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Cats Get Cancer Just Like People and it's Devastating

Linda has always had a love for cats and has been the proud mama of several special fur babies.

Leo and Lucy as Tiny Kittens

My fur babies playing when they were babies.

My fur babies playing when they were babies.

Kittens a Pair of Trouble

In May of 2016 I got a call from my son saying he had found a tiny male kitten & sent me a photo. He was so cute that even though I was hesitate to take a male kitten I said to bring him to my house. Well my son has a great knack for finding lost kittens so when his girlfriend showed up with what was supposed to be one kitten, instead there were two kittens. A brother and a sister. They were so tiny they fit in the palm of your hand and hungry. Lucy you could feel her little bones. Leo was so small that as soon as they were set on the floor, he slipped out to the kitchen and flattened himself so small that he was able to slip under the stove.

Well of course I couldn't possibly separate the two of them so I took both of them. I should say I fell in love with both of them. But I did put them in a small area where they couldn't hide and at night I put them in a large cat carrier. They still had plenty of room to run and a few steps to run up and down. The first morning Leo knew what to do with the litter box and by the second morning Lucy knew what to do.

Lucy And Leo Get A Bit Bigger

Leo and his sister Lucy not long after I adopted them

Leo and his sister Lucy not long after I adopted them

Leo and Lucy Grown Up

In no time at all they became big enough and familiar enough with my house that they could be left in any room and I didn't need to worry about them hiding, although Lucy did become a hider if anyone she didn't know came to the house. I began to call Lucy my cat alarm. If she was on the back of the couch looking out the window and anyone came on my porch she would tear off and hide so that I knew someone was coming. Even if people parked across the street, she would hide.

These two kittens became so much fun. Lucy in particular was very good at getting into trouble. Lucy would walk around tables she could reach on her hind paws and pull things off the table. One day I had a cup of chocolate milk sitting on a small table and Lucy managed to grab it and chocolate milk went everywhere. Both of them loved to play and would bring me one of their toys so I would toss it and they would bring it back. Leo sort of outgrew that but Lucy still loved to do that until she got sick.

Lucy on the Shelf

No elf on a shelf at my house but I have Lucy on a shelf

No elf on a shelf at my house but I have Lucy on a shelf

Bad News Lucy Has Cancer

In late July and early August of 2019 I began to notice a slight change in Lucy. I found a lump on her spine and she would squall like she was hurt when she was roughhousing with Leo. They did love to chase each other and wrestle together. But now that seemed to hurt Lucy.

So I scheduled an appointment with the veterinarian to have her examined even though it hurt my finances. After examining her the veterinarian gave me the worst news possible. Lucy had sarcoma soft tissue cancer. I was devastated because Lucy was only about four years old. I just couldn't understand that.

Surgery For Lucy

I took Lucy for her surgery immediately and they removed the lump. I was told they thought they got it all but that usually sarcoma ends up being fatal. But I was hopeful. Lucy came right back from her surgery. She wanted to tear through the house like she always did but she was supposed to be kept in a quiet area so I had a large dog box that worked very well for that purpose. I also bought her newborn baby clothes which the vet had recommended and they fit her to keep her from scratching open her stitches. But that little Lucy could work her way right out of those baby outfits.

Lucy Playing After Surgery

Lucy in her baby outfit following her surgery

Lucy in her baby outfit following her surgery

Cancer Strikes Again

Just a little over a year after her surgery I started to notice the same symptoms with Lucy again. By then the virus was closing everything down and it was hard to get an appointment with the vet. When I did manage to get her back to the vets she had a lump in the same place only bigger. The sarcoma had returned and this time it was larger and I was told it had roots. Surgery was a possibly again but I felt that if the cancer had roots there probably wasn't much hope of getting it all the second time and the vet agreed with me.

Symptoms of Sarcoma

Sarcoma is tumors involving connective muscle or nerve tissues. Likely places that sarcoma form are on the chest, back of the spine as in Lucy's case but also sometimes on their sides, backs and sometimes even their faces.

Symptoms can include the following

  • A lump or a mass
  • Vomiting
  • Trouble with urination
  • Difficulty in moving
  • Pain and squalling when picked up

Treatment for Sarcoma

Treatment for sarcoma can include

  • Surgery removing lumps
  • Radiation can be successful but expensive

For Lucy we did the surgery but the cancer came back. Now she is being treated with a steroid pill every day to reduce the swelling. It seems to be working for now. The lump has not gotten bigger and she doesn't seem to be in pain although she will growl and carry on when she has to take her medicine. Did I mention that Lucy has a temper? There are also pain pills if she seems to be in pain but for right now she is holding her own and she is no longer vomiting. She has not lost weight and is eating and drinking like always. So all I can do now is to love her and enjoy every day we have left together.

Lucy Loses Her Battle With Cancer

On May 4, 2021 I had to make the extremely painful decision to let Lucy go. By that time the cancer had grown so that she was unable to walk. But she did scoot herself around on the floor wherever she wanted to go. She remained very loving and alert right up to the end. But finally her organs gave out and I had no choice but to let her go. Right up to the trip to the veterinarian she was still very curious about everything on the way. She even tried getting out of the box.

Five months later and I still miss her every single day.

© 2020 L.M. Hosler