SOMERVILLE, MA—Despite his advanced age, near-complete physical decay, and constant bouts of renal failure, area cat Socrates vehemently refuses to die, sources reported Tuesday.
"He's a sweet old guy, and he's been through a lot," said Brian Pressman, 33, who received the cat as a birthday present during middle school. "But no matter how weak he seems or how many times he's diagnosed with something fatal, he just keeps bouncing back. Every single time."
Added Pressman, with a sigh, "He sure is a persistent one."
In the past week alone, Pressman has taken Socrates to visit the veterinarian three times, missing a half day of work on Monday to treat the stubborn cat for a nagging eye infection. Once there, however, the veterinarian discovered that Socrates had developed ulcers and would require special medication that will likely lengthen the 19-year-old feline's life for another unknown period of time.
The seemingly indestructible Socrates is currently on five separate prescriptions at a monthly cost of $224.
"We came to peace with the fact that Socrates might pass away when we found that tumor on his head last Christmas," said wife Emily Pressman, 31, whose 2-year-old son David has thus far been unable to kill the cat despite his playful but relentless physical abuse. "And then again in April when he fell off the table and hurt his leg. Frankly, I figured it would only be a matter of time after that, but he's still here. Still kicking."
"We never could have imagined that he'd live this long," she added. "Not in a million years."
Socrates, who apparently rejects the very concept of mortality, sleeps an estimated 20 hours a day and hasn't had a solid bowel movement in more than a year, Pressman told reporters. Moreover, the cat requires a twice-daily subcutaneous saline and electrolyte injection to manage the severe kidney problems that began three years ago. The couple takes turns completing this humiliating, time-consuming task, and must also perform the animal's morning feeding ritual—which requires a special food for older cats to be ground up and watered down so Socrates' feeble teeth and digestive tracts can better handle it.
"Just like clockwork, Socrates and I are up bright and early every morning at six when he starts howling and howling," Emily Pressman said. "Sometimes it's more like 5:30 if he's having one of his vomiting spells. Of course, that's assuming he hasn't woken us up already with those deep, mournful moans. But once I force-feed him his hyperthyroid pills and clean up the mess, he's usually pretty quiet for the rest of the day. I tend to forget he's even around."
Of all the occasions in the past few years when Socrates has somehow managed to escape death's cold embrace, none was more harrowing, the Pressmans said, than the summer of 2004, when a weak and anguished Socrates was rushed to the hospital with the deadly feline virus panleukopenia.
"He was in such pain that we were hoping and praying that Socrates would go to a better place," Brian Pressman said. "That was over five years ago. Luckily, the doctors figured out a treatment that only cost $2,700, and here we are today. Alive and well. Five years later. It's a miracle, all right."
"I honestly don't know what I'd do without him," Pressman added. "Besides not have a cat anymore."