It happens when you’re going about your usual day, maybe you’ve taken a friend or family member to the doctor or the kids to school. You get started with your day, checking emails, doing your work, maybe you’re so tired and tossing up whether to go back to bed or just catch up on a tv show.
Then you get a call. A call you might start calling “The Call”.
Recently, I got that call. After a few months of what looked like furballs then sensitivity to changing food, I was expecting a progress call from the vet after admitting my Furry Partner In Crime for an ultrasound. The call I got wasn’t what I expected.
There was inflammation. Okay, I’ve got that, I can deal with that in my cat and wasn’t a real surprise after the obvious upset her stomach always seemed to have.
No, this inflammation was localised to a particular spot. That’s not good at all. That’s a sign of something worse.
No, don’t say it.
No. She said it.
It’s cancer. Just under her stomach at the start of her intestine. Not that common in cats but obvious enough to be that word.
I was asked if I wanted to get a biopsy done and time to think about it. The biopsy would determine it’s cancer and what time of cancer, which would give us either an estimated time she has left or cancer removal and subsequent treatment. At a phenomenal amount, it pained me to say no. I barely have enough for myself on a disability, let alone $1000-2000 for her. I asked the vet when I went to pick her up if we can try to treat the inflammation and at least get her eating, putting on weight and better immune health and he thought it was a great alternative plan.
So that’s been the plan for almost two months now. She has a few small meals a day followed by half of an antibiotic. She doesn’t really eat dry food but is on better wet food that gives her the nutrients she needs. I sprinkle in some multivitamin-y thing that she hates but I hope she has enough. It’s tiring and tedious, and I don’t know if it’ll work a little bit, a lot or at all, but I’m trying with everything I have.
She hasn’t gone in for a checkup yet but she’s eating, acting like her normal self and still going to the litter which is great, and it does look and feel like she’s put on weight which is even better.
For some people it must sound ridiculous that I’m talking about my cat like it’s a human being. No, she’s better than a human in my eyes; people are tiring and annoying and hard to read and talk to at the best of times. With her I grumble and argue with her about flinging food everywhere, peeing outside the damn kitty litter when she misses (which is at least once a week) and sigh when she goes out only to scratch to come back in only to scratch to go out only to scratch to come back in. She is a handful and I’ve never had to deal with a cat that’s wanted to be around me so much that she reminds me of clingy people. However, with saying all that, I love her. The love I have to give goes to her, and at the end of the day when we do our ritual of sitting on the couch to watch tv, she’s excited to come and have her pets next to me and sleep right at my side. When I’m anxious or sad she comes to me, reminding me that I have her to talk to her to say absolutely nothing to.
No, she isn’t a human, but she’s so much more and so much better.
I don’t look after anyone else. I don’t have kids, not even sick or elderly parents to look after. I just have to care for myself and this cat. This creature relies on me for her life and has taught me how to care for something else outside of myself.
Since I didn’t get the biopsy for her, I don’t know her cancer, although both vets are confident that cancer in that area in cats is malignant and she might not have long at all. I don’t have money to get other opinions with more ultrasounds, let alone a biopsy and maybe cancer treatment. I do have some time, though. I have time to try a few things and give her cuddles – whether she likes it or not.