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Discussion Starter #1
I started off telling Ziggy's story in the introduction thread, but I thought it might be better suited here. I'd like to keep a record of what's going on with him and plan to do it by periodically updating this thread.

Ziggy is my 13 year old black & white cat. He's been diagnosed with cancer in his liver & pancreas. The vet said he had anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months left. I was crushed when I got the news a week ago today. He's been my little buddy since he was 2 months old and I'm just crushed by the news. I'm a 43 year old man and I don't think I've ever cried this much. Several times over the past week I've broken down and cried like a baby. I love this little guy that much.

Before this turns totally depressing, I'd like to start from the beginning and tell his story. I picked him up from the Humane Society when he was just a kitten. He wasn't my first choice. There was another one who looked similar who stuck his paw out of the cage at me as I walked up. I liked him but they said he had already been adopted, but there was another one who looked like him. They said his name was Dino and that he was a little shy. I walked over to his cage and saw him crouched down in the back just looking up at me with scared eyes. They pulled him out so we could play a little and I knew right away he would be coming home with me.

The first thing I had to do when I got him home was find a new name. He didn't look like a Dino to me. I found a website that suggested names for cats, scrolled all the way to the bottom and saw the name Ziggy. Somehow it seemed to fit.

Over time, he got over his shyness (at least with me, he always hid whenever anyone else was in the house). He would curl up on my shoulder at night and sleep there with his head against my neck. He loved to play "get the mouse" where I would throw his mouse and he'd bring it back to me. I couldn't pull my clothes out of the dryer without him jumping up on the dryer and climbing on my back when I bent over to pick the clothes up.

The vet I was taking him to always creeped me out a little. He would make weird jokes and just seemed awkward. At the time I was feeding Ziggy a quarter can of food in the morning, a quarter can at night and leaving all the dry food out that he wanted. The vet said this was fine. Only recently did I learn that I had been underfeeding my cat all these years. I still wonder if that may have played some role in his illness. Eventually we stopped going to that vet and went a LONG time before going to another (another thing I'm feeling guilty about).

Over the years, Zig would occasionally stop eating. I assumed he was just being finicky and that he'd eat when he got hungry. He'd vomit on occasion, but I assumed it was a hairball and nothing to worry about. Maybe I should have paid more attention.

Fast forward to February 3rd of this year. Zig basically hadn't touched his food in several days. He had clearly lost weight. I decided it was time to get him checked out.

He weighed in at 8.1 pounds. I actually thought it would be less than that. He was always small for a male cat but he had been up to 9.5 pounds at one point. So they ran some tests and said his thyroid was normal, kidneys were fine, intestines seemed ok, blood work was good, but there were some concerns about his liver and pancreas. We decided to go ahead with an ultrasound, which showed some anomalies (that's how they were described to me).

On the 6th, we decided to try a needle aspirate (not sure if I'm spelling that correctly) but they basically try to get a tissue sample without going through surgery. It came back inconclusive.

On the 9th he had surgery so that samples could be taken for biopsy. The vet said his liver was abnormal and there was some "mineralization" of his pancreas but she said she didn't see any reason to think it was cancer. I was relieved.

On the 15th, as I was walking in to work, the vet called and notified me that the results of the biopsy were in and showed that Ziggy did indeed have cancer. I tried my best to hold it together but had to leave my desk a few times during the day to have a cry. It was horrible hearing that there wasn't much that could be done and he had maybe two months left.

Since then I've been trying to keep him comfortable and making sure he eats. Sometimes I have to help him by syringe feeding him so that he gets enough food. He hated it at first and really fought me but he's settled down and lets me do it. I think he knows I'm trying to help him. As I said in the intro thread, the cancer may get him but there's no way I'm going to let him start a downward spiral from not eating.

Over the past day or so he's gotten his appetite back and has eaten nearly a can and a half on his own. It really makes me feel good to come home and see that he's eaten almost all the food I left for him. He's a little more lively today and even played a little when I dangled a sock in front of him. He's doing well so far. I think this whole thing has been a lot harder on me than it has been on him. I'm trying to enjoy whatever time I have left with him. Hopefully there will be many more good days ahead.
 

