Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Get Well, Big Guy

I talked to my friend Will Briarwood this morning.

“Sorry I didn’t get back to you the other day. It’s been another hectic month.”

No problem. What’s going on?

“Our cat had another cancer surgery.”

I’m sorry to hear that. How is he doing?

“OK, considering. He had two little lumps, so we took him to the vet, and it turned out that both lumps were cancerous – the vet called them soft tissue sarcomas. So he had to have them both removed, and he’s got two more long scars, to go with the one he got last year. He just got his sutures removed yesterday.”

You and your wife are the best cat owners, Will. I’m sure you’re taking good care of him.

“I hope so. My wife is starting to worry that we’re going to be keeping him alive for selfish reasons, rather than doing what’s best for him.”

How old is he?

“He’ll be nine this year. So, in human years, he’s about the same age we are.”

How is he handling everything?

“As far as we can tell, he’s ok. I mean, he’s clearly uncomfortable, and he’s not happy with the collar he’s been wearing for two weeks. But never for a second did I believe that he wanted us to put him out of his suffering. And the other day he jumped from the one set of steps, up on to our bed, which is about three feet – it was a damned good jump for an overweight, three-legged cat recovering from cancer surgery.”

As I said, I know that you are taking care of him.

“We discussed everything with our vet. He had talked with a couple of veterinary oncologists -- I guess that sometimes they can do radiation treatments for cats, but he didn’t think that our cat was a good candidate.”

Sometimes the cure is worse than the disease.

“And then I find out that the one flavor of cat food that we feed one of the other cats, just got added to the big recall. So I had to return that food to PetSmart today, and now I have to find something else that the one cat will eat.”

I keep meaning to write some letters to the cat food companies about all this.

“I read through the FAQ from the one company, Nutro / MaxCat. It answered some questions, but there are still plenty more to be answered.”

All that’s happening in the world, and we worry most about our cats.

“Because they’re closer to us – physically and emotionally – than the rest of the world.”

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