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The stumbly tale of a rockin' old cat

Rear leg may be gone but he doesn't half-ass it.

The stumbly tale of a rockin' old cat

Peace out, homie.

December 3rd, 2012 · 4 Comments · Uncategorized

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So…it happened.

Xerox passed away tonight.

The prednisone wasn’t helping, he stopped eating, and in the end, the cancer got him before I could gather the courage to put him down.

He died at home, in my arms. It wasn’t peaceful. It was ugly and scary, but it was quick. I like to think he went feeling my hands pet him and I hope that helped.

I’m still glad I took his leg. He had some good times, even with the recovery. My only regret is that I didn’t have more time with him afterwards.

Thank you all for all of the kind words, advice and understanding. You have all made this past month a lot easier to get through.

I’ll leave this blog up – hopefully someone will find its contents useful.

Xoxox, Sandra


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Hold up…something’s missing…

November 28th, 2012 · 3 Comments · Uncategorized

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…oh yeah. A LEG! And about a dozen updates!

But seriously…you know those teen movies where the parents come home and look everywhere for something…anything…out of place? A beer bottle? A broken vase? A missing Fabergé egg?  That was me today.

There’s a CRACK in my crystal egg!

Day 5 = Day one of Xerox flying solo. It KILLED me to leave him alone this morning and go in to work (although after 4 days in the house I was more than ready for human interaction).

I woke  up earlier than usual so I could have plenty of time to give him his antibiotics (which entails cutting the pill in half and squishing it into a moist Whisker Lickens treatie so he has no idea what he’s gobbling down – greedy kitty doesn’t chew, heh heh), clean his stitches, and move his heating pad downstairs for the day.

Taking the pill was easy peasy. Cleaning the wound was a whole other fight. Apparently the site has become so tender (aka meds have worn off so much) that it hurts to clean no matter how gentle I try to be. Not having any Neosporin on there doesn’t help matters either. I managed to get through it with only a couple of hundred complaints from him though (mostly whining and flinching) and only one attempt to get up off of the towel I had him laid out on and take off my hand (eye for an eye!)

Then I oozed on the Vitamin E oil. I was surprised at how thick and easy to apply it was. I was expecting a slick, runny mess (hence the towel), but it was cake AND it didn’t annoy him as much as applying the Neosporin did, so Yay!  🙂

Finally it came time to move him downstairs. Yeah…that didn’t happen. He just looked so comfy and peaceful that I couldn’t bear to move him! So I didn’t. I left him right there on his heating pad on the bed. (Don’t worry – It’s one of those weaker ones that only turns on when there’s weight on it)

Paintz me like one of your French Grrlz!

About 10 hours later (long day!) I come home and find him – guess where? – Right where I left him. No stitches were pulled. No signs of further trauma. No cracks in the crystal egg.

He was even in a good enough mood to rub his face against my hand for a scratch.  🙂 Yay, only mild misery! (OMG, I just realized I’ve hobbled my cat like uber-crazy-fan-girl Cathy Bates!)

I rewarded him by leaving him be and myself with sushi for dinner and Thanksgiving shopping. Did you know that if you go to the grocery store at 9pm on a Monday night, it’s pretty much empty even on Turkey Day Week?  🙂

Okay- now it’s gonna get really lame – like a Cliff’s notes of Xerox’s week. Ready?

Day 5: I went to work a little easier and when I got home he let me clean his incision with Vitamin E oil and really seemed to like it.

Day 6: Improved mood – played a bit, purred and nuzzled for attention which is a happy change from being Mr. Grumpy Pants.

Boop!

Day 7: Grumpy Cat is Grumpy. Good note: He started lying on his stumpy side! Yay!! And treaties transform him into a purry happy cat. Bad note: HE HAS LICKED THE WOUND! All of the dried blood that was there is GONE. It’s much prettier now though and there’s no sign of him tugging at the stitches though so I’m gonna leave him alone.

When my mom (who I affectionately call Ninja Mom) saw him (fam’s in for Turkey Day) she said “He look like he loss weight!” Me: “Yeah…you know how much a leg weighs? He lost about that much.” *I* thought it was funny.  🙂  Also – have you ever tried to make a bed without moving the cat? I did that. I’m freaking David Copperfield over here.  😉 It was like the tablecloth trick, only in reverse. He didn’t even flinch.

