Monday, October 29, 2007

Cat Cancer Update

Thanks for your concern about Lionel. I have a little more news to share on his condition.

On Saturday night, after I brought Lionel home from the emergency pet hospital, I noticed that he and Tyrone hissed at each other every time they came near each other. This was unusual, since they have hardly hissed in five years, except when I have stepped on their tails.

On thinking back, I remembered that they had hissed at each other during their more than ordinarily rambunctious play-time on Saturday. They had also been knocking over more things than usual, the type of things that make a loud noise when they fall down. Tyrone, for example, had knocked the lamp off my piano on Saturday afternoon, taking a pile of sheet music down with it. I was very annoyed. It never occurred to me then that Tyrone might have been telling me: "Pay attention, butthead! Something isn't right!"

Lionel took treats from my hand on Saturday night. I had to remove Tyrone from the room because he was competing so ruthlessly for my attention. He has always been competitive like that, but until Saturday it had never prevented Lionel from getting his share of the treats. I tried to trick Lionel into eating an antibiotic tablet, but he wasn't buying. I managed to stick it down his throat somehow.

The rest of the night Lionel was withdrawn, often hiding in the closet or under the furniture. The only way I can prevent him from opening the closets in this place is to take the rolling doors off their tracks - but that prevents me from getting in as well. So I am resigned to letting Lionel hide in the closet if he wants to. He never tried to cuddle me in bed. The closest he would come was a spot on the floor a few feet away. Tyrone, on the other hand, never left me alone all night. Talk about competition!

Sunday the hissing phase passed, but Lionel was still withdrawn. The only new thing was that he wouldn't let me give him his antibiotic pill at bedtime. That's one cat who knows how to put up a fight. When he doesn't want you to put something in his mouth, forget it. So, reluctantly, I forgot it.

On doctor's orders, I took away the cats' food and water at midnight, in case Lionel would have to be operated on.

At ten minutes to 9 (the time my vet's office opens) I rounded up Lionel to put him in his carrying kennel. Usually that's almost as hard to do as giving him a pill. This time he was very easy to catch, and hardly put up any struggle at all. But then he vomited inside the kennel, empty stomach or no. I let him out, cleaned up the sick, and rounded him up again. He put up even less of a fight that time. He cried on the way to the vet's office.

At the St. Louis Cat Clinic, Lionel perked up a little. Instead of huddling in a ball on my lap with his face tucked under my arm, as he had at the hospital on Saturday night, he stood up and walked around and took an interest in his surroundings. But, his fever had gone up from 103.6 to 104-something (the normal temperature for a cat is 101-something). One sick kitty.

Dr. Freesh was reluctant to buy the hospital doctor's theory about "fibroid sarcoma," a type of cancer that can develop at the site of vaccine injections. For one, the lump wasn't in the area where she has given Lionel his shots. For two, fever isn't consistent with sarcoma. She thought an infection was more likely, but that wouldn't explain the hard mass or the fact blood pulled out of the cyst rather than pus. Anyway, Dr. Freesh took a sample and made some slides and sent them to a lab for analysis. They held onto Lionel while I went home for a while.

By and by Dr. Freesh called again. She had decided it probably was a tumor, but not a sarcoma. It might be lymphatic cancer. When the lab gives her more information, she will tell me. Then she will have a specialist advise me about the options.

I brought Lionel home from the clinic after the doctor called. I had put down food and water by then, and by the amount that he drank I would say he was very happy about that. It seems cruel that he couldn't drink any cooling water for better than half a day, while burning up with fever. Anyway, he's had his pill (at the doctor's office), he seems comfortable, and he's getting along with Tyrone now, so things could be worse.

Preemptive guilt dept.: At the vet's office they had four really cute kittens on display. I looked at them thoughtfully while I was checking Lionel out of the clinic.

Update dept.: Dr. Freesh just phoned while I was finishing up this post. She said the guy at the lab had been waylaid and was just getting in. And she's going home, so she won't be around when the test results come in. So I won't learn any more until tomorrow morning.

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