Preparing for the worst

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Fastern
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Preparing for the worst

Post by Fastern » Wed Dec 02, 2015 9:59 pm

It with a heavy heart that I have to say Bob, one of the furry members of our family, will likely stop his journey through time with us in a month, maybe two, and this is due to a tumor which is most likely feline oral squamous cell carcinoma. There could be a misdiagnosis but unfortunately I doubt the Vet is wrong because the growth is very evident and the symptoms are text book. I suspected and feared for the worst when I saw the growth a couple of months ago but said little and put it out of my mind because all you could do spend money for poor results and even worse quality of life and aside from other things seemed okay. Even thinking back though there were various signs appeared but it all did not register which should have suggested all was not okay. The good thing about ignorance is it does not distract you. But know that we know it does focus you to enjoy the last moments we will have together. I know that but Bob does not. It also makes you think should we have done the iodine treatment for the hypothyroid rather than the pills or whether having the teeth removed contributed to it. Regardless we are we are. For now we have some pain meds and such to help him.

I will miss Bob because he adopted me when Linda and I moved in together and became like my shadow around the house (or maybe he was just making sure I did not steal anything). I will miss his attempts at “smothering” in the night, following me to the bathroom in the morning, waiting at the front door without end in attempts to get outside, bulldozing obstacles or barriers meant to keep him out of a room, having to go for a escorted walk around the grounds, his chirping at the birds or growling at the raccoon or other intruding cats, chasing Avia, beating up the auto feeder to get extra kibble, greeting me when I came home at night (or was this just another attempt to get out the front door?), climbing into my lap trying to get a head butt while I am working on the computer, reading a magazine or watching just TV, the great lengths he would go to get up on my desk so he could lie on the keyboard, his extra clinginess when we would come home from vacation, and just keeping me company when I was in the “dog” house. I feel bad that Alexandra will not get to know Bob or have any memories of him, but at least we have some pictures for her. It is never easy to say good bye to friend when you know for certain there will be no next time, even when you have time to prepare, and as much as I will miss Bob, I know that Linda will miss him more because as she raised him from a palm size kitten to an 18 lbs bundle of energy. To her he is and always will her baby Bob.

As much as we are already grieving at the impending loss of Bob we are having to plan the final goodbye how you decided it was time. From a vet that problems in Texas I saw this:
No mater how long a pet lives with us, the time will never be enough and we will never realize the strength of our attachment to a pet until it is gone. Quality of life issues bring most clients to me for euthanasia. Usually they rely on me to reinforce and affirm their decision to put the pet to sleep. I have found that loving pet owners usually recognize when their pet is suffering seriously. If there is a sin, it is delaying this moment of decision beyond its proper time. Guilt often weighs heavily on the person who must make this decision and it is rare for there to be unanimity within the family. But do your Buddy this favor when you see in its eyes that the time has come.

How do you know when they are suffering too much or see it in his eyes? With the tumor I would like not to wait until he can no longer eat but that would be a clear sign but also one we may have waited to long. My thoughts are that the moment he does not want to go for a walk or sit in the lap for couple of days in a row would be the clearest sign he is ready to head for the bridge.
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jillyvillyvoo
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Re: Preparing for the worst

Post by jillyvillyvoo » Wed Dec 02, 2015 11:51 pm

What a moving and heart wrenching post. How lovely and brave of you. Such fond and funny memories you have, I can relate to most of them. Bob is a beautiful cat, I love the way he is looking out for the baby. It's so very painful when you know you have to say goodbye sometime soon but they do let you know if they are suffering too much. Enjoy that love they give (even when they can be a total pain :D ) and cherish every moment you have left together, Bob will let you know when it's time to say goodbye. Everyone on this forum is here for you both, many of us have had that loss too so keep in touch and let us know how he is getting on and give him a big fuss from me x

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Re: Preparing for the worst

Post by SarahT1 [PLLE] » Thu Dec 03, 2015 6:54 am

What a gorgeous boy. Give him a gentle fuss from me and big hugs to you. Your sweet boy... x

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Re: Preparing for the worst

Post by bobbys girl » Thu Dec 03, 2015 10:15 am

Bob is a lovely cat. I know what you are going through, we have reached a similar point with our darling Tommy. He has Up days and Down days but it is becoming a struggle to balance him. He can be quite low some mornings, but after his meds and a fuss, he picks up and is OK for the rest of the day.