Day 8: HAPPY THANKSGIVING! I was sick of Grumpy Cat being grumpy so I picked him up, carried him downstairs and put him in the sun. He was like a whole new cat. Much more active and even a bit lovey. He got a happy treat of turkey with gravy which Fawkes completely ignored (He never goes for treats of any kind – it’s really weird). Afters, both kitties passed out in adorable bliss.

 

After all of that, he went right back to bed but also managed to make a trip to the closet (which he loves for some reason- yes, my cat is a closet case) and got some power petting in (that’s where you start at the head and run both hands down the back and tail progressively faster until your hands are a blur and your cat is a puddle of purr). Overall, a pretty good day.  🙂

(Note: Eating and litters and activity is all in the range of normal and I am one happy tripawd owner)

Day 9: He spent a little more time in the sun but he kept going back to bed so I let him. His incision got a good cleaning again with the warm washcloth which he liked. As soon as I was done he streeettched his legs (what’s left of them anyway- stub wiggle!) and was purring. Then he got dinner and went right back to bed.

Day 10 (Sat): BUSY DAY – Spent the whole day making chili for a party we were having (Carolina/Clemson game! Go Cocks!) so Xerox pretty much stayed in his bed all day. That evening, he wanted to come down but he ended up wandering around avoiding people instead which warranted a pity-closet power pet.  🙂  Poor lil’ guy.  There was also a moment when Fawkes was all up in the basket of choice and I thought there was going to be a showdown (insert whistle here) but Xerox is no match for the big bully so he got to snuggle on the couch with me instead.  🙂

I have stopped using the Vitamin E oil but I’m keeping things clean and the stumpy lump doesn’t seem to be bothering him anymore. I think the stitches are ready to come out.

Day 11: Lazy grumpy cat is grumpy. It’s rainy and gross and cold and he doesn’t want to move off of his heating pad. He did come downstairs and snuggled on the couch with me a little bit, walked around a bit – things seem to be getting back to normal.  🙂

Day 12: Back to work again.  🙁  Not much to report except that he’s a bit grumpier than normal and doesn’t respond much to attention which kind of sucks. Oh! Except that the stictches came out today! YAY! The vet said everything looks really good and they’re going to order me some supplements for his joint health.  🙂

Day 13/14: Sometime Tuesday night, he started making little grunty/groany/whiney noises as he exhaled. This is NOT good. That shadow on the Xray of his lungs is threatening to be a problem I think and I’m terrified of what’s to come. He doesn’t want to leave his pad and when I make him – try to get him out and about – he just whines/groans…not like he’s in pain, but like he’s really annoyed.

His heart is maybe a little fast, but his breathing sounds ok (not rattle-y or panting) – he doesn’t seem to be in pain – nothing on his body seems to hurt when I massage it but there’s something wrong. I was up from 2-3am trying to figure out what it is. 🙁

WEEK TWO:

Seriously? Two weeks after cutting off his leg and just as things were getting to be somewhat normal, I think his lungs are starting to bother him.

Wednesday morning was hopeful – he purred and got closet-power-petting love and I went to work thinking he might be ok. I come home to find him groanier and whinier and his breathing is off just enough to make me start googling everything I can think of.

The oncologist had told me that chemo was pretty much our only option but that it doesn’t really do much for lung cancers that haven’t been removed. I don’t see it as an option at all.

Right now I’m faced with just making him comfortable until it gets to be too much for him. But how long will that be? I’m hoping to pick up some prednisone tomorrow to see if it helps.

Sorry to end this really long update on such a downer. 🙁  Anyone have any tricks to keep a cancer kitty comfy?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Day 4 of rockin’ out with his tripod out

November 18th, 2012 · 5 Comments · Uncategorized

Day 4 is Day 2 without meds and I think Xerox has taken on my philosophy on pain: sleep until it’s gone.

There has been no repeat of yesterday’s freak out (thank goodness) and his appetite is still pretty good but he’s a lot less active. Although, now that I think about it…his activity level is about the same as it was pre-op. I mean…he’s 15-yrs-old.  :/ He’s got this cynical sort of  malaise going on…you know…cat.

Cleaning his wound was a bit of a challenge for the first time today. There was a lot of flinching and whining and “OMG I’m Sorry!”-ing (that last part was me, as if he could tell).

