Tag Archive | cats with cancer

Oliver’s Hump

Oliver is still here.  His tumor keeps growing; I have taken to calling him Quasimodo, because he looks like a hunchback.  It is hard to tell in the photo, but it is large and firm.  It is more uncomfortable for him now when I give him his fluids, since I imagine the fluids don’t feel good when they stretch out his already stretched skin.

Despite all this, he is purring, eating and still jumping up on the bed, so I guess it isn’t time yet.

Slowing Down…

This dear boy had a hard night the other night.  He wasn’t waiting at the door when I got home and I found him sleeping hard in a closet where he rarely goes.

He only ate a little dinner and then was in some pain, although he did settle down on my bed and slept peacefully all night.

It was a fretful night for me, but the next day he seemed better.

You can see how large his tumor has gotten in the photo.  It is the hump he sports on his right shoulder…  It is growing quickly, and I can only imagine it is infiltrating his heart and lungs.

Oliver’s Hump

Thankfully, he is usually doing well, purring and eating and thumping his little sister when he is tired of her bothering him.

I’ll take all the time I can get with him.


Oliver’s Boxes

Oliver’s health seems to still be holding it’s own, even though his tumor is growing.  It is currently about the size of a lime, nestled in between and under his right shoulder blade.  It is just this hard lump, visible under the skin – you can absolutely feel it.  So far, it doesn’t seem to be painful to him, so that is a positive.

His appetite is good, and he still enjoys snuggling with me every chance he gets.  He likes to be warm under the covers.

Oliver loves boxes, even if he can’t fit…

I continue to just try to be grateful for the time I have with him, not knowing how much longer that will be.  No matter what, it will never be enough.



Counting Days

I’ve been home most of the weekend, venturing out only a little because I have felt pretty crummy.  Oliver likes that.  He gets to snuggle up in bed next to me, or in his favorite kitty puff on a little table next to be at the computer.  He’s snoring…  Loudly.

His tumor is continuing to grow.  It’s gotten to the point where it is stretching his skin, making it obvious that something is there because it makes his fur look thinner there.  It doesn’t seem like it is bothering him yet though, other than the fact that he is much more content to snooze more of the day away.  His dementia symptoms are more obvious and pronounced too (he frequently seems confused if I am in another room and he can’t find me), but the vet says there’s no way to tell if that is related to his cancer or not.

He is still as loving as ever with me, and at times irritated and impatient with Coraline.  Granted, she still likes to chase him and annoy him, but she also smells his tumor and inspects that spot carefully while he is lying down.  I think there is certainly something to the research that says animals can smell tumors.

I don’t know how much time there is, but this weekend has been good time with him.



Cora Loves Ollie

Oliver is slowing down lately.  He is content just snoozing most of the day away.  And he doesn’t usually have patience for Cora and her antics.  Today she marched over to him and started to give him a bath.  After initially looking really skeptical, he settled down and let her lick him…  I think he even might have liked it…

Oliver’s Tumor Redux

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.

It did.

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.

Oliver at the hospital, the day of his surgery

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.

Oliver relaxing, the day after the surgery


Oliver two days post-op, swollen, bruised and hurting


Oliver 3 days post-op – lots of bruising and oozing…


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.


Oliver 12 days post-op – getting a drink!


Oliver two weeks post-op – much better!


Maybe if I hide, she won’t see me. At the vet to get his stitches out.

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.


Martini Rests in Peace

This is the post I never wanted to write…  Well, I might have been ok writing it in another 15 or 20 years… Maybe (yes, I realize that’s not realistic, but a girl’s gotta dream)…

Martini went to be with the angels yesterday afternoon.  After her bout with pancreatitis landed her at the vet for an overnight stay for IV fluids, I went to visit her yesterday hoping that she would be feeling perky and mad about being stuck in a cage and ready to go home.  Sadly, she wasn’t improving, and she hadn’t eaten at all.  She purred and purred when she saw me, and Jon and I spent awhile petting her and scratching her chin.  But it was clear that there was no longer a hope for a good quality of life.  I’m just comforted by the fact that she was purring at the end.

But instead of thinking about how heartbroken I am, I want to think about how my joy she brought to my life and how she is now in a better place.  So, I thought I would share a little about the life she lived.

Martini came to me on February 5, 2004, from the Alternative Humane Society.  She had gotten a death row reprieve from them, because she had been at the regular Humane Society and was slated for euthanasia.  She got been there for about 4 months, and had gotten kennel stress and started biting people who came to see her.  They told me she was between three and four years old, but she could have been several years older than that.  The Alternative Humane Society was so excited that someone wanted her (I saw her pic on the website and called about her), that they had her spayed and delivered her still groggy to my house!  Where she hid in my closet for the next three days.

On the third night, she came out of the closet and climbed up on my bed.  Where she slept every night for the rest of her life, except for three nights she spent in the vet’s office.  They had said she was picked up as a stray, but once she settled in, it was clear that she had a family at one point.  She just loved being around people too much.  She loved sitting on my lap, and hated when I gave any attention to my other cats.

Martini Before Her Protein Allergy

Martini Before Her Protein Allergy

Although she was a lover, she had a very strong personality.  She made it known when she wasn’t pleased about something; she had a long list of things that made her mad…  Rubbing her belly for too long, touching her paws, brushing her and pulling on her hair to get the mats out, repositioning her if she was sitting on your lap and you wanted to reach for something, trimming her claws, giving her pills, letting the other cats sit next to you…  Like I said, it was a long list.

