Friday, August 29, 2008

my cat Travis has cancer


My cat Travis is not doing well.

He was diagnosed 2 weeks ago with Squamous
Cell Carcinoma.........

I then was referred to take him to OSU for a
CT Scan, which confirmed the diagnosis, and
also that he has limited time. Could be days,
could be weeks. Could be months, but at some
point along the way, subject to progression,
his quality of life will deteriorate significantly.

I've been reading other people's experience
with this online (reading too much of it, as it's
really depressing), and they all struggle with the
"proper time" to let their cat go humanely.
Some had 4 - 6 months with their cat after
diagnosis. Many had 2 weeks tops. It's been
17 days since his diagnosis.

The biggest problem at this point, is that he
has not acted sick. He looks and acts mostly
normal, except that he does have trouble
chewing the hard cat food. But he refuses to
eat the canned soft food.

He's been in and out of my Vet severak times,
as well as to OSU (Oklahoma State University),
so he's a bit skittish, as he is afraid he's going
to be hauled off somewhere else for a few
days when I approach him. He's on a good
painkiller. He had started some howling he
did not do before in the middle of the night,
and has been drooling a bit, which are both
classic signs.

They did say there were a few options. One
would be to remove his whole right jaw. This
would then lead to needing a feeding tube, his
drooling all the time, and problems with
drinking water. It does not leave him in a good
quality of life.

Another would be to have that same surgery,
but then also have radiation treatment up at the
University Of Missouri, since OSU does not have
the proper facilities for that. Again, no guarantee
it would prolong him very long, and the surgery
would leave him with the need for a feeding
tube, etc. I can not see putting him through that
at this point.

If Travis were very young, decisions would be
easier. But he is 17, and that's getting up there
for a cat. I read recently that many house cats live
to be 15, so he's exceeded that already. However,
that same cat magazine, had a photo contest of
cats over the age of 20, with one even being 30 !
But I'm sure a lot of that is genetic.

I do have 2 other cats along with Travis. They
are doing well, but are also in the 16 - 17 age
range. They could still live years, but only time
will tell. I had Travis before I got them, though
only by several months, so therefore he's more
of the elder cat of the household. He's been
the only boy out of what was once 6 cats in the
house, so he's always stood out as special.

I do not want to lose him, but it is inevitable.
I do not want him to suffer, yet I don't want to
let go too early. That is the worst part of all of
this. When is the "correct time" ?? The last 3
cats I've had pass away, did so naturally, and
somewhat quicker, with no choice, etc. I've not
had to make this decision.

Travis has never been much of a purring cat.
However, recently, as he lay up against me
watching TV, he was purring. Perhaps that's
a sign to tell me, "Dad, it's been a great life, and
I know you'll do what's right, when it's time.
It's OK."