And so it’s 2015 as of yesterday, but it’s still 2014 for me. As I wrote last year, I despise the month of December and have a very odd relationship with the transitional period from Christmas to the New Year. Some of my favorite people were born in December and January (including my father and brother), and died in January (my brother and my favorite cousin). Yesterday would have been my brother’s 50th birthday, and on Saturday I will have another birthday. I had other family member with birthdays on the 4th and 5th, but for me the end of the year is midnight on the 3rd. That’s when I begin my new year and can breath a sigh of relief that December is truly over and we all made it through.
Sick kitty ‘hiding’ in one of her amazon box forts
However, we haven’t all made it through (again). in early December my 12 year old cat Phoebe completely stopped eating and became very ill, and a week later she had a large tumor removed from her large intestine. And a few days before Christmas the vet called to inform me it was cancerous. But that it did not appear to have spread, and the rest of her blood work and lymph glands look fine. Of course they immediately wanted to shuffle her over to the animal oncologist (because ‘it will return’) however we haven’t gone that route. The vets keep telling me that ‘chemo isn’t nearly as bad for animals’ (umm, how do they know that?). And after having seen the effects of chemo on many close relatives, I have opted out for now.
Spoiled kitty gets to eat on the bed 😉
We spent several weeks after surgery alternately having to confine her so she wouldn’t jump and tear her stitches, make her wear the hated e collar to keep her from licking, and attempting to dose the ‘unpillable’ cat with various meds four times a day. After the first few days I just decided to try and monitor her 24/7 the best I could and leave the e collar off except when she was sleeping. I put her little halter on her and she was remarkably well behaved. (She’s one of those cats that believe they can’t walk if you put any sort of clothing or restraint on them, she becomes all slinky) She’s usually very aggressive about licking and scratching but she was either too weak and/or knew this was something serious she left her wound alone and let it heal. (Good cat)
I had an appointment this morning to meet with them just to ‘have a consultation’, but when they called to confirm it yesterday afternoon I asked (as I did when I made the appointment) do I need to bring Phoebe with me. I already know I don’t want to do it, but I felt obliged to at least speak to them about treatment options. Of course they said I need to bring her so the oncologist can do a ‘complete examination’ (which I specifically asked to not have) so I cancelled the appointment on the grounds that she is still experiencing post surgical stomach upset (which she is) and told them I’ll call back and reschedule later. Which I probably will not.
I was told (and have spent hours researching) that chemotherapy ‘might’ add 2 months to a year to her life. Or she might live that long on her own. But it will still make her miserable and sick, and she’ll have to see the vet regularly (any confinement or car travel is very traumatic for her), so no. She’s supposedly not in any pain, and is gaining her weight back and eating well and acting like her old self again. So I am choosing to spoil her rotten (as best as one can spoil a cat that is allergic to most foods), and let her live out the rest of her life at home with me in peace. She has always been an indoor cat and we rarely even took her to the vet when I lived in Houston because she was never exposed to other animals.
She is the first cat I’ve ever had that’s primarily ‘my’ cat, and now I realize that her ‘slowing down’ was not just old age, it was illness so I know what to watch for in her for the future. I’ve always had dogs before and while 12 is old for a dog, it’s not that old for cats. Especially for a Burmese cat, who usually have longer lifespans than other cats.
Post op keeping her shaved tummy warm on the stereo receiver
So I’m hoping this time next year I’ll still be posting photos to her website and uploading cell phone pics of her cuteness and funny antics to instagram. For now, we’re both relishing our time together even more than usual, she’s been sleeping on top of me each morning when I go to bed (instead of beside me, though she has slept on top of me many times before), and (as always) she keeps me company when I’m working at the computer each night. Burmese are known as ‘dog cats’ because they behave more like dogs than cats, following their parents around, retrieving thrown items… She has a comfy heated bed on my desk (though she often naps on top of the warm stereo receiver instead, lol), and I’ve put her food bowl on the desk and her appetite seems quite normal.
Here’s to a happy, healthy, prosperous and safe 2015 for all. And uneventful would be nice. I’ll address that in my next post, as boring as it sounds, I’d love a year of just peace and quiet for a change.