I can't point to any one thing that's helped her, because I wasn't willing to do a controlled-study of her health. I just tried half a dozen potential fixes all at once.
To address her dehydration, I lowered the thermostat a bit to prevent the amount of dry air blowing around. More significantly, I stopped running my bedside fan during the night...I normally keep it going so I won't hear her snore (or the squirrels running around in the attic, which they do at all hours). Instead I just wear earplugs and I think both of us wake up with slightly moister throats.
I also did an intensive study of her water-mania. By setting up a collection of home-made contraptions in the tub I was able to figure out what she likes and dislikes about various forms of water. If your cat is obsessed with water, maybe this information will help you:
- She must SEE the water arriving in a rivulet; if you just bring it to her in a bowl she doesn't believe it's fresh.
- She doesn't, however, want to drink RUNNING water, which explains why her cat-fountain leaves her so unimpressed. No, she only wants to drink it once it's STOPPED moving.
- She doesn't like LARGE pools of water; they must be small and shallow.
- She doesn't want to actually get wet.
But after that the process must be repeated, maybe because by then she's forgotten that she saw the water arrive.
Incidentally, she WILL drink out of a deep pot or basin, but ONLY if she sees it arrive and ONLY if it isn't put near her food or directly in front of her. After a short period of time she'll sneak over and drink out of it.
I don't know what all this says about cat psychology, except that cats are mental.
So once I got her drinking it was time to get her EATING again, and as I mentioned before I did this by mixing a bit of cat food gravy and chicken in with her "proper" food and heating it for three seconds. After she ate it for a few days I stopped adding the gravy, which probably annoys her but she has continued eating anyway. She's even started eating her dry food again.
It's probably significant that her antibiotics (for her urine infection) have kicked in; she is no longer doing her "pee scream" and probably feels better in general. Finally, I'm spending lots of time petting her and chatting with her, which might improve her joie de vivre.
So even though she's still alarmingly thin (and she's developed an explosive sneeze), I think she's in the clear for a little while longer. I won't consider her out of the woods until she gains some weight -- and even then I think we're living on borrowed time -- but I hope we'll at least be able to spend one more Christmas together.