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See you on the other side, little buddy

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My Little Cat Ghost

The years I’ve worn you,
warm upon my shoulder,
ended here…
surprised to find us older.

And there was nothing
left to do today
but hold you close
and help you on your way.

Be still, my little cat,
Be well; be free.
I know that you are somewhere near,
and loving me.

Hey all,

Well, the time for Fredo to exit this world (leaving cancer, pain, difficulty breathing, and two heartbroken humans behind) has come and gone.  Dr. Hannah from Lap of Love came, on time, administered two shots, and let us snot all over the place while we cried until he was gone.  She took time with us to get every paw print/impression that we wanted/needed, and then she took him away.  He’ll be cremated and returned to us within a couple of weeks.

I don’t have a whole lot else to say.  My heart hurts, but I know that if he was still alive, he’d be sleeping on the floor of the closet, away from us, struggling to breathe.  There’d still be life in his eyes, but barely.  I know this was the right thing to do.  It just really, really sucks.

I think we’re fortunate to live in the digital age, because I’m not sure many days went by, especially recently, that I didn’t take a picture of him or his sister, or both.  So, here is a sampling.  Please note: I did take a “last” picture.  It’s not that weird, but skip if you need to.  Thank you all again for the ongoing support.

Christmas 2012 – pre-tripawd 🙂

His Christmas mouse, and the most handsome face

Daphne’s big brother

I assume he’s already found a suitable lap for lounging.

The most proper

His first picture with his baby sister Daphne

His last picture with his baby sister Daphne

Love to my little buddy. Our perfect kitty.

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Our time here is coming to a close

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Hi Tripawds community,

WELL.. quick recap.  Fredo had a toe removed due to cancer in 2014, the cancer returned in 2015 resulting in a rear-leg amputation followed by chemo.  This past February, we brought him to the vet because of some breathing issues, thinking/hoping it was asthma.  Annnd of course it wasn’t, because it is always cancer with Fredo.  The vet was wonderful, but she told us optimistically we had about six months with him.  Well, six months is best case scenario.

Fast forward to now, and he has been declining fairly rapidly lately.  For a while it was manageable.. he still wanted to socialize and be around us and cuddle from time to time.  Now he spends 97% of his time in my closet, coming out to eat (which is often thrown back up) and drink and use the bathroom.  He is scarily thin, with little bony knobs all over (ribs, etc).  The other day I got down on the floor for some ear scratches, and I told my husband he just doesn’t have any happiness left in his eyes.  It sounds insane.. but I’m sure other cat people can relate.  Sometimes you just know.

So, I forced my husband to have the difficult discussion with me, and we came to the conclusion to reach out to Lap of Love who does in-home euthanasia.  My husband had wanted Fredo to pass peacefully at home, naturally… I prefer the medical type intervention to eliminate any suffering, since passing peacefully is likely not an option with terminal cancer.  I feel like this is the best compromise.  Now we don’t have to put him in a carrier for an always-stressful car ride to a place that isn’t familiar with him.  It also gives Daphne (little cat) hopefully a chance to better understand what is going on.  They also provide cremation services and paw imprints and yada yada.. so, what I’m trying to say is, this is the decision we’ve made, and I feel good about it.  The time is right.  Well, Friday will be the time, and it will be right.  Maybe it sounds awful, but I think there will be a really good sense of relief along with this decision.

Anyway.  It goes without saying that this website has been immeasurably valuable to me throughout this experience.  I will be back with another update this week, but then I suppose at that point I won’t have a reason to maintain this blog, but I do look forward to seeing the other happy stories of tripawd recovery out there.  🙂

Thanks for reading/listening/caring.

Just a little update

Hey there,

Not too much new over here with the big guy… who is now a little guy.  You guys, I truly do not know what to do to get him to gain weight.  I haven’t weighed him lately but if I had to guess he’s around 7 pounds.  He was just about 10 pounds after amputation.  He does eat, and his appetite seems fine.  I truly think it’s because his teeth are in such rough shape, so he has a harder time eating as much food as he may want to.  I’ve tried wet food in every possible way… he will not touch it.  I don’t want to COMPLETELY take away his dry food and force him to eat the wet food because at this point, any food is better than no food.  He is 100% skeptical of whipped cream now (since I tried and failed when hiding pills in there–even crushed up).  He’s always been a fan of cake frosting, so I might just go buy him a cake and see what happens.

