I thought a moment before deciding to do this post. I didn't want it to come off sounding like I'm a martyr and all "Oh look at all I do". Instead I'm focusing on the facts here. I do a lot for Lou. I do go out of my way and beyond what many people might feel is necessary and appropriate. But I love him so how do you draw the line? You do what you can, for as long as you can and for as long as it makes sense.
Several years ago old age descended on Lou in a major way. He went from having minor ailments to serious chronic conditions that could be managed but never reversed. He was diagnosed first with hyperthyroid disease. This made him insanely hungry. He wanted food all of the time and still lost weight to the point where he is literally just skin and bones. I don't know what glue holds him together most days. When he first began asking for food constantly I resisted. I tried to keep him to a decent schedule. It became clear that was not going to work for him. So, I decided to simply feed him as much as he wants, whenever he wants. When he began to need frequent meals throughout the night I bought an automatic feeder that kept him happy through the night and also allows me the occasional night away. It has literally been a life saver for both of us.
Lou was also diagnosed with kidney disease as most older cats are. It makes him extremely thirsty and he pees a lot. It's not healthy for him not to have access to ample fresh water. He used to jump up onto the bathroom sink to drink. When he was no longer able to jump I bought him a water fountain. It satisfies his need for fresh water. He drinks a ton which is the healthiest thing that he can do to keep his kidneys functioning well for as long as possible. One of the side effects of thyroid and kidney disease is high blood pressure. That manifests itself as blood in Lou's urine. The picture below might seem rather graphic but it is the reality of our life. For 18 years he never had even one accident outside of the litter box. He now has an inability to completely squat when he pees and the result is blood soaked urine everywhere. Luckily these dog pads come to the rescue and for the time being they completely solve our litter box issues.
The most recent small change in our house is that Lou can't climb onto either the chair or sofa in the living room. I was picking him up but I know he missed getting in the chair during the day. An easy fix was adding these stairs in between the two It isn't the best decorating touch but it accomplishes that Lou maintains a bit of independence . Plus, he looks so peaceful asleep in the chair now that he can reach it again.
I feel very fortunate that each obstacle that we have faced has come along with a manageable solution. As long as he is happy and enjoying life I will do what I can to make sure he stays that way.