Martini Playing in a Shoebox

Martini Playing in a Shoebox

We had a bad scare in 2009 when she became violently ill with uncontrollable vomiting.  A night at the emergency vet for IV fluids perked her up, but three weeks later she was severely ill again.  A referral to the ultrasound specialist saved her life, revealing that she had a protein allergy.  Once we knew that’s what it was, changing her food put her on the path to recovery.  But she wanted everything that was bad for her.  She trolled around the kitchen, looking to cash in on our rookie mistakes.  Once, she grabbed a giant steak that was marinating on the counter and managed to get it under the bed, where she was gnawing on it when Jon found her.  Over the years, she absconded with strips of prosciutto, slices of pizza and chunks of chicken.  She grabbed chunks of canned tuna from the sink, and once, when feeling particularly desperate (she was fasting for a blood test), got into the garbage and made a sad meal out of a tomato.

Martini "Snuggling" With Oliver

Martini “Snuggling” With Oliver

But it wasn’t all hijinks and grumpiness.  Martini loved to snuggle.  She slept with me every night, in her later years preferring a spot under the covers to keep warm.  She snuggled in by my chest, and when I rolled over, she would tiptoe up over my head and take her position back up on the other side.  She loved to scare Jon by being next to him staring at him when he woke up with a cat in his face!  She never tired of nap-time and loved those lazy weekend days when I would take a nap in the afternoon.  She loved to sit with me for TV watching, movies or just visiting with friends.  She was content just being with me.

I will miss my sweet kitty.  I already do.  I will treasure the nine years I got to spend with her.

Chemo Kitty Gets Pancreatitis…

I was hoping to have some time tonight to work on my posts on our wonderful weekend in Richland and Walla Walla.  Well, I have time, but sadly, I’m posting about Martini instead – and it’s not a happy update.  Earlier this week she had her bi-weekly chemo bloodwork, and they did an extra panel to test for pancreatitis.  And she does have pancreatitis – I got the call confirming that yesterday afternoon.

So when I went home after work yesterday, she was pretty lethargic.  I plopped her down on a blanket and moved her every time I went to a different room – she just stayed put on the blanket.  Purring, but certainly not herself.  She didn’t even protest much when I did her sub-cutaneous fluids – I got a half-hearted growl when I poked her with the needle, and then she sat there purring.  So, needless to say, I was a bit worried…

This morning she had perked up quite a bit.  She ate some breakfast and was much more energetic.  I went off to work feeling pretty good.  But then I got a text from Jon before he left for work saying she was hiding under the bed and wouldn’t come out.  And Oliver was hanging out under there with her, and wouldn’t leave her (obviously there’s something wrong if he wants to hang with her – she usually spends half her day kicking his butt!).  So, I left work and toted her back to the vet (she did muster enough energy to run when she saw the carrier…).

At the vet, she continued to be lethargic – she didn’t even protest when he stuck the thermometer in her bum.  Tini always protests that!  She has a slight fever, and is really dehydrated, even though she got a lot of fluids just last night!  So, sadly, she gets to stay with ‘Uncle Pete’ for a spa night – IV fluids and supportive therapy.

Maybe if I pretend she's not there, she won't beat me up!

Ollie and Tini on a Better Day.  “Maybe if I pretend she’s not there, she won’t beat me up!”

I wish having old pets didn’t have so many ups and downs.

Chemo Kitty Gets Love and Other Drugs

This week was Martini’s off week in her chemo regimen.  She gets her chemo drugs every other week, and on the off-weeks she goes to see Dr. Kim and get her chemo blood-work and her weigh-in.  Unfortunately, she lost weight again – and is now back down to 6.5 pounds (I’m hoping part of that was due to the fact that she hadn’t had her supplemental fluids Sunday like she usually does – I had done them Saturday instead).

So, I went about the rest of the week, and Tini did ok, and seems to like her new green pea and venison food, but she was pretty grumpy.  Oliver got the brunt of it, but I felt bad because she was clearly feeling out of sorts – she normally doesn’t beat up Oliver constantly.  I was beginning to feel like I needed to referee; she was squabbling with him over and over, and not just at mealtime!  I got the results back later this week, and talked to Kim about the bad attitude when she called.  It seems Martini is now dealing with a case of pancreatitis, and the grumpiness is likely due to the pain associated with it.  So it was off to the vet to pick up supplies – a new painkiller medicine, more green pea and venison, a bag of lactated ringers and IV tubing and needles.  I feel like I’m becoming a pretty well stocked pharmacy!

Oliver Likes Green Pea and Venison Too - Good Thing Tini is Focused or She Would Be Beating Him Up!

Oliver Likes Green Pea and Venison Too – Good Thing Tini is Focused or She Would Be Beating Him Up!

The pain med seems to be taking the edge off her bad attitude, so hopefully peace will return to the house.  I hate that she hurts, and I hate that she can’t tell me.  The good news (I hate that this is good news) is that Kim doesn’t feel that the pancreatitis should get in the way of Monday’s dose of chemo.  She has to have another complete blood panel a week after that, and this time it needs to be a fasting panel – Tini’s not going to like that, and unfortunately Oliver will pay the price!