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

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Holding Position at 27 1/2 Weeks

The adventure continues...

Sometime between Saturday afternoon and Monday morning, Leo threw up again. (The time-line uncertainty is due to the fact that the large puddle of regurgitated food was in the basement and not discovered until Monday midday.)

Leo's meds are just about out, so when I called the vet office this morning for the refill, I asked if there was anything that could be done about his excessive mucus drool.

Of course not. I should have known. I'm part of a feline cancer group...if there was anything available someone on that list would have been aware of it, I'm sure.

I think I've started to drive Leo nuts with trying to un-goo him. Probably spent an hour yesterday removing stuff from his fur. I had to cut his chest fur (formerly long and fluffy transformed into giant mats) because there was no way to get a comb or even my fingers into it.

He seems to like the grooming at first, and then get annoyed. So, between that and the medicating, he's started to run away from me when I approach him. Which bums me out terribly.

Oh, I also dunked his front legs into soapy water yesterday to uncake them (where he gets not only mucus drool but food ground in, as he rubs his paws across his face when he's eating.) And then tried to comb out the loosened pieces of food/mucus drool/dried blood.

So, he may have a good reason to avoid me, but it's disheartening when I'm just coming over to say hello. He does relax once he realizes I'm only going to scratch him and rub his head.

But it's so hard to resist pulling whatever out of his fur at the same time. And if I let the stuff stay there the matting gets worse and worse.

So, in the vein of a picture being worth a thousand words...

The masked kitty -- Kitty Libre!

This is what my guy looks like after eating. He does all the right cat cleaning-up-after-dinner things -- licking the side of his front legs and wiping them across his face. But in his current condition, it just rubs sticky slime on his face.

Half an hour later, his face is nearly dry. Then it's up to me to comb the stiffness out of his facial hair. He does like that, at least. Oh, if you look behind Leo you can see his splattered bloody drool on the baseboard. I clean this stuff up all day long...

This is actually the face of a happy cat -- and front legs AFTER being washed just a couple hours earlier. It is the definition of a losing battle.

After I took the photos we continued to have a nice little bonding session. I lay down on the floor and gently loosened up the fur between his front toes. He never let me touch his paws before this illness, so it must feel good. Then I just held his little paw in my fingers and we both started to fall asleep. (Aaaaw...)

Looking at him right now (he's lying on the dining room floor and didn't run away when I just went over to scratch his head) the fur on his one leg is completely matted down again. But overall, he looks pretty cute. (I'm to the point where I don't see the drool anymore.)

So I jump up to take photos. He actually rolled onto his side and posed for this one! He's always seemed to like having his picture taken. Or maybe he's just immune to the process after having me as his human for 13 years.


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