When he’s not around, I’ve been misting water on his hard food to attempt to soften it a little bit for him.. I think this isn’t NOT working, but I just don’t know.  I feel like he’s eventually going to get so skinny and his little body won’t be able to sustain how hard his heart and lungs are already working.

As a reminder, it’s been three months since the doc told us he has probably about six months left.  He’s on daily pain meds, but I don’t see a ton of signs of pain, honestly.  He occasionally has breathing attacks, but he’s getting around fine.  He’s certainly not as social as he was, maybe because he always assumes I’m trying to medicate him.  But he doesn’t play as much either.  But his bathroom habits and food and water all seem to be fine.  Aside from just not eating enough.  (How is it that his sister who eats maybe 1/4c of food daily just keeps packing on the weight???  She is so chubby.)

On a positive note, we’re moving OUT of the house with the dog in a little less than a month.  The new place will also be carpeted versus hardwood floors.. he has a hard time with the wood floors I think.  Just less “give” haha.  I’ll also be able to control the environmental factors a little better, so less stuff in the air for both the kiddos, and it’ll just be cleaner in general.  My poor little girl has really bad seasonal allergies right now, so I’m looking forward to that change as well.

She always sits on him.. then gives me this look when I move her.

Sorry so blurry. So skinny! My poor buddy.

So, not much else to say.  Any suggestions on how to get a picky, dry food-addicted cat with bad teeth to eat more??  All suggestions welcome.  Have a good one!

Two years and one day

Hi everyone!  Fredo’s two-year “ampuversary” has come and gone.  He celebrated it by sitting in the sun as long as he could and eating food and drinking water, and that’s about it.

Poor little guy is not doing super well.  He had a steroid injection shot about a month ago, which he seemed to tolerate fairly well.  His breathing attacks seemed to subside, but now in the past week or so they’ve been at least daily, sometimes more.  We’re going to have to start thinking seriously about how to assess his quality of life and when to make the tough decision.

I asked my husband what he thought, and he said Fredo still seems happy.  We take him outside most days and he wanders around.  He’s still eating and drinking normally, and he keeps up on his grooming.  So, I’m not really sure what to do.  Keep him comfortable with his pain meds (which he HATES.. even though it’s just in his ears and not a pill that we force down).  Our vet said that sometimes if people know an illness is terminal, they’ll pick a day and plan for that to be the last day.  But the thought of bringing him to the vet, knowing how much he hates even the car ride ANYWHERE, and it being his last trip… that really breaks my heart.  It has been years since I’ve had to think about this.  In fact, when I was 12 my dog had to be put to sleep (brain tumor), but I was on vacation and my grandma made the decision while I was gone.  Any other pet death that I’ve experienced has been involuntary (we lived on a very busy county highway in Wisconsin and unfortunately lost many pets that way).  I’ve never had THIS much time to wrap my head around losing a pet I love so much.

Any input on that subject is much appreciated!  What would you do?  Wait for a severe decline, or get a date in your head?

Here’s some pics of Fredo in his favorite sunny spots.. and his fat sister, who is currently on a diet but of course as a lady, she loses much slower than the boys.  🙂

Pumpkin left over from Halloween.. don’t ask. 🙂

Little man update

Just a little update.  Last time I checked in, we’d gotten some bad news from the vet.  Nothing has really changed.  We’ve been less than successful administering meds to Alfredo, so we opted to get a steroid injection versus a daily pill.  We found it to be immediately effective; he was having near-daily breathing attacks due to mets in his lungs.  Since he got the shot almost two weeks ago, we’ve only witnessed one breathing attack (and it was very short and resulted in vomiting–which almost makes me think it wasn’t breathing-related at all since those particular actions are somewhat similar sounding).

On the other hand, all our attempts to administer his bronchodilator have  been met with resistance… lol.  We’re still trying.  He’s also not a huge fan of pain meds in his ears (buprenorphine gel).  He’ll let me touch his ears any other time, but if he suspects I have the gel on them, he flattens them against his head and runs away.  Such a goof.

Overall good.  He’s eating well and behaving normally.  It’s odd to think that he’s even sick.

We’re having trouble keeping our chubby little girl away from his food (which is kitten food now due to his weight loss).  Debating the Sure Feed method for him, although he’s not microchipped.  Anyone have any experience out there with this product?


Garbage truck terror!  It’s been months and he still isn’t used to that thing coming up the hill.


Prettiest kitty eyes.

Have a lovely week!