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I lost my 16 year old cat Samantha last May to cancer and I know how devastating it is to lose a loved one who been a daily part of your life for so long.
 

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Many good thoughts for you and Ziggy. This must be an incredibly difficult time for both of you.we are here to support you.
 

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My heart goes out to you. We lost our Tiggar to cancer 6 years ago.
At the end my husband had to take her to the vet and make the decision to end her suffering as it was clear the cancer had reached her lungs.
To be honest I think Tiggar had decided for herself it was time to go as she was no longer eating and just lay under the bed.
My husband held her as she was was put to sleep and was sobbing uncontrollably. He had to stay at the vets staff room for nearly an hour before they felt it would be safe for him to drive home he was so upset. They even let him leave by the back door rather than through a waiting room full of people.
He cried on and off for weeks after she was gone so don't fell bad about having a cry, its only natural in the circumstances.
I hope you and Ziggy have many good quality days to look forward to.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks all. It has been difficult. Today I went to the pet store to get him some more food and found myself not wanting to buy too many cans. :sad

Ziggy is hanging in there. He sleeps a lot but he stops by his bowl throughout the day to eat a bit. It really makes me happy to hear him eating. Such a simple thing, but it always makes me smile. He's not showing any signs of pain and he's still fairly agile. He's able to jump up on the bed easily, and our bed is pretty high.

He hasn't vomited in almost a month, coincidentally (or not) that's about the same amount of time since he's eaten any significant amount of dry food. I'll never feed a cat dry food again after some of the things I've read about it. I wish I had learned sooner.

It's been 10 days since the diagnosis, so he's about to enter that "couple of weeks to maybe a month or two" the vet said he had left. At that point we'll just take it one day at a time and I'll make sure I spend some extra time with him each day. I let him know you all were thinking about him.
 

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What a handsome boy Ziggy is all decked out with a white vest....he really looks like he's dressed in a tuxedo.....yes he's definitely a Ziggy and not a Dino!

I hope you have Ziggy for a long time....you never know, he may fool the vet's prognosis. All the best to you and Ziggy.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Ziggy is still doing great and maybe improving a bit. He would always jump up on the bed to get me up when it was time to eat. When he started getting sick in late January, he stopped doing that. That was a major hint to me that something was wrong. I called him my furry alarm clock because he was always there every morning. Well suddenly after a month of not getting me up, the last two days I have been awakened by a paw in the face. It's just a great thing to see a little of his old self returning. I honestly think the syringe feedings coupled with no more dry food have been making a difference. He still doesn't eat much on his own so what I've been doing is taking up whatever he hasn't eaten after a couple of hours and I put that in the syringe and feed it to him. It seems to be making a difference. I honestly don't know if he would still be here if I hadn't learned about assist feeding.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
So it seems for every up, there's a down. My wife called me this afternoon and said he had vomited mucus and was retching pretty heavily. She called the vet and they said that unless he was in distress, there was no reason to bring him in. I guess knowing your cat has been given a death sentence makes you a little more sensitive to every issue. Every time something happens, every time he doesn't eat, every time he sleeps a little too much, I wonder if this is it for him.

And then he seemed fine when I got home. He came running to the front door when I came in and he started meowing for food. Over the next few hours he ate almost half a can of food.

I don't know what to think. Was it a one time thing? He hadn't vomited in about a month before today. It's certainly something I'll need to keep an eye on. He still doesn't appear to be in any pain, but I have to admit this worries me. I don't want him to suffer, but his current condition doesn't warrant having him put to sleep yet. I know that day is coming and, sadly, I've been mentally preparing myself for it for a while now.
 

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I send lots of hugs.

I knew I was going to lose my Sherbert months before I did. I still cried. It is hard to lose a companion after so many years.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
It seems Ziggy may have gained a little weight back. I can't feel his ribcage as well as I could a couple weeks ago. I'm still having to force feed him just about every day since he isn't eating enough on his own, although I'm not really "forcing" him. He just sits there quietly and lets me feed him. He gets a little grumpy and whiny sometimes towards the end when he's starting to get full.

