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I have an 8 year old male cat that has been losing weight the past few months. I took him into the vet’s office last week and she did some blood work and an xray of his torso - both of which came back fine. Still bothered by the weight loss, she ordered an abdominal ultrasound which was done this past Monday. Unfortunately, the ultrasound revealed masses/lumps in the mesentary lining very near to his intestines. She told me I could either have some fluid aspirated from his tummy to get an accurate diagnosis or do exploratory surgery for a biopsy. She also said that either way would only give me a “name” of what he has (she strongly suspects cancer) and that it would put him through a lot when there is really no cure. She said that she believes he is not suffering at the moment but that what he has is fatal.

This has been EXTREMELY hard for me since I found out all this on Monday. He is, without a doubt, my baby and even though he was spoiled with loving before this, he is getting the king treatment more so lately. I have somewhat come to grips with not having him go through exploratory surgery for a biopsy just to get a "name" for a diagnosis. I would like him to live his remaining days as happy and comfortable as possible. I have somewhat considered chemo but probably more for selfish reasons. I talked with the vet about the option of chemo and she said it "could" work but would only prolong, not cure. I understand that completely. She said he would be poked and prodded several times a week and I should consider whether or not I want to put him through that. Part of me does, part of me doesn't. I almost feel like if I don't, then I'm not giving him all I can give to extend his life. But also if I don't, he can be happy at home without being carted back and forth and live a few months shorter (?) being a happy cat at home. I know if I chose the chemo route, it would only be for my benefit since I am not ready to let go. The emotional part of me wants to hang on as long as I can but it would only be for me - it wouldn't do him any good in the long run. I will have to let go at some point, I know. In my cat’s mind, he has no idea what is happening to him and I want to keep it that way. In his mind he has lived a happy and very much loved life whether it was 8 years, 10 years or 20 years. He'll handle this all just fine - it's me that will be a mess. Just to look at his face breaks my heart but it's also my heart that needs to realize that he won't know anything is wrong with him if I can be strong enough to know when to say when.

Sorry this is long. I would appreciate any advice/insight/comments from anyone who has had to deal with this situation. Thank you.
 

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aww cheese...i'm so sorry...-sniff-

i know this is really hard for you but i think you are looking at it in the right way. the chemo could make him miserable and do you think he wants a year of life being miserable or 8 months being happy? poor guy...and poor you... we are here for you though. talking about it really helps so feel free to drivel on and on... we will all listen and be here for you to lean on. i know it breaks your heart but just try to keep his best interest in mind. and its okay to bawl your brains out when you look at him. he won't understand why, but he'll understand that you're sad and most cats comfort you when you're sad..

again, i'm sorry... and i will wish you the strength you will need to get thru this...

you'll be in my thoughts,
~t
 

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Have you come to any conclusion yet?
There is one thing that I keep in mind - as little suffering as possible in a situation when I know - for certain- that there is no cure. I cannot stand to see an innocent creature suffering.
My best wishes to you and your kitty ...you will be in my thoughts also
 

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Thank you for the kind responses. I have been spoiling my cat with so much love and attention this week. He LOVES to be petted while he's sleeping and it helps me to know that he is happy and content for the time being. It obviously still breaks my heart and I haven't stopped crying since I found out on Monday. I never knew the human body could produce so many tears. *sigh* Then I woke up this morning feeling like I'm getting a cold (scratchy throat, headache). I certainly don't need a cold on top of everything else right now.

Anyhow, yes, I believe I have come to a conclusion. That being to let him be as comfortable as possible without having to go through exploratory surgery for a biopsy followed by chemo. It just seems like too much for him to go through while he is already sick even though he doesn't appear to be. Home is where he really wants to be - I can see it in his eyes every time he is lying down in his favorite spot and purring away.

It's amazing how many people have told me not to let him suffer. I guess I can understand the concern but wow....I'd NEVER let him suffer. He is my sweetie....never ever would he suffer. I can assure everyone of that. I know I will ultimately have to say when but until then he will be spoiled rotten with love and kisses. Yes, I need to be strong when that time comes. This is the hardest thing I've ever had to do.
 

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It is a great relief to hear that you see he is happy at home with you.
I *hope* (I know it is hard) you won't cry that much anymore. I know it gives bad headaches. Just take it one day at a time. We are right here when you need somebody to talk to.
 

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My post got lost! I suggested that a needle biopsy would not be as traumatic. He might not be quite as ill as you are now assuming. I had a Collie with a cancerous tumor on his neck. Although he was a senior citizen he came through the surgery with flying colors and the cancer never returned. He was 12 when he had the surgery and lived several more years. You might not be as fortunate, but at least you'd know what you're dealing with. The vet didn't say it was cancer. I'd want to know.

Of course you wouldn't let him suffer. You would know when the time came. The vet would just verify what you will know in your heart.
 

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Thank you again for your kind responses. I continue to have my "moments" where I cry like a baby. It just breaks my heart that I will have to let go some day. My husband helped me during one of my moments this afternoon by reminding me of how I came to my decision. I can't help but feel like I'm not doing anything and everything I possibly can for my cat but realistically the outcome is going to be the same. I was starting to get second thoughts about exploratory surgery and possibly chemo but my heart needs to remind me that my cat is so perfectly content being at home and being loved like crazy. I don't think I could handle the emotional roller coaster of the surgery, chemo, prolonging, etc. and I don't think my cat could handle it either. I have to keep telling myself that it's his quality of life that is so important right now - more than the quantity. I couldn't bear to see him go through anything that will stress him and possibly make things worse. This is truly the hardest thing I've had to deal with in my life. He is such a SWEET cat and SO loveable.
 
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