Am I sick? Yes.
Am I writing? Yes. I'll sleep again when this is done, for the rest of the day; the plan is to go back to bed when Matt gets up at 7. A couple of new things happened, and I want to document them.
After hardly seeing Toby at all since I started feeling sick in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, I saw Matt to bed at 2, which was the end of the 1 a.m. feeding, and napped on the couch till 4 a.m., when the alarm on my phone went off. I can sleep right through its little beeping noise, but when it's on vibrate and sitting on my Manhasset music stand, it sounds like the drums of doom, so that's what I do. I opened the carrier door. Toby walked out, stretching and yawning. I scooped him up and took him to the couch. We followed our usual schedule: the initial cuddle, the ritual spurning of the wet food, and the first drink from the bottle.
He hopped down onto the floor and scratched at the carpet. I bundled him into his cage, where a fresh paper bag was waiting. He walked into it and pooped at the back left-hand corner. I tried putting a paper towel over the poop so he could reuse the bag. He ran around and played with toys for several minutes, then started scratching at the carpet again. I bundled him back into the cage. He trotted into the bag, came out backward with the clean end of the paper towel clutched in his teeth with the poop stuck to the bottom, dropped it at the cage door, and gave me a stern look. Then he went to the old pee spot at the back of the cage (which I have disinfected over and over) and started scratching. I grabbed him with one hand and the unacceptably soiled bag with the other, put the bag aside, shook a fresh paper bag open with one hand (something I didn't know I could do), and stuck him into it. He peed as I was getting the failed experiment into the trash.
We played for half an hour. It doesn't matter how tired or sick I am: he has to play, and he has to be supervised, because often the other cats are around (having resisted all attempts to whisk them away into other rooms and hidden behind the furniture) and he has no sense of self-preservation. He chased toys and jumped on them and worried them; he leapt into the air after toys on strings and brought them down. He hid behind the hall curtain. He attacked my feet, gently, with soft bites and soft paws. When he started to flag a bit, I picked him up and he drank from the bottle again. He drank a lot.
On a whim, I grabbed a morsel of the previously spurned wet food. I stroked his cheek, counting on the old nursing reflex, and coaxed it into his open mouth when the reflex worked. He ate it, thought about it, and looked up at me. On impulse, I swept the food off the tongue depressor and presented it to him on my fingers. He ate it and licked my fingers clean. I ran to the fridge and got more. He ate that. He ate more than a teaspoonful by the time we were done, in four little chunks, and we stopped not because he felt done but because I was afraid he'd explode after all that food on top of that goat milk.
We have struggled and struggled with getting wet food into Toby. He would eat it nuked for three seconds to take the chill off, and then he wouldn't. He would eat off the edge of a plate held at 45 degrees, so I ran out and scoured the thrift shop for more discarded saucers, and then he wouldn't. He would eat it cold off a tongue depressor at the vet's, so she gave us a baggie of tongue depressors, and then he spurned food offered on a tongue depressor. We can't take him to Dr. Colleen every three hours. We were out of ideas. Now he was eating it out of my hand.
Did I mention we just ordered a hundred tongue depressors online? They just shipped. I thought about that while he slurped food off my fingers, but hey, he was eating. As the pilots say, any landing you walk away from is a good landing.
I put him back in the cage for a minute while I disinfected his snuggle disk, wrapped it up in a clean rag, and put it in the microwave, then back into his carrier.
After that, all that remained was to cuddle him for another few minutes. till his eyes started to close, then put him into his carrier and pulled a towel over the door. He went right to sleep.
It was 5 a.m., the time I've gotten up for years, so I couldn't sleep anyhow. I'll have a nap now--there are 45 minutes till the next feeding.