Monday, May 18, 2009

Kitty Hospice

We found out Thursday that our cat Ambien has cancer. I noticed a little over a week ago that she has lost a lot of weight. I had noticed over the last month or so that she seemed to be sleeping more than usual and that she wasn't sleeping with me at night as often as she had been. She goes in cycles with that though, and tends to not sleep with me as it gets warmer out, so it didn't raise a huge red flag for me.

Then one day I picked her up, which I don't usually do because she doesn't like it, and I realized that she felt like fur and air, and not much more. And I cried. Because I knew right then something was wrong.

The vet did blood work and sent me home with some cans of food to try and orders to spoil her rotten and do what ever I could to get her to eat. The next day she called and said her blood work was all normal, which was odd, considering how much weight she had lost. So we decided to give her a few days to see if I could get her to eat. I did that, and she really wasn't eating, so I took her in for an ultrasound Thursday to see if there was something going on in her abdomen.

And there is. They found several masses on her liver, and another further back in her abdomen. She has some fluid in her belly as well. Its not clear what the masses are, but the most likely scenario by far is cancer (probably mets from another site). We could have the mass aspirated and biopsied, but it won't change the course of treatment, because we won't subject her to chemotherapy. I just can't justify making her life miserable for a treatment that probably won't prolong her life for long, because the chance that it is a treatable cancer is pretty slim. There is more involved in the decision, but ultimately it doesn't look good. Having a husband whose specialty is oncology has certainly made understanding all of this easier, and it allows us to view it a little more clinically I guess.

The vet gave her a corticosteroid shot on Friday and subcutaneous fluids and we were told to bring her back on Saturday for more fluids if she responded positively. Well, she has perked up quite a bit and has been more social this weekend than she has been for a few weeks. She still isn't eating much though. The vet thinks she may have a partial obstruction somewhere which is making her nauseous, thus her lack of interest in food.

Last week I went to the store and bought twenty cans of cat food. I basically have every brand and flavor the store had. None of them has really excited her. Some she hasn't even tasted. Some are so smelly I can't imagine she would even want to. She doesn't seem to be much of a seafood lover (like her mommy). The most excitement she has shown is over some of the chunky ones with gravy, although all she did was lick the gravy. She doesn't seem to be a fan of the flaky ones. Can I just say that the flavors of some of these sound better than what I eat most days. Fancy stuff! Stell and Rhone are eating like kings, let me tell you. Ambien however, rarely more than a few bites of any of them.

Since the fluids are making a difference the vet tech showed me how to give them to her. Tonight Rich and I gave her 150 mL's of lactated ringers in the skin under her neck. She's a good girl and made it easy on us.

If we can't get her to eat though, she isn't going to be long for this world. The vet said that with fluids she'll make it a few weeks, but gradually she'll just become less and less "alive." I can't think about that too deeply or I break down. Just typing this I'm tearing up. As soon as I stop thinking clinically I lose it.

She's my little girl. Has been since I brought her home 14 years ago. This really sucks, and I'm not sure how I'm going to get through it.


  1. I've had an all white cat. I've had a calico with liver cancer. The vet was so sweet - "you can help make her an angel today" I appreciated that approach. Hallmark makes no cards for this - and that sucks.

  2. Actually - When our dog Sadie passed away last year a friend sent me a sympathy card for pets - so someone out there DOES make them. Sorry for all you're going through, we just did this with our 19 year old Calico, Layla, in February, so I know what you're feeling. (Our vet actually sent us a sympathy card both times). Sometimes it helps to think about what a fabulously pampered life you've given them. I know you, and she just couldn't have had it any better anywhere else. Laura

  3. I am so SO sorry. I went through the same with my cat Sadie. She passed at home in January, and it was the worst day of my entire life.

    Knowing that we gave her the most spoiled life and the best in medical care gave me comfort that we had done the best we could to give her the best life possible. Our vet sent a sympathy card and made a donation to a university for Sadie, too.

  4. I am so sorry. I just had to put my 20 year old cat down last week due to cancer, so I know how you feel right now. I will keep you all in my thoughts!

  5. I'm so sorry. Ambien is a beautiful kitty.

  6. I'm so, so sorry. My heart breaks for you.

  7. I'm so sorry. She's a beautiful cat, and sounds like a wonderful friend.

  8. I'm so sorry, she really is a beautiful cat.

  9. What a beautiful cat! I am so sorry to hear about what you are going through. I have two very high maintenance cats (one is obese and one is bulimic...go figure).
    I hope that you get to spend as much quality time with her while she is still with you!!!

    Many Blessings:)

  10. I am so sorry, my heart goes out to you. Pets are family! My grandma's cat had feline leukemia and the ONLY thing she would eat was these little kitty treats called Pounce. Our vet said to give her as many as she wanted. Unfortunately, she didn't live very long after being diagnosed.

    Enjoy the rest of your time with your beautiful friend!

    Many blessings!