I can't believe I just noticed it today. Can I be so blind? Or worse, can it have come up so quickly? All of a sudden I saw it and was shocked: a huge lump of wrongness on the right side of my orange tabby Lionel, just behind his shoulder. My first thought was that he had broken or dislocated something and it was sticking out; but when I touched it, he didn't act as though it hurt him.
I immediately called the emergency animal hospital in Kirkwood and rushed him there for an examination. The nurse said it might just be an abcess, from being bitten by my other cat in a bit of play gone out of hand. But the doctor didn't think it was an abcess. He felt the growth, then shaved part of Lionel's side and drew some fluid out of it, finally delivered the scary news: it looks like a tumor, and by the shape of it, most likely cancer.
My poor little Lionel!
We have been together just over five years. I bought him from the humane society in Yuma, Arizona, mainly to be a playmate for Tyrone. They've turned out quite the pair. We have moved houses together three times. We have moved halfway across the country together. We have cuddled together in the pitch-dark cabin of a U-haul on a lonely stretch of New Mexico highway. We have cuddled in my warm bed, where he likes to stretch out on top of me and nibble affectionately on my beard. And now he has to go through this.
We're going to our regular vet on Monday. He will probably go through surgery to have this growth removed. If the surgery goes well, and they get all of it out, he may be fine. If it looks like the cancer will come back, the only options will be chemotherapy, radiotherapy...or the long sleep. It would be hard to say goodbye to my lively and affectionate companion. But seriously, I can't afford chemo & radiation treatments for a cat. And I don't think he needs to suffer through all that. I haven't made a decision yet, but I am bracing myself for it, if it comes to that. What a bummer!