George had more bloodwork done, a urinalysis, and two xrays. The conclusion?
"He," said the vet, "is in remarkably good shape for a 17-year-old hyperthyroid cat."
"Except for starving himself," I mentioned.
"Yeah. Except for that."
There may be some cancer that can't be detected by the tests run, but for now he takes a version of Pepcid twice a day. And he's eating. He's not devouring food, but he's eating, and he's clearly happier. So in the end, it wasn't the $400 worth of tests that helped George, it was the cat version of Tums. We're operating on the assumption that he has irritable bowel, so for now, to build up his stomach, he's eating mostly Gerber chicken baby food. Which smells like poop. Poop that's just been vomited.
(As an aside, all the fancy Organic/Natural baby food had apple juice in it, even the non-dessert foods like turkey. Why? Because a discerning parent might object to a baby food that says "sugar" on the label, but when they see "apple juice," they think, "oh, healthy." The thing is, apple juice is still sugar. High sugar. So that's how they get in the Baby Crack while making a pretense to nutrition.)
The setup was to keep George in my bedroom with a bowl of food, water, and a litterbox during the day so that he could eat all his food at his own pace while Harry is kept out. So my bedroom smells like poop.
Poop that's just been vomited.