One major milestone (and it was like dropping a stone) this morning: Poooooooo! One hard little nugget made it’s way from his bum and I couldn’t be happier. It took all of my will power to not take a picture and share it on Facebook.

Pain-wise I can tell he’s uncomfortable but I wonder how much worse it is than his super-swollen-omg-it’s-gonna-pop-anyday-run-for-cover foot was. I hate seeing him like this but at least I know that, unlike the foot, this pain will eventually go away.

Today I also learned that Neosporin is NOT good for kittehs. Apparently it has zinc and if he licks too much of it, he’ll get even more sicky-woo than he already is so I’m not going to use that anymore (even though the pain/itch relief I’m sure will be missed).

Another thing I learned today? The smallest dog cone-of-shame that the PetCo employee told me would fit my cat is, in fact, too small. Good thing it doesn’t look like I’ll need it.

As far as licking goes, he still hasn’t gone for the gash. He licks everything else, washes his face and paws and whatnot. My friend (and vet’s daughter/office mgr…let’s call her ‘M’) says grooming is a good sign – it shows he’s trying to be normal and not saying “F-it! I give up!” (insert Eye of the Tiger here)

The hubster found a bottle of Vitamin E oil at Publix which M swears by so I’m going to try a bit of that with some Aquaphor (which the all-powerful Google has told me is OK). When I brave the store tomorrow after work I’ll find some petroleum jelly to use instead just in case.

And there it is…that dreaded 4-lettered word….I have to go back to work tomorrow and end the constant vigil that has been Xerox Watch 2012.

Holy crap I’m not ready.

Notice I said *I’m* not ready. He’s just hunky-dory. He spent the past 2 days sleeping.  As far as he’s concerned, he’ll pass out, wake up and I’ll probably still be in his face checking out his belly-gash. (Cuz’ that’s what it looks like – a big belly gash. So gross.)

I should also mention I have another feline in the fold. Fawkes is a 2 (almost 3)-yr old long haired something-or-another. Manx? Maybe. Whatever he is, he’s a bully but he’s shown almost no interest in Xerox OR his drama since he’s been back from finding out Vader was his father and having his leg light-sabered off. Maybe it’s the smell of the Neosporin or the sheer ugliness of it all, but Fawkes has gone from “Ooh, your butt looks like something I’d like to bite” to “Ew…get away from me leper” which is just fine with Xerox AND me.

Fawkes is the resident kitty slipper for all foot warming needs

One little incident popped up tonight as we all were exercising our glutes by pushing down couch cushions. Fawkes jumped up and in my effort to keep his fat butt from bumping Xerox, my arm bumped his stump instead. His head shot up  and he let out a hiss I haven’t heard since Fawkes first came to live with us almost a year ago. And it was aimed AT FAWKES. Sooooo….I did what any honest person would do and shoved Fawkes off the couch saying “Bad kitty! Aww, poor Xerox! Did mean kitty bump you! Oh, there, there!” (pet,stroke, purr)

Thanks a LOT, Mom.

Now it’s almost bed time and I have to put on my big-grrl panties and leave him alone tomorrow. Oy veh. This is gonna suck.

 

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A Kitty Tail: Xerox rocks…and stumbles…and then falls down.

November 18th, 2012 · 1 Comment · Uncategorized

…but then he got right back up on his 3 legs and hopped back to bed like nothing happened.

(The following is cut/pasted from my 1st forum post, repeated here so that the rest of the blog makes sense.)

Zzzzzzz

Zzzz’s n’ Purrs

 

   Xerox is a 15-year-old European domestic shorthair tabby who loves to snuggle, purr and be held in anyway. In his healthier days he would sleep on my pillow and I would wrap my arm around him like a teddy bear. Sometimes I’d be on my stomach and he’d climb up on my back and give me a purr-massage.  :)   Needless to say, he’s my bebe. haha

 Just after Labor Day weekend, I come home from DragonCon in Atl. to find him limping. In the coming months, his right rear paw began to swell and after plunking down a chunk of change for his biopsy I find out he has a carcinoma in his foot and if we don’t remove his leg, it will just get bigger and bigger and pop his foot like a balloon.

I finally got it done last Wed (Nov.14). He came home that night so high on pain meds (the vet had given him the 1st of 3 Onsior pills), he spun one side like a breakdancer, purring the whole time.

I put him to sleep on a heating pad on my bed and settled in next to him so that if he got up, I did too. it would be my last full night of sleep.

