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, August 14, 2006

29 Weeks Post Diagnosis

From the reaction I've gotten off-blog, I pretty much grossed everyone out with the photos in my last post.

Sorry about that.

Here's a nicer photo from this afternoon to make up for the last ones.

There have been questions as to whether he is suffering and the severity of the bleeding.

I don't believe the bleeding causes him any pain. It comes and goes - sometimes mixed in with the drool or a clot comes out of his mouth. Less often, fresh blood drips out of his mouth, but usually only a couple drops at any given time.

I can't tell where the blood is coming from in his mouth. It may be coming up from his jaw through his gum-line.

His antibiotic (Clindamycin) is specifically indicated for treating wounds, abscesses and dental infections - so whatever is bleeding should not get infected.

Honestly, if I thought he had no quality of life, I would have him euthanized. As much as I'm dreading that, and hoping that the decision will be taken out of my hands...I will not let him suffer.

It is said that cats are very good at hiding their pain, so as not to let their weakness show to predators (in our house, that would be the kids.) But I know Leo's body language (and meow language) very well. He would definitely let me know if there was anything significant bothering him.

At this point, it's all about Leo, because, truly, the trial of taking care of him outweighs the joy he still is able to bring to my life.

But he does still bring joy to my life. Even though his new nickname is, "Mr. Stinky."

Last night when I came home from work, Leo did not appear by the door as he usually does. I was a little concerned, but sometimes he's sleeping and he doesn't make it down right away.

A few minutes later he appeared. Instead of coming over to greet me as usual, he headed in the other direction.

I assumed he wanted me to follow, as he usually does this when he's trying to lead me somewhere. But instead, he just walked a circle through the downstairs rooms. It was glaringly apparent that he was trying to get away from me (albeit with a casual air, in order to maintain his feline "cool.")

This was a first. But who can blame him? Especially when my next order of business was putting a big plastic tube with a pill down his throat.

He did seem to forgive me eventually, but I told my husband that I felt like I was torturing Leo and I was just going to give up on the washing except for once a week or so.

Cut to this morning: Since I hadn't cleaned Leo up at all last night, his face and front leg fur were completely stiff and covered with gook.

So, I went back on my no-washing vow and dunked his front legs after he ate his breakfast.

He was quite unhappy with the process, but when I went to towel his legs off, he actually started to purr.

The rest of the morning he wanted an uncharacteristic amount of attention, most of which seemed directed at getting me to feed him more.

I gave him a saucer of milk (now every time I take the milk out for the kids Leo thinks he's getting some) although he doesn't seem to really be able to lap it up anymore.

He kept swarming the kitchen, so I ended up opening another can of Fancy Feast. He didn't eat all that much, but it seemed to satisfy him enough that he went off to lie on my bed.

Still, he jumped off to greet me when I came upstairs later...let me comb him a bit and seemed happy about the procedure. Then it was off to the window seat (and the photo above.)


Blogger Merujo said...

I was telling a friend at work about Leo's situation, and showed him the last entry. He almost passed out. The man actually got light-headed and started to sway in my office.

I'll show him the new photo.

Leo has one heck of a strong constitution - as does his human mom. :-)

8/17/2006 10:03 AM  

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