You probably already know, but here are the details if you don’t. A couple weeks ago, on a Monday, Slick noticed a hard lump on Spooky’s left side, behind her shoulder area. It was about the size of a golf or ping pong ball and felt as hard as bone. We immediately made an appointment at the vet. The next day, the vet determined that the best way to figure out what the lump was would be to remove it, since it was hard and seemed to be solidly attached to Spooky’s ribcage. Sticking a needle into it to get sample didn’t seem likely because of the hardness of the thing contrasted with Spooky’s unwillingness to participate in the process. Besides, we’d probably need to remove it anyway. We got the next available appointment and moved our work schedules around to support that. If you’re thinking all this is very sudden, you’re right. Spooky was behaving normally, no appetite differences, no sleeping differences and the lump didn’t seem to cause her pain at all. It was just that one moment between conference calls and coffee, the cat now had a big scary tumor on her side.
The surgery appointment went a bit longer than expected. When we picked Spooky up, the vet explained that the tumor was now tangerine-sized and had lots of blood flow going to it. It was a fast growing tumor we were lucky to find it when we did because it was growing through Spooky’s ribcage towards her lungs and heart. Fortunately it had not eaten through her bones, but it was so aggressively spreading that it was not possible to cut every single bit out. The thing was right next to her heart. We took home our drugged and shaved cat and tried to arrange the house and furniture so that she wouldn’t try to (or need to) jump anywhere and possibly damage her sutures or strain her muscles. It was a hard thing to see our spoiled rotten cat unhappy and shivering from the ordeal. She seemed to be moving around okay and enjoying our company enough. Over the next day, she was up and about almost as normal.
By the second day, she was already back in her favorite bird-watching spot.
Here you can see where they had to shave her whole left side for the surgery. It is interesting to see her skin under the fur.
Spooky recovered swimmingly and had her stitches out a few days ago. She is running around like nothing ever happened, although she will now fight you when she sees her cat carrier.
Sadly, the tumor is malignant although non-metastasizing. This means that it will return, be aggressive and eventually deadly, but it will not metastasize to other systems or organs, like get into her lungs then spread to her liver or such. Essentially, it is a death sentence for Spooky. We don’t know how long she’ll have; weeks, months or a year or so, but it will come back. Obviously, this is terribly sad news. However, Spooky is just past her 13th birthday and has led a life of cat-luxury. We spoil her rotten and will continue to do so. 13+ years is not a bad run for a house cat and we never were those people who expected something beloved to exist forever. So, yes, we’re sad, but we have our Spooky at home and we have some more time with her. She still wants to lay in bed with us, sit on our lap when we watch tv and have us turn the sink faucet on so she can play with the water. And we will do all of that for as long as we have.