Day One: Thursday

I gave Xerox his first pain pill on the vet’s instruction that morning. He immediately started purring, although that may have been because it was hidden in a treat.  :)   He let me clean his stitches/incision and put Neosporin on it. My vet said it was OK to use either that or Vaseline to keep the wound clean/less itchy. I had also used it on his foot before (after the biopsy) with good results.

He’s already hopping around since he’s basically been on 3 legs since his foot started hurting 2 months ago…although the drugs make him so loopy, to say his balance is off would be an understatement. It was clear that he was hammered. I felt like a drunk sorority girl’s friend (thankfully w/out the holding hair bit – he hasn’t thrown up yet but I think he’s nauseous from the meds).

The first day was odd. He’s quite hilarious and sad at the same time. It was a day of him discovering that he couldn’t lie on his right side, figuring out the litter box, and only getting water because I would squirt it in his mouth with a syringe. He ate pretty well considering…a wet food from the vet for animals in recovery.

I worked from home that day so I carried him downstairs and put him on a bed of blankets by the fireplace. My laptop is set up where I can watch him and make sure he doesn’t go for his stitches. He only licked near the site one time and once I let him know that was a no-no, he didn’t go for it again.

The litterbox is a challenge. He can get in and out OK but he hasn’t quite gotten the stance down and I think he’s using his tail for balance which results in a little bit of a wet foot and tail. (Gross) I have these pet wipes at the ready to clean him up as soon as he gets out (insert servant joke here).

Then the pain meds wore off. He started grunting and moaning a bit. I was worried that the tubes from being intubated during surgery had hurt his throat. Google and a quick talk with my vet assured me this was normal…but it was still hard to hear.

That night I put him back on his heating pad on the bed. He got up about 3-4 times to either eat, go to his litter box, or just change positions, grunting/moaning the whole time. I found a Thermacare heat wrap and put it near his stump (wrapped in the sleeve part of the Snuggie he’s lying on no it’s not directly on his skin) which he seemed to like. I also cleaned/medicated his incision again.

Day Two: Friday

Purrs n’ Tweets

I was so happy to get up and give him his pain meds to end the grunting/moaning. I just wish I had more of them. He again let me clean/medicate his stitches with a q-tip with no complaint but had no interest in getting out of bed so I brought my laptop upstairs to work from home again.

He was not nearly as high/active as he was the day before but I could tell he wasn’t feeling too much either. The grunting stopped and he just relaxed on his heating pad. Bonus: he started drinking on his own and his appetite was picking up too.

Finally around 2 or 3 he wanted to go downstairs so I followed him down and he set up camp by the fireplace again. A couple of times I would catch him licking but it was never near his stitches, thankfully.

Bedtime was similar to day one, but he got up a lot more – to eat, pee, drink – until the pain meds completely wore off and he settled down on the heating pad with another Thermacare on his stump…grunting moaning again but a little less.

Day Three: Saturday

For some reason, at the crack of dawn, Xerox just had to go downstairs so we got up and he took his place by the fire. I didn’t want to leave him unattended but I was exhausted so I passed out on the couch for a few hours. When I got up, I checked his stump and it didn’t look like he had messed with it and he hadn’t moved much so I guess all was well.

This is his first day sans pain meds so I’m keeping a really good eye on him. No grunting/moaning yet which makes me happy and he’s eating/drinking like a champ. Then all hell broke loose.

Walking away from his food bowl, he starts stumbling, tripping and acting like he has roller skates on. He tap dances across the kitchen into the dining room and collapses, letting out a howl that makes him sound like he really does belong on this site – a dog-like howl that (coupled with the spastic scrambling) scared the heck out of me.

I race over to him. He’s lying on his side and I start stroking his fur, trying to cam him and myself down. I massage his legs and then pick him up and put him on his three little feet and he just hops off like nothing happened…back to the fireplace and stays there, napping away.

Meanwhile, I’m freaking out. Is it phantom pain? After reading up on what that’s like, I don’t think so. I wonder if he got a cramp in one of his other legs..the whole ‘using muscles he’s not used to using’ kind of thing. He’s curled up next to me on the couch now (he jumped up here all by himself).

Tomorrow is another day at home but Monday scares me too. I don’t want to leave him alone but I have to go back to work. I have a cone, but he hasn’t needed it thus far. We’ll see I guess…

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