We still don't have any real news on HSH's condition, though he's been put on stronger meds and seems to be out of breath less often. He still hasn't had the MRI of his heart, which should give us more information.
As for the Whale...apparently, he had not been doing well for some time, and we hadn't noticed it. His personality was the same, and he had the same energy/etc. He started rejecting his food about 3 weeks before he got really sick, but the vendor had changed formulas and a lot of cats hated it. So we bought a different kind, which he liked slightly better, and we thought things were good.
Let me just say that if you have an enormously heavy cat (18 pounds), you are a lot less likely to notice him becoming a less heavy cat— especially if he still looks and feels about the same size.
The Whale started acting very sick on a Friday, and we got him to the vet who diagnosed end-stage kidney failure. What a horrible shock. We took the Whale home and kept him warm and gave him IV fluids, but he wasn't able to recover. He was rigid and very still for days (I think he might have been in pain, the vet thought extreme nausea). Then he started drooling, and then the drool became pink and smelly, and he had trouble breathing.
There is always the point where you have to give up hope, and then you regret how much longer you've put your pet through misery because you couldn't be sure. We prepared the kids, and then had the Whale put to sleep. It felt almost as if he'd just been stolen out of our lives. We just didn't see this coming.
For most cats, after they're about 18 months old they enter the "Adult" stage, and then they seem to hang out there for many long years until they suddenly start showing signs of being elderly. It took Tigger until age 16 to show those signs, and she lived two more years. We never got there with the Whale. He was 11 1/2, which is somewhere around age 64 in human terms, but that isn't what it looked like. We thought we'd have at least another 4-5 years with him, and that the kids would be safely off on college when we lost him.
I'm not as heartbroken over this as I was last week, but it still seems unreal.
We loved that cat to pieces, even when he was irritating (demanding and talkative, being half-Siamese and showing it). He was well and truly adored, and I think he knew it. We sure miss him.