We promised my husband’s Italian cousin, Franco De’Rogati, that if anything happened to him, we would take care of his beloved Theodoro, a beautiful cream Persian kitten. Both Franco and Theodoro were born in Italy; Franco was a journalist for an Italian newspaper, and traveled back and forth between New York and Rome frequently. Theodoro was his travelling companion. Sadly, Franco’s heart gave out after bypass surgery, and we kept our promise to take Theodoro into our home and our hearts. It wasn’t hard. It delighted us to see a city cat learn the wonders of a beautiful landscape filled with birds, wildlife and, much to his surprise, other cats in the same household. Full of character, and as spry as a kitten, he came to live with us at eleven years of age. We laughed at the fact that he had more places on his passport than we had, including Italy, other parts of Europe, and even Monaco! Of course, being the Hospital Manager at the Ridgewood Veterinary Hospital, there is information at my fingertips, and a whole staff of caring doctors. I listened when they said we should do a geriatric profile, even though he seemed perfectly normal. Nothing changed in his behavior or appetite, and he was still as playful as ever. Kidney disease in cats is almost invisible in the beginning. In the first few years we had him, his kidney values gradually crept up, indicating a gradual insufficiency. We put him on a prescription diet, Hill’s K/D, which he loved. We gave him everything he needed, and monitored his condition carefully. Thanks to the veterinarians, Theo lived to the age of 18 ½ years with the small change in his diet, occasional bloodwork and urine samples. Up until the very end, he had a spectacular life. When his kidneys could no longer do their job, kindness was the last option and he didn’t suffer. My reason for writing this, is that we extended his life by 7 ½ years with very little effort. The picture you see was taken only two months before his passing. Would you ever suspect that this cat had severe kidney disease at that time? Most could not. On behalf of your cat, next time he or she licks away your tears, meets you at the door, plays with your children, or just sits on your lap, I ask you to give your cat the same chance. Who wouldn’t want more time with a healthy companion? You may not see it or cure it, but you may be able to deter kidney disease. If your cat is over seven years of age, please tell your veterinarian that you read Theo’s story and want to start with a simple blood test and urinalysis. I enjoyed years of life with Theo, and I wish you the same with your cat.
By Marylin Farrar-Wagner