A few nights ago the Tweeb got herself a mildly prolapsed rectum, thanks to a ginormous crap that she laid in the hallway. After a frantic 15 minutes, Karel finally managed to reach the emergency vet, and we were reassured that 5 mm wasn't that bad of an emergency and that she would live if we brought her in the next day. So the next morning, despite her butt having returned to normal, I made the appointment with the vet, and after a journey spent yowling her displeasure at being shoved into a carrier, the Tweeb was poked and prodded, and given (as we suspected she would be) laxatives.
That older animals need more care than their younger counterparts isn't surprising, but for some reason it always comes as a shock to me to find out that some part of them isn't working as well as it ought to be--the Tweeb's kidneys, Noodle's kidneys (here's hoping that Shadow somehow avoids this fate), and now the Tweeb's gut. It's the same with people, I know: old animals need care, too, and nothing is sadder than to read about people who have to surrender their pets because they can't afford the care they need. Happily we're not in that financial boat, and giving laxatives to the Tweeb isn't that much of a hardship on either of us (it'll probably be harder for me, since I've got to figure out how to convince the damn cat to eat it) that we're having to contemplate that path.
But this event is another reminder that the Tweeb is mortal, and one day in the all-too-soon future, she will eventually reach the point when she has to cross the rainbow bridge. By then, we might have worked out a daily treatment plan that involves a dose of subQ fluids and some medications in a pill in addition to laxatives in her prescription diet. It's easy to tell yourself, now, that you won't be the kind of owner who will put their pet through hell just to have them around, but it's a bit harder to know you've reached that point when it's one little thing, followed by another.