by Kathleen W.
Paw in healthier times
Our cat, Paw, was a big, gregarious, ridiculously happy cat, but not very bright. In November, about two months before his ninth birthday, I added canned cat food to our cats' diet. Our female was almost fourteen and had lost some teeth, so I wanted to make sure everyone was getting enough to eat. Paw gained about a pound, bringing him up to about fourteen pounds. I attributed this to the soft food, and cut back on his allowance. He settled back in at his normal weight, and I thought the issue was resolved.
He started losing weight very slowly, almost imperceptibly at first. After about four months, it was becoming noticeable. We took him to the vet, who diagnosed him as diabetic. The vet also found an object in his belly, which was most likely a 'floating' kidney.
We dutifully gave Paw his pill every day, finding it better to just make him swallow it than try to hide it in his food.
Paw continued to lose weight. We took him to another vet for a second opinion. The new vet agreed with the first, but found the mass in Paw's belly had grown significantly. He told us we could go to the city for expensive and drastic treatment, but still end up with no cat. He advised us to take Paw home and make him as comfortable as possible.
He slowed down as time went on, and wasn't as chipper as before on some days. By July, he appeared to be below five pounds. He was still very affectionate and loved to be held.
One day, I got up, and he was acting like his old self. He climbed up on my shoulder, which he hadn't done in months (imagine a joyous thirteen-pound cat on your shoulder!). I thought to myself that I should hold him a while longer and cuddle him. I set him down and went back to bed. About two hours later, someone came in and told me it was time to go to the vet's. Paw was having seizures. He didn't remember them and didn't seem to be in any pain. The seizures were 'resetting' his brain, and he had forgotten that he was sick.
Our regular vet's office was closed. We had to go to another office, where they took him in back and basically asked us if we had been starving him,. They wanted to try to save him. I told them about the tumor, and after twenty minutes of him being left in an exam room, they brought him out and got around to what had to be done. I know we could have let him die at home. He wasn't in any pain, but it was heartbreaking to watch him having seizures every three minutes or so. I just wanted to make sure it didn't get any worse.
I wanted to hold him, but the vet had him sit on a table. I looked into his eyes and didn't see any difference, but after a moment he was gone.
I don't know if there was any way of treating his tumor, or any other course of action we could have taken, but I feel confident that he was fairly happy in his last few months. All I can say is, watch your pets for any changes, and have them checked out.
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