My older cat, Banzai, is in his late teens (approx. 17, actually). For the last year, he's been steadily losing weight. Last week he started a minor cold (snufflies, goopy eyes, sneezing). Two days ago, he became utterly listless, wouldn't eat, wasn't eliminating, etc., so with elionwyr's gracious help, I took him off to the vet last night. She noted that his kidneys seemed small (which she had also noted a year ago, when I took him for a general check-up), took blood & urine samples, administered sub-cutaneous fluids for dehydration and sent us home with some antibiotics and some anti-nausea meds.
Today she called me with the blood results, and it's not good. One value of the testing (and I don't recall the names of the values, for those of you detail-curious folk) for which the average/okay number is 35, my beast has scored 215. Another is supposed to be less than 2, and his is 8+. These likely indicate that he's going into kidney failure. His white blood cell count is up (which may indicate pancreatitis, a kidney infection, or his cold). At his age, it's hardly unexpected, really.
The vet has suggested a trial week of giving him sub-cu fluids daily. I went in this afternoon to pick them up and to get instruction on the proper way to administer them. If he doesn't improve much in a week's time, it'll likely be time to have him euthanized.
I've been carting this creature around the country with me for 17 years. He's been the only absolutely constant presence in my life (aside from, well..me) during that time. I've known for awhile that the time is coming, eventually, that I'll have to make that decision...but it doesn't make thinking about it any easier.
On the positive side, the vet told me that she's never seen a cat with such high levels be as perky as he is....and she's only seen one other that had levels that high and was actually alive. This gives me some hope that I can delay the inevitable for a bit...but I'll only do that if I can do it without sacrificing his quality of life. If he's not acting like he's feeling better within a week, then I'll probably have him put down regardless of any blood tests.