Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Bessie: Goodbye Sweet Kitty

So, as probably all of you know, I have an awesome cat named Bessie.

She likes to sleep a lot.

She's an amazing cat with a lot of personality. She's been my constant companion for the better part of 14 years. When I didn't feel well, she was there to curl up next to me until I felt better. When my mom passed away, she let me cuddle with her and cry on her little fuzzy head. Bessie has never been much of a cuddler unless she knew I needed her.

Sometimes she would be creepy...

And sometimes she would be sweet...

But she's always been the best kitten I could ever ask for.

And now, unfortunately, the time has come for me to say goodbye to my little fuzzybutt.

I noticed in late July that Bessie was having trouble chewing on the left side of her mouth. I figured she had hurt a tooth, and I made a vet appointment. She had lost a couple of pounds: down to 8.6 from her usual 10 - 11 pounds. A week later, Bessie was having a cracked tooth extracted and that went very well. Unfortunately, the vet noticed a growth in the back of her mouth that I gave them permission to biopsy and send off for testing. The vet called me on August 18th and told me that it was squamous cell carcinoma, and very aggressive. It's also the most common oral tumor in cats. It can't be removed surgically and chemo or radiation treatment is a crap shoot. The cancer itself isn't what ends up killing the critters but the inability to eat and/or breath after the tumor reaches a certain size.

Bessie had been eating and drinking ok up until the weekend of the 15th of August. I took her back to the vet and they gave her a shot of an anti-inflammatory, some pain meds, and re-hydrated her. I was giving her liquid food and she was eating/drinking it. After that, she was eating more and more energetic. She was even so desperate for some treats that she tried her best to get the door open to the cabinet where I keep them.

By this time I had made an appointment with the Mizzou Animal Cancer Care Center in Wentzville to take her in for an evaluation. By time the appointment came on the following Friday, she wasn't eating again, and was barely drinking. At the evaluation, the oncologist did a CT scan to get an idea of the size and location of the tumor so we can could determine if there were any treatment options. The tumor was very large and close to her larynx and tongue, and was almost closing off her airway. They couldn't even get the tube down her throat to intubate her for the scan and had to use only a mask. The oncologist said he couldn't in good faith recommend radiation with the tumor being so close to her larynx and tongue since they would be damaged in the process. The only really chance we had of it working was if we could shrink the tumor with steroids and anti-inflammatory meds. So, over Labor Day weekend, I fought with a surprisingly energetic cat to get meds in her mouth and had Julia help me give her the steroid shots. They didn't seem to be working as she still wasn't eating. She definitely wanted to eat and tried valiantly to have an itty bitty piece of grilled burger and chicken, but just couldn't.

I called the oncologist on Tuesday morning to give an update on Bessie. She wasn't doing well. I decided that I didn't want her to suffer anymore. I couldn't be selfish and put her through chemo treatments that had a very, very slim chance of working, especially since she was already weakened from not being able to eat much. Later that day, I called At Peace In-Home Pet Euthanasia and scheduled an appointment for Tuesday, Sept. 9th at 4:15 to have Bessie put to sleep.

I have a few more days with Her Royal Fuzziness until I have to say goodbye. Until then she's going to be the most hugged and cuddled kitty in the world. To some, she may just be a cat, but to me, she's been the best friend and companion I could've ever asked for.