We have another cat who has been diagnosed with cancer.  Most readers will remember that a very large tumor had been discovered in Nematode in the Fall of 2005, and we had to have her euthanized in February of last year.  Now we face a similar situation with Shark.

In the first few months of this year, Shark seemed to be losing weight rather rapidly, going from his typical 13 or 14 pounds down below 11.  I took him to the vet in May for tests, and they discovered his thyroid levels were high.  We started him on medication for that, and his weight seemed to stabilize for a while.  However, he started to shrink again in July.  Another visit to the vet showed normal thyroid and other levels in his blood work, but the vet felt a lump in his intestines.  I took him to another clinic for ultrasound scanning, and they actually detected several small lumps and nodules throughout his abdominal cavity.  Lab tests on some needle samples confirmed that he has cancer spread throughout his abdomen (the medical term for this being carcinomatosis).

There isn’t any particular cure for this.  Palliative care is what we’re trying to do, giving him an anti-inflammatory drug (non-steroidal) to kill any pain from the tumors and possibly slow their growth.  Having less pain there should help him eat, plus he’s also getting an appetite stimulant.  This is on top of his thyroid and heart medications, so he’s getting six doses of medicine a day currently.  Fortunately, Shark has always been good at taking pills.

I was told when the diagnosis was certain (about a week-and-a-half ago) that he probably had weeks, maybe a month, to live.  So far he seems to be maintaining his weight at a little over 9 pounds, but he isn’t eating what he used to.  Today he was less enthusiastic about food than the past several days, and of course, if he doesn’t eat enough, he’ll decline more rapidly.  The vet’s estimate could yet come to pass, or maybe Shark will stick it out longer.

I suppose losing one cat last year makes this a little easier to bear, but I’m still steeling myself for what is to come.  Shark has always been my cat in particular, and I’ve had him for 13 years now.  His personality is pretty much the same, but he is sometimes acting uncomfortable, and maybe scared, and I know he’ll decline emotionally as his physical health goes.  We’ll do what we can until he ceases to be happy and comfortable.

Those of you who live in the area and know Shark are invited to come and see him, while there is still a chance to do so.  Just don’t all come at once, as he gets skittish and flees when we have multiple visitors.   🙂