I'm looking for anything I can hang on to as a positive sign and knowing that he put on a little bit of weight, even if it's only a few ounces, is something that makes me pretty happy. He also seems a little more alert and a little less like sleepy old-man cat.

I have noticed that he seems to have a little trouble getting comfortable when he lays down on his blanket. He just looks like his joints might be a little stiff. It doesn't appear serious but it is noticeable. He can still jump up on the bed and doesn't seem to have any problems going up & down the stairs.

Well, that's today's update. He's hanging in there so far, and we're glad he's still with us.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
EAT YOUR FOOD!!!!

He has only eaten a couple small bites of food on his own since Friday night. It's so frustrating. If it wasn't for the syringe feedings I keep doing, he might not be here.

I wonder sometimes if I'm doing the right thing. I'm sure I'll extend his life if I keep forcing food into him, but what kind of life is it if he just wants to lay around napping all the time? Times like this make me think that he might be giving up.

So truly frustrating. :(
 

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Sending you lots of hugs. This is such a difficult time for you. One thing is for sure, Ziggy is lucky to have such a caring owner.
When we realised we were keeping Tiggar going because we couldn't bear to be without her we made the decision to end her pain.
Trust me, if you need to make the decision you will know when the time is right.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks. Every day is a new day. Since my last post about him not eating, he's gobbled down two 5.5 ounce cans on his own. It's nice to get a break from the syringe feedings. Maybe he realized that we don't have to do them when he eats on his own.

I wandered into the Rainbow Bridge section of the site this morning because I realized that by focusing so much on what he is and isn't eating, I have been kinda ignoring the fact that he has a disease that will ultimately take his life. So I went looking for some thoughts and ideas on coping with the impending loss of a pet. I read so many heartbreaking stories that I just broke down and cried. Ziggy seemed to sense something was wrong and climbed up in my lap. Such a good kitty.

He also was never very fond of my wife. He tolerated her but basically ignored her. I guess its because it was just me and him for so long that he felt uncomfortable having someone else in the house. Well last night he climbed up in her lap and took a nap. I thought to myself that maybe it was his way of making amends before he goes and letting her know that she's ok too.

So every day we play "how much did kitty eat" and I wonder how many days he has left. Every day when I leave for work I give him a pat on the head and a scratch under the chin and tell him I love him because I don't know if it will be the last time I get to tell him. Based on how he's acting though, it seems like he's going to stick around a while. As mentioned above, I'll know when it's time, and it's not time yet (which are the exact words I would use whenever he tried to get me up two hours earlier than the alarm). :)

So that's the theme for today's update. "It's not time yet."
 

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What an amazing lad Ziggy is. Good on him for putting up such a good fight !
I really hope you have many happy days left together.
 

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Lucas,

I've been having a difficult time making myself read your thread because I believe I'm going through something similar with my Noddy. Unlike you, though, I haven't had Nods definitively diagnosed. I do suspect, however, that he has some type of cancer - perhaps intestinal lymphoma, or perhaps just IBD. In any event, if it is cancer as I suspect, I would not opt for chemo, so the diagnosis seems moot.

I, too, assist feed Noddy every day to supplement the very small amount that he eats on his own. I also give him subQ fluids twice daily, along with a slew of meds and supplements.

Like your handsome Ziggy, Noddy has good days and bad days. I sooo understand the emotional roller coaster you're on and the inevitable resolution you'd rather not think about. I'm right there with you. The only advice I can offer is to leave the future in the future, and keep your focus on Ziggy today, now, in this moment.

I'm going to go get my chocolate soymilk and toast to our boys. May Ziggy and Noddy have many more good days to come.

Take care,

Laurie
 

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Ziggy looks almost like my Cap'n Jack. I call Jack my useless little butler who looks like a butler but I have to wait on him.

I'm so sorry this. It's hard but just know that whenever and however they go, you provided the best you could for them and it's always better than life at the shelter. Take care.
 
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