It is SO hard for us to go through this, but it is all a part of sharing our lives with these wonderful creatures. I know you will do right by him and you know where we are. (hugs) to you and fusses to Bob.

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Re: Preparing for the worst

Post by Thierry 1 » Thu Dec 03, 2015 4:45 pm

What a beautiful post you write and I'm so sorry you are facing this heart wrenching decision. What a beauty Bob is, I like that you say he 'adopted you' and I think this is true for us all with our feline companions. Having gone through a similar situation back in August, where I had to prepare for my boys passing, (there isn't a day goes by I don't think of him) you will know when the time comes, he will let you know when he is ready. In some ways it can help to be prepared in this way for our companions passing as it allows us the time to plan a respectful crossing over the bridge for them. I know it helped me and others on here also. All we can do is spend each precious moment with them and show them just how much they are loved.

Everyone on here is really supportive and I found this forum to be a huge support in my darkest hours.

Sending gorgeous Bob a cyber hug, and for you and your family too x

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Re: Preparing for the worst

Post by Crewella » Sat Dec 12, 2015 9:25 pm

That is a beautiful post, and I really feel for you and what you're going through.

A few years ago I adopted an older one-eyed girl called Alpha, who had lost her eye due to glaucoma. Sadly, what she had turned out to be a rare case of primary glaucoma (very unusual in felines) and her remaining eye deteriorated to the point where she had to have that removed as well. With plenty of love and support she coped remarkably well with becoming totally blind, and we were just starting to relax when they found a lump in her upper jaw during a routine dental that turned out to be the same as your Bob probably has, feline oral squamous cell carcinoma. They cut the lamp back to the gum line whilst removing it for biopsy, but we decided that she was too old, and had been through too much already, to have to endure even more ongoing treatments, and the chances of success weren't great. We decided just to make the most of the time that she had left.

After a couple of months the lump was a lot bigger and we noticed that she was starting to have problems eating, so she went onto pain meds (Metacam) and we started blending her food to make it easier for her to eat. Our vet thought that the lump had grown mainly into the oral cavity at this point, rather than deeper into the tissue, so on his recommendation we did have it cut back again to buy her a little more time. She was still very bright and active at this stage, and it gave her another couple of months of sitting out in the summer sun, which she loved (she used to sit right in the middle of a patch of gravel, so she could hear anyone or anything approaching!). It was a simple operation, no more invasive than a dental, and she was a cat well used to the routine of vet visits - I've never regretted that decision. She recovered well and even managed to march proudly up the garden with a dead mouse in her jaws on one occasion - Lord only knows how she did that!

After another couple of months she started to have trouble eating again, and we went back to blending her food for her, and then she started to lose her joy in life. I think that the growth started to affect her sense of smell (doubly important due to her blindness) which caused he to lose confidence, and she became increasingly withdrawn. I had a couple of days of worrying if I'd know when was the right time, but the ups and downs flattened into just downs and it did become clear that she wasn't happy and it was time to let her go. When I took her in, the vet agreed and said that she might have gone on for a few more days before it became critical, but those days would be painful and that the 'critical' stage wasn't something he'd want any cat to go through. Someone on here said 'better a day too early than a day too late', which I agreed with and it really did help. She spent her last afternoon sitting out in the sun, and went to sleep peacefully in my arms. It was heartbreaking to have to let her go, but it felt right. You do know, trust me, you really do.

I'm sorry for such a long post, I just thought it might help to hear how it went for us. I'm so sorry you and Bob are going through this, but you sound, to me, like you are meeting this with exactly the right attitude. You very obviously love you cat and know him well, so even though cats are so good at hiding pain you will see when he starts to withdraw and lose his interest in life. You really will. My heart goes out to you. He's a beautiful cat. (((hugs)))

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Re: Preparing for the worst

Post by Mayday21 » Mon Dec 14, 2015 6:38 am

Hello my heart too goes out to you, Linda & Alexandra. I'm sure little Alexandra will know some how that she has a lovely fur baby watching over her. This site is full of caring, compassionate, non-judgemental folks. I feel we all come from the same gene pool when it comes to fur babies. Hugs to you all.

