Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Sad Goodbyes

This is a very bittersweet post for me. On the down side, we said sad goodbyes to beloved pets, but welcomed a new shelter rescue. I will write about the new edition in a separate post.

One of our cats, Hershey, has been missing for about 3-4 weeks now. I don't like to think about the endless number of possibilities that could have happened. Granted, he definitely wasn't the friendliest cat. For awhile we weren't even sure if he was male or female. Still, he was a member of the family and we definitely miss him. 

We sad a sad goodbye to our other cat Gabby, on April 3rd. We found out on March 22 that she had Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma . It was very hard for me, as I had rescued her from the shelter in 2002 while I was in college.

(Here she is after one (or both) of the boys decorated her with popcorn.)

It all started when my husband and I noticed a foul odor in her mouth. It was awful. We had changed her food, and I assumed it had something to do with that. I purchased some treats that help with tartar and bad breath but it didn't help. Then one morning, I woke up and she was drooling uncontrollably and her tongue was protruding from her mouth. I took her to the vet, and they noticed a sore in her mouth under her tongue. The vet seemed pretty sure it was the oral cancer, but did say there was a possibility it was an infection from a scratch, cut, etc. She put her on an antibiotic to see if it cleared up. It didn't. So on March 20th, I took her for a biopsy. The vet called with the results on the 22nd, and it was cancer. She was already on pain medication from the biopsy and we had to continue that and try to feed her soft food for as long as she could comfortably eat.  

After about a week, she completely stopped eating. Then she completely stopped drinking. She wanted to, bless her heart. The tumor was under her tongue, causing it to swell and stick out of her mouth, so the only way she was able to drink water was in the bath tub. She was able to "bite" at a small, steady stream of water, but was unable to lap any water up, the way cats normally do. She eventually was unable to drink at all, she would just sit and stare at the running water.  Her tongue had also turned white, I thought from dehydration, but the vet said it was just dead tissue.We knew then it was time to euthanize her, I couldn't bear to think she was going to die of hunger or thirst.

This is the picture my husband took at the vet's office when he took her to put her to sleep. I obviously didn't want to be the one to take her.  I know she looks awful in the picture, but this was after I had brushed her and cut the mated fur off of her. Her mouth bled, pretty much non stop, so she had a constant clump of bloody fur on her chest. Gross, I know. 

Jaxson asks where Gabby is, every. single. day. He's too young to have any concept of death, so all he understands is that she is sick and at the doctor. We decided for his birthday in July we would get him a cat since he misses Gabby so much.  I wanted to wait until closer to his birthday, but last weekend we went to "just look", as my husband said, and ended up bringing home a new family member. I will post about that tomorrow.

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