The dropping of the other shoe

Well, this is an update I had hoped to NEVER make… but I’m sure we all know that’s just not the reality of animals with cancer.

Fredo has been coughing/heaving/blah blah for a couple months now.  At first I thought it was maybe a blockage in his digestive tract, because he’d always been prone to vomiting, but in these cases, he wasn’t actually vomiting up anything.  SO, then it changed into probably a respiratory issue for me (probably asthma, based on what I’d seen online and from the Tripawds forum), and I made an appointment for him this week.  Then I chickened out and canceled it.  Then he had these little attacks every day this week, and I knew I had to just do it… face the music, I guess.

SOOOO we went to the Cat Care Clinic in Orange, CA (this place is amazing).  I loved our vet.. it was new for us, as all his previous care had been given in Arizona.  So anyway I was a little hesitant about that, but whatever.

LONG STORY SHORT… it’s not asthma in his lungs.  An x-ray showed white blotches in his lungs, which she said is consistent with metastasized cancer, which I had been expecting and dreading.  I just had a feeling.  Nothing with Fredo has ever been benign, so why would this be different?   The vet feels that, at most, he has six months left to live.  We have discussed this possibility many times over the past two years: if cancer returned, we didn’t want to put him through vigorous treatment for our own selfish reasons.  So, we have decided to keep him comfortable with medications until we feel he’s deteriorated beyond a positive and comfortable quality of life.

She prescribed us some steroids and a bronchodilator as well as some pain medication.  He’s not super psyched about those, obviously.. so we’re going to have to get creative with some Greenies or something to make sure he eats the medication.

So, this sucks.  I just felt that this was coming, and I knew before she even said anything that it would not be good news.  She said we were lucky to have two more years with him, given the aggressive nature of the cancers (plural) that he had.  One of which is extremely rare in cats, of course… and now I’m going to be working from home, and I can spend all sorts of time with him until he’s gone.

I’m also taking this opportunity to get my other kitty into the vet for a check-up and dental exam, so I can get her insurance.  HOPING that we never need it.  Fredo, incidentally, has some terrible cavities too (somehow we were so preoccupied with everything else that we missed that) but they will remain untreated because the vet isn’t comfortable putting him under anesthesia.  They don’t seem to be hurting him though or affecting his diet, so that’s good so far.

Wish I had better news.  Such is life as the owner of cancer-prone animals, though.

I will always be thankful for the community I found here.  It truly made this whole experience so much more bearable for me.

Mr. February + some brotherly concern

Hello all!  Happy New Year!

Fredo just hit his 10-month post amputation mark.  He’s still scratching himself with his invisible leg, but still gets around like a champ.  I still need to buy some bed stairs, I’m a bad cat owner… but I want the right ones.  LOL.  Picky..

I know there are a few Tripawd 2016 calendars floating around out there.. have you seen one of the Mr. Februarys?


So handsome!  I realize he looks less like a tripawd and more like a legless cat here, but his face was just so cute.

So I’ve mentioned that I switched to Blue Wilderness, and the cats’ taste buds seemed to have adjusted fairly well.  HOWEVER, I noticed this on the little cat:

20160201_184512 20160201_184531

Doesn’t look like much, but there are patches of missing fur all over her legs (more than just these pictures).  I’ve been noticing that she’s biting at her feet occasionally, but nothing excessive.  I can only wonder if it’s an allergic reaction to something… the most obvious answer would be the food.  But this change was made a few months ago.  Other than that, they are indoor cats and not exposed to any new elements very often.

Any amateur kitty diagnosticians out there?  Haha.  NO MORE VET BILLS!  Please!!  😉

Fredo goes back to the vet this month.  I’ll come back for a report, and one of these days I do want to try to get an updated video of the little guy.

Happy February!

Fredo’s high on life

Happy Friday woooorld!

This guy went nutso yesterday; he spent about 10 minutes rubbing his face on my shoes and then another five minutes doing this:

Pretty entertaining.

He’s still scratching himself with his invisible leg.. it’s been over four months but I suppose after eight years of using the leg, it’s still an adjustment for him.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Chemo round 2!

Been a while!  There just has not been much to report.  He did well after the first round of the chemo.  There was some random puke in our house, but to be honest, we can’t say for sure it was him.  And he’s always had a bit of a nervous stomach and sometimes eats too fast, so who knows the cause of that.  But his appetite remained the same.  He does randomly have like.. meowing fits in the middle of the night downstairs by himself.  It’s pretty weird but also not totally new.  Before he was mine and belonged to my roommate, he had some of the most annoying mannerisms ever.. of course now I love him differently so I deal with the weirdness.  Crazy guy.

