Loki is still not doing well, but I do see minor improvements in some of his condition. The coughing fits certainly have slowed and their severity appears somewhat reduced. It looks more and more like late-onset acute asthma. While the suddenness of the ailment has damaged his heart and keeps his lungs inflamed, the inhaled steroids certainly help. He’ll continue on the twice-daily schedule for another week before a final decision is made on his diagnosis, but so far things are looking better. Sadly, they reached a level of grave seriousness in so short a time that improvements still leave him scraping the bottom.
He’s still quite sick though, and it shows in how much of his personality and physical prowess is now suppressed. It has been traumatic to see him go so quickly from a master acrobat and supreme predator to the sickly and weak feline he now is. He’s sleeping far more than the other cats; powernapping is a thing of the past. His play is muted and squelched, often quickly grinding to a halt after but a minute or two. Before, he would play for quite a while and would demonstrate mastery of physics through his fantastic skills both in the air and on his feet. Now it’s a subdued kind of play. I can’t help but recognize his fight to experience even a small bit of fun.
Loki continues his downhill slide by way of demonstrating abject fear of the other cats. This is most disheartening. He shrinks away from any feline that approaches him, and he readily gives up his food, water, or treats if anyone else comes along. He will not play with them anymore. I find myself having to intercept these interactions so he can have his space and feel secure in whatever he’s doing. This is the most feared of all changes in his personality as it demonstrates he’s fully aware of his weakened state. He avoids any confrontation, even if it is just passing by someone, because he undoubtedly feels threatened by his own ailment and inability to defend himself. His siblings are now a threat.
He’s lost a whole pound (half a kilogram). Because his fur is medium in length, the weight loss is not as apparent as it would be on cats with short fur. That doesn’t mean it’s not noticeable, however, as I can feel the difference when I pick him up or pet him. The ripped and defined musculature for which he has long been known seems to be fading into the background of a weakening body struggling to survive.
At only nine-and-a-half years old, this rapid decline breaks my heart.
He is Hunter, that which is a predator of all things, the master of the hunt, and now he is afraid to stand his ground even for a meal. He is Satan, the stealer of souls, he who inflicts harm for the fun of it, and now he barely can wrestle a toy from my hands and will not face a challenger. He is Motor, the industriously happy cat, the rumbler of beds and shaker of couches with his incessantly pleasing and powerful purr, and yet now that harmonious sound is muffled and feeble, lacking strength and longevity, as likely to fade into sleep as it is to send him into a coughing fit. He is Mr. Mouth, the talker of tall tales, the screamer and demander, the speaker at those who have no choice but to listen, and now he says so very little, and what he does say is short lived and quiet.
He is Loki, named for the Norse god of mischief who was as handsome as he was evil, a cat so named for being equal parts beauty and malevolence, yet his divinity has been taken away by his own body, his mastery of mischief a thing of the past, his beauty the remaining trait that fights to remain in the wake of this perpetual onslaught from the inside.