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Re: Preparing for the worst

Post by Fastern » Mon Dec 21, 2015 2:44 am

Thank you to everyone for their support and thoughts, and thank you to Crewella for a nice story and the insight. As it is Bob has doing well all things considered. We have been lucky in that it has been relatively warm here in Toronto and he has been able to go outside for "patrol" (the two of us go out and walk around our townhouse grounds) but it is now starting to get cooler. I am not sure if the fading enthusiasm is due to the weather or his condition. He did have some excitement Friday when he was patrolling with a friend of mine and she let him get too close to a raccoon which was having seizures. We figured it was last parts a canine distemper so it was not nice situation. At least if it had been rabies it could have made a real difficult decision very easy. Unfortunately this weekend I can see a significant drop in his energy level and his eyes just do not have the same brightness/energy. Right now he is happy and completely asleep on Linda, something I have never seen in a long time, especially when I am here with an empty lap and at the keyboard. We are hoping it is temporary and will try increasing his painkiller dosage tomorrow to see if that helps. That said I do not think he will make it out the year and right now I am just hoping he makes it past xmas because we need to go out of town to see family and a key person there is not well. When it rains it pours.

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Re: Preparing for the worst

Post by Crewella » Mon Dec 21, 2015 4:06 am

I hope so too. You will find he has good days and bad days as it progresses, and as you say the end of summer is likely to quench his enthusuasm for 'patrol' to some degree anyway. Eventually the bad days will start to outnumber the good days, but if you're still unsure and guessing like this you probably do have a little more time left together. You know when it's going downhill, that uncertainty goes. (((hugs)))

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Re: Preparing for the worst

Post by Mayday21 » Mon Dec 21, 2015 7:53 am

I'm thinking of you all. How long will you be away for and is it possible to take Bob with you if it doesn't stress him? Just an idea & I really don't know how feasible it is. Keep us updated. Vivian

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Re: Preparing for the worst

Post by bobbys girl » Mon Dec 21, 2015 9:37 am

Helen is right, it is probably due to the change in the weather that he doesn't want to go out so much. It has been very wet here (for what seems like forever!) and some of our lot haven't been out in days.

I hope this insidious disease allows you one more Christmas with your boy. It is always hard to lose one of our fur babies, but especially bad at this time of year, when everything else is so 'jolly'.

I hope your human family member gets better soon.

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Home stretch

Post by Fastern » Mon Jan 25, 2016 3:11 pm

We decided last night that this will be Bob's last week and will have him put to sleep on Saturday afternoon. Because he gets stressed in the car and at the vet's office we will have it done at home. It was not an easy decision but his rate of decline has been significant from what it was. The vet gave us a 12 point rating system and he has gone from about 53.5 out of 70 in early December to 29 this weekend. 25 is when it says to consider putting the pet down. Also certain scores are subjectively high which keeps him out that range but someone else might come to a different conclusion. The decline is also evident in his weight, he is much lighter. He still loves going outside, thankfully we have had a mild winter, sitting in our laps in the evening and lying on my neck on the weekend mornings. Unfortunately the tumor is now big enough he is drooling constantly (since last week) and it prevents him from drinking, we keep him hydrated by squirting water into his mouth. Previous to the constant drool him seemed to get enough from the wet food. We are thankful for the time we have had together and the memories we have had with Bob. It is tough because we wonder if he is in pain, sometimes he seems tense but for the most part the pain meds seem to work or if we are doing this too early, especially since he still seems to love life. My gut says we are getting pretty close though, especially by Saturday. I will miss him.

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Re: Preparing for the worst

Post by bobbys girl » Mon Jan 25, 2016 9:00 pm

I know what you are saying and feel for you. We went through the same with Tommy. He got through Christmas OK but went downhill quite quickly. We had made the same decision as you, but fate stepped in the night before. It was quick for Tommy but very painful for us.

I will be thinking about you this week and praying that Bob's passing will be as painless as possible for all of you.

Love Sue

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Re: Preparing for the worst

Post by Mayday21 » Mon Jan 25, 2016 9:34 pm

My thoughts are with you at this time. ((hugs)) Vivian

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Re: Preparing for the worst

Post by Wanda6688 » Mon Jan 25, 2016 10:07 pm

So sorry to hear about poor Bob, I don't know if you remember but my cat had the same condition. He seemed fine up until the last day and a half but when I took him to the vets, he said it was time and that he looked tired. I know it will be hard but it is the right thing to do, you love him and care for him and you can't do anymore. Strangely I checked your posts just the other night as I hadn't seen anything from you so it is very sad to read your post.

