Castiel got his stitches out Wednesday and is very happy to be able to groom himself again and not wear the onesies. We can also let his sister Clover snuggle with him without close observation. We were afraid she would groom him or try to remove his stitches for him. Clover was a holy terror about stitches after her spay.
We were a little concerned the day after we removed his stitches because Thursday morning he was hiding in the leopard house (a rectangular cat house with leopard patterned fabric.). He usually only goes in there on cold nights as it’s a very snuggy house. It was warm that morning and the sun was shining though the window, so usually he would seek out a sunny spot. My husband gently picked up the house and we emptied him out of it to check on him, in case there was a sore spot or something had opened up — but everything was fine and Castiel seemed fine, just anxious. We think he was afraid he was going to be scooped up and taken to the vet again. It was Veterans’ Day and we had slept in later so breakfast was later. The change is routine probably got him thinking vet.
Castiel has been doing great walking around. He can get to all his favorite spots and the ramps and steps help. He can even do the stairs, which we try to get him not to do as we worry it’s just a little too soon. He hasn’t got up on the cat tree yet but I think that is because it is in a room without carpet so it’s a little tougher to navigate the hardwood. We’re going to pick up a runner at the shops so he can easily get to the cat tree and best window for squirrel and possum watching.
Castiel has been a little anxious and jumpy. We think he just needs some time to relax at home and have some normal time. He doesn’t seem to be in pain, just scared that we’ll go to the vet again. We put the furniture back to normal and are giving him freedom to roam without us hanging directly over him. He is also allowed to freely interact with his siblings again and I think he likes that. Now if we could only get his tiger sister (Clover) to stop lying across his ramps.
We’re still trying to decide whether to do radiation or close monitoring every 1-2 months at our vet. We don’t think Castiel would do well with the 5 x a week radiation for three weeks, so we are steering away from that. He gets so stressed travelling and we worry about the anesthesia. Also we don’t know if it’s necessary. There is no evidence it is a vaccine associated sarcoma — it still could be, but we don’t know this for certain (none of the usual indicators were present, but the absence of the indicators is not definitive). The margins were clear but the top margin was only 1.5 cm, not as good as 3-5 cm, which is ideal. Removing the leg may have been enough…we just don’t know. One oncologist who saw him before surgery advocated for radiation and chemo as general treatments for fibrosarcomas, the second oncologist said we could do radiation if we wanted to treat it aggressively but didn’t strongly recommend it. The radiation oncologist recommended SRT but said it would depend on the CT scan. He was in favor of radiation though but said he would understand if we wanted to do close monitoring. Our local vet deferred to the oncologist as the most knowledgeable but said she wouldn’t recommend it for Castiel and she knows Castiel well. Our vet friend, who saw Castiel as a kitty, also wouldn’t recommend radiation. The risk of reoccurrence is low but not zero. But our local vet and our vet friend both think quality of life and what Castiel would want should be important considerations in our decision-making, and it is hard to disagree with that logic. If it does come back, we may be able to treat it with radiation then, although the radiation oncologist warned it might be harder. It’s an impossible decision…the humans are very stressed. We thank everyone who has listened to us, followed our progress, and has weighed in with tips, advice, or just with kind words to let us know we are not alone. Thank you so much!