had a hard time filling out the form. Was I the owner? Caregiver? Benefactor? They don't have a check box for "lost cat in divorce, ex-husband gave to mutual friend and have now abducted cat to give urgent medical treatment" on the form.

You know it's bad when the vet looks at him and she looks like she's getting emotional. They did some x-rays and called us back in. First she showed us an x-ray of a "normal" cat. You could see his diaphram, his liver, kidneys, large and small intestines. Then they showed an x-ray of Loki. All you could see was this huge white mass. The tumor in him is so large we don't even know what organ or organs it's attached to. And there were all his intestines pushed into a mass down at his hips.

The vet said, "I'm showing you this before we do the blood work because some people see this and we stop here." I didn't bring in this cat to put him to sleep, though. So we opted for some blood tests. He's staying overnight and hopefully the specialist can do an ultrasound on him in the morning to see what the tumor is and if it's operable. He's extremely anemic but we want to wait for a blood transfusion until we get the results of the ultrasound. And that was that. We were headed home and Loki was going to hang out at the vet, eating wet food and fussing at the vet techs.

At 3:45am, I've spent some of the most heart-breaking hours with Loki that I've ever had with him. And in some ways, it's like I'm cheated. Because I haven't had any good times with him in years. I'm just here to pay his bills and try to save his life. Once this cat recovers, I'm not going to be so interested in letting him live anywhere else.