My Name is Leo

An adored cat deals gracefully with a jaw tumor while his owner quietly falls apart.

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Location: Philadelphia area, Northeast, United States

Monday, July 24, 2006

The Scare

Tonight's either been a scare or a sign. We'll know soon enough which.

We were out with the kids for a bike ride. I had left Leo happily asleep on our bed.

We got back a little before 6 PM and I needed to give him his prednisolone pill. But the bed was empty and there were two half-dollar-sized spots of what looked like bloody vomit on the carpet next to the bed. When I cleaned it up I found it was brown-colored liquid with a little red blood and drool mixed in.

A search for Leo found him lying on the dining room floor. His side was moving up and down as if he was breathing very fast -- looked to me like he was scared and in pain. I went to pet him and he didn't purr and soon moved away.

He went to another spot, against a wall, and I went over to him. He purred for a second while I gently rubbed his head. The purring stopped, but he lay there with his front paws wrapped around my wrist and his eyes closed, as I continued to rub the fur between his eyes and on the top of his head.

He got up rather abruptly, meowed his "pain" meow and hissed (which he also does when something hurts.) Walked into our living room and I watched as he stopped and peed all a giant puddle on the floor.

After I cleaned the puddle, my informants told me Leo had gone down the basement and come back. I went down and found a puddle of vomit...and a litter box with a very large (and recent) poop in it. (Lovely bodily function details!) There was nothing in the litter box to indicate a bladder infection, so I'm guessing the pee accident may have been due to an urgent need to deficate (and I stopped him before that happened on the rug, at least.)

Back upstairs, Leo continued to crouch and not want to be touched. He vomited a little more - foamy vomit. The situation didn't look good. I left him alone and went upstairs to do laundry and mentally fit his euthanasia into my schedule for the next day (with much more emotion than it sounds when typed.) With dread.

But still hoping maybe it's all just stomach upset that will resolve itself.

And maybe it is. When I came back an hour or so later, he was curled tightly on a chair. But he responded to my touch and relaxed his body and wanted his face rubbed.

Then he hopped off and headed for the kitchen, acting hungry. He didn't want what I offered, but he did lap at a saucer of milk. And I felt confident enough to give him his pred pill, which is supposed to help his appetite and act as a pain killer.

He's back in the kitchen as I write this, so I'll be trying out various Fancy Feast flavors as soon as I get the kids to bed - and hopefully Leo'll get something into his system (and it will stay down.)

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