I got home this last weekend from a two week vacation to some attention starved cats and a furry bed. Cora loves to help make the bed, so she got some extra attention as I tried to extract her from my work.
Happy International Cat Day!
Oliver has had a bit of a rough year. In January, he was diagnosed with a fibrosarcoma, a cancerous tumor that cats sometimes get at their vaccination site. There is some disagreement, but there is a body of evidence to suggest that rabies vaccines are the cause, due to over-vaccinating, and the high dose of the vaccine compared to the small size of the cat. Talk to your vet about this – maybe your cat doesn’t need a rabies vaccine. I wish I had known…
At any rate, Oliver had a surgery to remove the tumor, and we hoped that it wouldn’t grow back.
Two weeks ago, Oliver had another surgery, to try to get the tumor that was quickly growing back. The vet and I had talked it over and decided, given how easily his recovery had been the first time, to go for it.
The tumor, and the surgery, was a lot bigger this time around. The vet found more growth and spreading, and wanted to be aggressive in trying to get it all. Clear margins around the tumor are critical to prevent its growing right back.
This time, Oliver had a much rougher time in recovery. There was a lot more open wound, a lot more swelling and edema, and a lot more bleeding. Oliver was in a lot of pain for the first 4 days. My heart broke to hear him cry when his dose of pain medicine was wearing off. I second-guessed my decision. He hardly moved at all those first few days. He didn’t eat much, didn’t drink much and didn’t pee and poop much. I made his wet cat food into a liquid slurry to get more fluids in him.
He didn’t like his antibiotic pills, his pain medicine made him into a drooling zombie, and he hated when I tried to put shirts on him to prevent his blood from oozing everywhere. I felt like a big, mean, jerk.
Fortunately on the 5th day after his surgery, he was feeling a bit better. He is getting back to his old self now. Two weeks out, he can jump up and get around like normal. He isn’t in pain. He got his stitches out yesterday and is healing nicely.
As for his cancer? It is unlikely that this will be the last of the tumor – it will probably come back. Getting old sucks. When the tumor does come back, there isn’t a whole lot I can do. Enjoy the time I get with him and love him as much as I always have.
The day after Easter, I was still sick, even though I was basically out of commission for the entire weekend. But, because when it rains, it really pours, fate wasn’t done with me yet.
I went to work Monday, not realizing that at some point in my misery over the weekend or Monday morning, I had gone out the back door and apparently not locked it when I came back in. I don’t use that door very frequently, and I actually have no recollection of when I had even gone outside. Because, well, sick… Blame the illness. Or the cold medicine…
At any rate, when I got home after work, still feeling miserable and just wanting to crawl back into bed, only two cats greeted me for dinner. There was a big, orange tabby who was nowhere to be found. I realized what had happened as soon as I saw the back door, which was not quite all the way closed. Oliver had joined the CIA and was now out on a secret mission. Ugh…
I live in a neighborhood that is quite woody. I have my own animal kingdom just steps from the back door. Deer nap in my yard, and raccoons hang out with regularity. Even worse, I have seen coyotes in my yard, and I live half a block from the beginning of a park which has infrequent cougar sightings.
A trip around the house shaking the food bag was to no avail. Oliver was gone. He had gone deep undercover. He has snuck out a few times before but I had always managed to see him leave, and once he got out, it was always enough to just reprimand him and he would come quickly slinking back to the open door. But I had no idea where he had gotten to!
I hoped he would come back that evening, but no dice. I even locked the other two away and left the back door open so he could come back in the way he left. Nope. Whatever his secret mission was, it was taking awhile. So imagine me, still sick, and now worried sick, wandering around the neighborhood in the middle of the night looking for eye shine and quietly shaking the food bag. Oy. I got very little sleep that night. My Fitbit says I lay still for about 4 hours, but I am quite positive I was awake for most of that. In fact, the only reason that I knew I slept at all was because I had a couple of nightmares.
The next day the search was equally fruitless. I worked from home, working on emails and phone calls and roaming the neighborhood periodically to find my jerk of a cat. My mom came over during the day to help look, and my girlfriend helped in the evening. I talked to a lot of my neighbors. But no sign of Oliver. The only good news was that I hadn’t found any piles of orange cat fur and bones… I was exhausted…
I finally lay down at 10 that night, planning for another middle of the night neighborhood walk. I had scoured all the internet advice for lost indoor cats. His litter was outside. Smelly, heated up tuna was trying to tempt him home. And, one site had recommended leaving the garage door open six inches, in case my little renegade tried that avenue… I was pretty pessimistic, I admit.
About 11:30 that night, I heard some rustling around in the garage. I wasn’t sure what had come in. A cat, or one of the many raccoons? I got up and opened the door to the garage, and saw a streak run towards me! I had just enough time to figure out that the streak was orange before he was upon me like a bolt of lightning into the house. Apparently he had enough of his secret outdoor mission.
He was dirty, and had sticky sap all over his paws, but was otherwise none the worse for the wear. After washing him off and pulling off half of his paw fur in the process of trying to get the sap off (he did not like that ONE BIT but it serves him right!), I was finally able to get some sleep…
Hopefully Oliver has had enough of these outdoor excursions, and won’t try to escape again soon. I don’t think my poor body could take it…
Oliver likes to sleep like a person these days. Tucked up next to me, under the covers, with his head on the pillow. I don’t have the heart to tell him if he wants to be a person, he needs to put in a 40 hour work week… He really does have the life.
A week ago, Oliver had surgery to remove a fibrosarcoma from the space just behind his right shoulder blade. Cancer. Luckily, I noticed it when it was small, and took him in to have it checked out.
The surgery was invasive, but went well. They had to cut out the tumor, along with pieces of three different muscles. A cube about 2 inches on each side. And then they sewed the muscles back together so he wouldn’t lose use in his shoulder and right front leg.
He looks a bit like Frankenstein, but has tolerated the recovery process well. He is leaving his incision alone, and it is staying closed. He is able to move around as he needs to, walking and running and jumping up on the bed by himself. He only seems to favor that leg while going downstairs.
He will need regular massages in the future to make sure the tumor doesn’t grow back (I should have such a prescription!).
I am glad things went ok, as it was certainly stressful leading up to the surgery! I worry about the furkids, and always hope that they live forever. It looks like there’s still a chance with Oliver. 🙂
Happy weekend everybody!
While I can’t say that 2016 has been the best year, it has become a tradition to do the annual year in review. Although in some ways, I won’t be sorry to see 2016 go, I still have to remember that even with its ups and downs, I do live a truly blessed life. So without further ado…
I didn’t post as much in 2016 as I had hoped to, but still have many posts coming about my West trip, the half-marathon and Astoria. I am hopeful that 2017 will have me back on a more regular posting schedule, as well as experiencing many new adventures.
Know that I am eternally grateful for all of you that I count as readers, family and friends. Here’s to peace and happiness in the New Year. Cheers!
Ollie loves shoes… He loves to lay on them and put his feet in them… Oh how he does love shoes…