A Hard Lesson Learned

For nine years I lived with a beautiful tuxedo Turkish Angora named Angel. She was bright, lively and mischievous. Angel reminded me of Mae West in a black fur coat. She was fixed before she was six months old. I knew there were benefits to the operation, one of which was that she would not have the specter of breast cancer hanging over her head. The operation would save her from that.

Or so I thought.

Three months after her 9th birthday I noticed that there was a growth coming out of Angel’s anus. I took her to the vet. He wasn’t all that worried. He told he it was more than likely hemorrhoids. He snapped on his rubber gloves and figured all he had to do was push it back in and we’d be good to go. I was in the exam room. Angel was so upset she had to be sedated. The doctor began the examination, and I had a bad feeling when I saw him frown. He pressed down on Angel’s sides, and then he told me it wasn’t hemorrhoids, the growth extended halfway through her body. He took a tissue sample, said he’d send it to the lab. When I asked him what he thought the growth was he said “squamous carcinoma.” Turns out that was just a fancy name for breast cancer.

If I’d known then what I know now I would have told him “Don’t let her wake up.” Instead I allowed Angel to regain consciousness and took her home with me. Somehow I fooled myself into thinking she would get better. She seemed to rally for a couple of days and was her old self, greeting me at the door when I came home from work.  She died the following Friday. I had her cremated the week after.

In the next five years I had to euthanize two more cats, both males. First Rocky, 15 months old, and then years later Coyote, 11 months old. They both blocked up completely. They were so small down there the vet did not have catheters small enough for them. The diagnosis for both was grim: even if they could be unblocked they would block again. It wasn’t a matter of if, but when. It’s highly unusual for male cats to block up completely at that young age. The vet suspected birth defects. I made the decision to end their suffering.

When it’s Samirah’s time I’m not going to let her suffer. I’ve already decided that I will have her euthanized at home. She hates the vet and cab rides. She’s in very good health now, but you never know. I have provided the very best care for her and all my cats, but it’s all a crap shoot. It’s best to love our furry companions and let them go when it’s time.

By Anonymous

From Michael (Admin). Thanks a lot for taking the time to write this article. It is absorbing. I love personal stories.

If anyone else wants to share their personal experiences in an article rather than a comment please tell us using the form below. The comments are below the form.


6 thoughts on “A Hard Lesson Learned”

  1. Odd and confusing for me.

    This must have occurred long, long ago…

    These days, dilation of both orifices is possible with the proper equipment. Surgical procedures can correct defects. If not, indwelling apparatuses aren’t common but possible.

    I had 2 cats over the years (both male) that could not urinate, only dribble. The cause was calculi (stones). Males are more prone and problematic because they have lengthy urethras.

    No intent to add to the pain of this. But, it confirms that second opinions are often necessary in my thinking.

    • Michael, I was so naive at the time that I thought they could give the cat meds to dissolve the blockage. I was wrong.

      I started not to write this article, but I’m glad I did. I had a hard time writing it, and I see that I didn’t explain one part properly. The doctors did think that Rocky and Coyote could be unblocked. That was before they took the X-rays. Their urethras were not straight, they were twisted and tangled up, like a small handful of wet, cooked spaghetti.

      I made the right decision.

    • Dee, just because the vets in your area know about those procedures does not mean that the vets in my area do. I miss my boys, but I refuse to beat myself up for the decisions I made. Coyote died in 2009. Rocky passed over 5 years before. You were lucky with your cats. Sounds like they had normal plumbing.

      I had a hard time writing that article. I’m glad I did, but I see I left out one detail: the x-rays for both cats showed that their urethra were twisted and tangled, like wet, cooked spaghetti. The normal straight urethra is vastly different from one that is deformed. The vets had never seen anything like it. I’ve heard it all over the years, about surgery, this procedure and that, the special food, and I remain convinced that a second opinion would have only confirmed the first.

  2. Thanks a lot for this. It is interesting and upsetting of course. The Rocky and Coyote euthanasias must have been more tricky. The decision was based on an unfixable birth defect that would cause suffering for the remainder of the cats’ lives. I think you made the correct decision.

    I wonder how it would have been dealt with if a human had the same problem.


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