ANYWAAAAY.. so round 2.  This one was the doxyrubicin, which they say is the harsher of the two medications and may have more side effects.  The infusion itself went smoothly; I left him there for a few hours and now we’re back.  All uneventful.  So now we’ll see what the aftermath is like.

In case there are any inquiring minds, the cost of today’s treatment was around $375.  This included blood work to make sure his white blood cell count isn’t too high, which of course it wasn’t since he still got the treatment.  He has four more to go!!  Our wallets and our sanity can’t wait.. that guy hates the car, let me tell you.  I don’t think it’ll get better, I think we’ll just have to suffer through and hope he doesn’t hold grudges against his loving owners.

He hasn’t really calmed down since we got home, and he doesn’t really want to hang out with me much.  But I did get a picture before he was like, see ya lady.  Go.

Have a lovely Wednesday!  I’ll be back after the next one (June 17).  🙂

Rough stuff

Rough stuff

Avoid all eye contact

Avoid all eye contact

Fredo goes to the oncologist

Today was Fredo’s oncology consult… man, what a sad place.  There were some healthy cats in a little glass room playing around, that helped.  But the animals waiting just seemed to be sick, and I overheard some other conversations between the vet and the owner of an animal that didn’t have a good prognosis.  I feel so bad for them.  I only hope that we have a better outcome with our kiddo.

The doctor (who I really liked) discussed his cancer a little bit, saying that he had the sarcomas in the beginning and the last biopsy showed carcinoma, so she wasn’t sure if maybe the first biopsy was inconclusive, etc.  She predicted there was cancer in the sweat glands which isn’t very common and some vets think isn’t very aggressive (but she disagrees).  There were a lot of words being thrown at me.. lol.  I kept up the best I could.  At first, when I got there, I swear the vet tech thought I was nuts for bringing him in without knowing that cancer had spread or even still existed in his body… I’m like, whatever lady, I came on the referral from my vet.  I am no cancer expert.  LUCKILY the actual oncologist was like, oh yeah this makes sense, we do it all the time, better safe than sorry.

So, she gave us two options.  One was IV treatment, six rounds, alternating between two drugs.  One is carboplatin and I cannot remember the other for the life of me (a Google search suggests paclitaxel??  that sounds right.  Although now I just read Erica/Jill’s site and she had Doxorubicin which might also be right–HAHA)… the other was a medication (Palladia) administered orally at home, every other day for six months.  Now, we didn’t have the best luck with Fredo and oral medications.. we just did the best we could with the liquid meds after his surgery.  He does like the Onsior (I always say Onfior in person and then feel like an idiot) pills but I feel like we won’t be that lucky for six months.  So, I opted to go for the IV treatment.

She said there would be six rounds at about $400 each (full disclosure for any future inquiring minds who may need a ballpark amount!), but I’ll get the exact estimate later.  Becaaaause.. she asked me if I was ready to start today, or if I needed to chat about it at home, but we’ve already generally discussed that we’re going to do this, so I just made the call to get him started.  Car rides with Fredo are NOT A FUN TIME.  So, one less visit is a-okay with me.  He’s there now, and I sadly had to leave him again at the vet for them to poke and prod him.  Man I feel guilty.  I know that long-term, he will not hold a grudge against me.  I mean, if we can spring back from them taking his LEG OFF then I think we’ll spring back from this.  But in that moment, it is very sad.

In the future, these visits will be 2-4 hours, as they evaluate blood work each time to monitor his white blood cell count.   She said typically these visits will be every three weeks, unless his count is low.  Today, since they don’t need to monitor the effects of medication on his body yet, he’ll be there for about an hour and then I can go get him.

We got a Care Credit card to help us with these expenses.  If anyone is coming up against some surprise expenses, as we did, I recommend this!  There is typically a no-interest period which we are taking advantage of.

I sure hope that this is the last big step for our little guy.  Every time it gets harder to load him up into his carrier and take him.  I attached some pictures.  He is in the front seat, which I’m sure some people may disagree with, but in my head, it makes him less stressed if he can see me LOL.  Probably not true.

Probably more updates later…

You disappoint me, lady.  LOL

You disappoint me, lady. LOL

No fun for either of us.

No fun for either of us.

Doctor's car?  Haha maybe

Doctor’s car? Haha maybe