The story of my cats

Currently we have two cats: Cinder, our feral rescue, and Mew, a foster that never left, but not too long ago, we had three.

We lost Whiskers last October, at the age of eleven. Always a temperamental animal, over the past few years, she grew increasingly nasty, until one day she decided she despised Mew. When they began sparring at every opportunity, I separated them. I locked one of them in our tiny office for a week, and then swapped them.

As time went on, each time I let Whiskers out, she hissed and swat at all of the other animals, including us humans. Soon, she remained incarcerated, while Mew enjoyed her freedom. I promised Whiskers that we would get a bigger house – one day. Or, that we would finish our basement, put our office downstairs, and give her the run of it – one day.

That day never came…

It started with hair loss, in a quarter sized spot at the base of her tail. Since she had lost hair in the same area due to allergies in the past, I did not think much of it. After checking our household for fleas and finding none, I decided to wait and see.

A day or so later, Whiskers stopped wanting to hang out in the office – fleeing the room at every opportunity. Nick and I theorized that perhaps a spider had bitten her. We have some rather large ones hanging around our house…

Practically overnight, reddened sores and crusty scabs erupted around Whiskers face and neck. Concerned that she might have mange, I brought her to the vet over the weekend. After drawing blood and performing several skin scrapings on Saturday, the doctor prescribed an antibiotic – which is what vets do when they don’t know what’s wrong.

By Monday, Whiskers stopped eating, a bad sign for our eighteen pound feline. The vet’s office informed me that her blood panel had come back normal and advised me to stop giving her the antibiotic in case it had disrupted her stomach. But when I returned home from work on Wednesday, it became clear that it was more than an upset tummy – Whiskers still had not eaten and was lying in her litter box, lethargic. Back at the vet’s first thing on Thursday, an x-ray came back ominous. Whisker’s abdomen appeared murky.

Perhaps, something had burst. Or worse…

My vet sent her for an emergency ultrasound. I rushed her in, and Nick met me there while they were running the test. Soon after, the vet called us in to review the results. Cancer covered Whiskers’ organ linings and had spread throughout her abdomen. It was too late. Her system was in shock. We did the humane thing. We let Whiskers go.

I tried to stay in the room with her, but I failed. I had let her down. Whiskers had spent her last year in a tiny room, segregated from the rest of the family. Alone.

Perhaps, the cancer had festered inside her for years. Perhaps, it was why she was perpetually grumpy. I’ll never know. What I do know is, don’t wait for ‘One Day’ to arrive. Often, it never does…

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