Take care, thinking of you xx

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Thank you for being a friend

Post by Fastern » Sat Jan 30, 2016 11:02 pm

Bob left us this afternoon at 4.30 pm. I am sad and I miss him but I know it will pass, I am sure Alexandra our 13 month old daughter will make it easier too. I actually just reached under my desk expecting to find him per usual. The day was hard but the actual event was not as bad, one brief cry at the sedation needle. I did find myself cry as the vet depressed the plunger on the final needle. We had a great patrol this morning (see picture) thanks to an unseasonably warm day +2C this morning versus -10c. It was sunny in the morning and more cloudy in the afternoon as 4.00 approached. My hardest part today was picking up some of the books we had around the place in order raise his food dish to make it easier to eat. I needed to excuse myself. For Linda saying goodbye was very difficult. It was unreal carrying out his still body to the vets car as I kept expecting him to move. I had another cry on the way back to the townhouse.

I will not forget him. I am thankful you were part of our lives. Bob, thank you for being our friend.
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Re: Preparing for the worst

Post by Kay » Sun Jan 31, 2016 9:50 am

You gave him the best possible life, and the best possible end

None of us can do more, or wish better for ourselves and our companions through life

But it does hurt

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Re: Preparing for the worst

Post by OHWS » Sun Jan 31, 2016 10:15 am

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Last edited by OHWS on Sun Nov 27, 2016 12:04 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Preparing for the worst

Post by bobbys girl » Sun Jan 31, 2016 11:12 am

I would just like to echo the sentiments from the above posts. It was good that you had the time to say goodbye.

RIP darling boy Bob.

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Re: Preparing for the worst

Post by GillianH » Sun Jan 31, 2016 12:28 pm

What a beautiful boy, and look at his poor mouth in the last picture. I found reading your posts heartbreaking, poor sweet Bob. I lost one of my boys yesterday - totally unexpected. He wasn't ill and I have no idea why he passed away but once again I find myself grieving for another lost boy.

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Re: Preparing for the worst

Post by bobbys girl » Sun Jan 31, 2016 1:55 pm

GillianH wrote:What a beautiful boy, and look at his poor mouth in the last picture. I found reading your posts heartbreaking, poor sweet Bob. I lost one of my boys yesterday - totally unexpected. He wasn't ill and I have no idea why he passed away but once again I find myself grieving for another lost boy.
So sorry to hear that Gillian

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Re: Preparing for the worst

Post by GillianH » Sun Jan 31, 2016 2:08 pm

bobbys girl wrote:
GillianH wrote:What a beautiful boy, and look at his poor mouth in the last picture. I found reading your posts heartbreaking, poor sweet Bob. I lost one of my boys yesterday - totally unexpected. He wasn't ill and I have no idea why he passed away but once again I find myself grieving for another lost boy.
So sorry to hear that Gillian
Thank you Bobbys Girl.

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Re: Preparing for the worst

Post by jillyvillyvoo » Sun Jan 31, 2016 9:13 pm

Beautiful brave Bob, I've never had a dry eye reading about him. No more suffering though, at peace, at rainbow bridge, no doubt patrolling the ground there with a spring in his step now. RIP. X

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Re: Preparing for the worst

Post by Wanda6688 » Sun Jan 31, 2016 10:05 pm

So sorry for poor Bob, RIP xx

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Re: Preparing for the worst

Post by Mayday21 » Mon Feb 01, 2016 8:05 am

Hi Fastern thinking of you all at this time. Bob was lucky to have you all. He was a gorgeous boy & now at the Rainbow Bridge in all his glory. So glad you had a patrol with him. RIP you gorgeous boy & hugs to you all. Vivian

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Re: Preparing for the worst

Post by Mainecoon » Fri Feb 05, 2016 8:09 pm

RIP beautiful Bob .We lost our 1st cat a tabby & white Keri to Squamous Cell Carcinoma in 1998 & know how you are feeling . She like Bob did not want for anything either & was so much loved . Thinking of you at this time . xx

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Re: Preparing for the worst

Post by Fastern » Tue Feb 09, 2016 3:09 am

Thank you for all the messages of support. I miss him but I will okay. I am more concerned for Linda and Avia. Linda misses her "baby Bob" and was mopey after looking at some pictures tonight. Avia is going around the townhouse in the evenings meowing (deep throaty calls) wondering where is Bob. Hopefully we can all move on soon, but not forget him.

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