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For those of you who don’t already know, Little Man crossed the bridge on Monday. I knew it was coming, but nothing could have really prepared me. He had gotten to the point where he’d have a good day or 2 and then a couple bad days. This last bad day, he still came to greet me in the kitchen. I could tell he was nauseated. He didn’t want to eat. Overnight, he had trouble with the litter box. I had to clean him up. Then, he gave me a look and I just “knew”. I opened the door to the porch and he went outside one last time to lay in the sun. He came in a short while later to nap. That afternoon, he followed me to the kitchen and I offered him salmon with gravy. He ate a little. We petted and loved on him. I picked him up in a fleece blanket and my husband drove us to the vet. We were the last appointment, so it was quiet and private. I held him the entire time. He meowed weakly a few times in the car, but purred the rest of the time. It was peaceful. We got back home as the sun was setting in a beautiful sky. The next day, I planted 3 climbing vines (clemantis) and 3 climbing roses (in the color “salmon”… his favorite treat in his last days) along the fence in the backyard where he liked to watch the birds. Before his tripawd days, he was my great cabinet climber. lol The new plants honor him purrfectly.
His housemates are extra loving towards me right now. His care took a lot of time in these last days, so there’s a big void. I miss him terribly, but I know he’s not sick anymore and he’s at peace.
I think the hardest part of all of this has been knowing that vaccine associated sarcoma (VAS) is a cancer that is born from the love of the owners who cared enough about their pet to make sure they had the recommended vaccines in hopes of keeping them healthy. I’ve learned so much. Little Man was able to help spread awareness and advocate for better vaccine practices. I’ll definitely be carrying on his message.
Thank you all for everything!
Michelle & Angel Little Man
Tripawds is a user-supported community. Thank you for your support!
Hey, y’all… Michelle here. I just wanted to give an update on Little Man. He’s still fighting, but the light in his eyes is not as bright these days. He really gave his mama a scare the other day. After watching him a while, I realized he was constipated and had no appetite. So, I spent 2 days getting his bowels back in order, giving him tasty treats, and spending some extra time spoiling him. He was weak that first day. His meow was just a whisper. Yesterday, he used the litter box and ate. Today, he has his strength back. He’s talking to me and acting like he’s feeling much better. He’s following me every time I go to the kitchen and asks for food. He’s drinking his water. I plan on adding fiber and a hairball supplement daily to help keep things moving. Considering the size of his tumor, it’s possible that this may be a continuing issue if it’s pressing against his intestines. It could also be from not moving around as much. It just made me realize how quickly things can change. I can tell he’s getting tired. I’ve been told that I’ll “know” when it’s time to let him go and that he’ll “tell me”. I think I understand that now.
He’s been such an inspiration to me as I’ve watched him fight the terrible VAS monster. Being a 4 year survivor is a success story in itself. Still, it sure is hard to watch him decline the way he is. He’s a big part of my heart… my hero.
I knew choosing palliative care would be hard…
I just didn’t realize how hard it would be until I actually started having a physical decline. It was subtle at first. Now, I have a mix of good days and bad. Like the last couple days – my siblings have been treating me different. I wasn’t eating much. (I’m starting to lose weight.) I barely groomed. I stayed on the couch. My eyes were dim. Mom picked up on it quikly and set out to perk me up. She treated me to some boiled chicken and a good brushing. She put the other cats in another room for a while, giving me the run of the house and all of her attention. When she saw that I was feeling better yesterday, we went outside! I’ve been an inside only kitty for the last 13 years, so that was big. The breeze was against my face and I had to sniff all the flowers on the porch. It wasn’t long till I was ready to go back in, but I’ve been back to my old self ever since. We know there will be more bad days ahead, but right now the good ones outnumber the bad. The tumor keeps growing. It’s all down my side and down around my belly. I don’t hop around as easily. Mom tears up sometimes, but we’re still making some great memories.
Well, that was an interesting trip…
Mom took me to see the new holistic vet. It turned into an hour and a half drive to get there. I settled down about 30 min into the trip. My tripup friends would love it. The office is in the middle of an amazing dog park! We did the whole exam thing. They were really nice and gentle with me. The vet took her time going over my history. I did so well that she recommended trying acupuncture since I was just laying on the table taking it all in. She said it would help relax me for the ride back home. She was right! Mom never heard a peep out of me all the way home. You can see by the look on my face that I was still pretty laid back after we got back home. lol
The vet agreed that surgery would do more harm than good. I don’t have enough tissue left after my amputation. The first vet took my leg, hip, part of my pelvis, and some of the abdominal wall in order to get clean margins. The last surgery to remove the most recent tumor also resulted in a hernia and repair… which led to a tough, long recovery. Now, there are just too many tumors to remove and not enough of me to go around. The new plan includes keeping me on my omega 3 supplement, adding a Chinese herbal blend to some coconut oil and applying it directly to my tumors (I get an oral dose when I bathe myself), B12, and a supplement designed to reprogram my immune system to help recognize the bad cells. It’s not a cure, but a stronger immune system may help slow the tumor growth and keep me comfortable longer. The vet said that I was, otherwise, strong and healthy. She said she had expected a much different cat before she met me. Over the last few days, I’ve done all the new treatments with no problems. So, we will just have to see how it goes.
It seems so far away. That’s the first available appointment with this new holistic vet that’s a little over an hour away. We thought about just doing a phone consultation, but decided we needed to actually be seen since I have other things going on with my allergies right now, too. I had to back off one of my supplements because we think that may be making me itchy. So, I’m staying on my omegas until it’s time to try something different. In the meantime, I’ll stop in to see my primary vet. That’ll give me a chance to take a trip just to visit… maybe I’ll be more relaxed for the longer ride coming up next month with a couple trial runs? We’ve been using those calming plug-ins around the house that really help. We have the spray for the car and carrier. Hopefully, it’ll be worth the trip.
Ever since my last surgery 8 months ago, my “little” sister has been by my side. This is Sweet Kitty and our spot on the couch. Even though I act like nothing’s wrong, I guess she knows something’s not right. She’s spending more and more time by my side.
Vaccine Associated Sarcoma – When surgery’s no longer an option:
It’s been over 7 months since the surgery to remove the new VAS tumor. We knew recurrence would most likely happen since we didn’t get clean margins this time. Now, I have multiple tumors along the incision site from my spine down the same side as my amputation. There’s not much tissue left there. We’re going to see the vet to see what our options are, but I’m thinking it might be time to plan for palliative care. I still look and feel very healthy aside from the lumps and bumps, but we want to be ready in case things change as the tumors continue to grow. That last surgery was so hard with me being a more, uhh, “mature” fella and all. Mom doesn’t want to put me through that again.
In the meantime… I think I’ll just keep on soaking up the sun and getting chin scratches while looking all cute and innocent.
Please, feel free to comment with any suggestions for my visit with the vet. We look forward to hearing from you!