Castiel had his third check-up post amputation. He had a physical exam, X-rays, and blood work done. Poor guy was so nervous, and truth be told, so was I. He meowed up a storm at the vet. I think folks heard him a block away. His vet didn’t see anything on the X-rays, and she didn’t feel any lumps or bumps during the exam. His weight is still a whopping 18 lbs…we’re still working on that slimming plan. You’d be amazed at how fast a three-legged cat can move when he wants to steal his siblings left over food. I blink and he is chowing down his sister’s supper.
The bloodwork was mostly normal, except for a raised albumin level. It is double what it was pre-amputation. The vet said this could be a sign of inflammation. Now I’m wondering if this is a sign of the cancer returning or that he is in discomfort or maybe has worsening arthritis. The vet said it could be a sign of a lot of things and/or not much at all. It’s 4 when the top normal is 3.9 but it was 2.0 before his cancer surgery. She said we should monitor it but didn’t recommend any additional tests at this time. The only other slightly abnormal result was his thyroid. The doctor said it was in a “grey area,” which means we probably need to watch for hypothyroidism in the future. Castiel is 10 so he is getting to be that age when hypothyroidism can show up.
The vet said Castiel looked good and she was pleased to hear he was using his ramps and steps. Castiel took to them right away and they really help him to get wherever he wants to be. He can get up most places, it’s the getting down that is the harder part. Castiel seems happy and healthy. He loves playing feather toy and wrestling with his baby sister Clover. He is doing everything he did before and is the same silly parlor panther he has always been. We love him so much. We hope and pray every day that he stays healthy and well.
Castiel had a check-up recently to look for any signs of cancer re-occurrence or any abnormalities that might signal trouble — and the doctors didn’t see anything worrisome. We can’t be 100 percent sure — and we didn’t do a CT scan because the doctors are concerned about too much radiation exposure if they were done every 3 months, but so far all indicators are good. The radiographs (taken from multiple angles) didn’t show anything and his lungs look perfectly normal. His weight is good (albeit a little fatter still than Dr. Rau would like) but his nutrition is good and she did a head to tail check and everything was normal.
Castiel has adapted well to life on three legs. He goes up and down the stairs multiple times a day for meals and to follow the sun around the house. He’s a big sunbather. I tell him he is going to turn into a tawny brown cat with all that sun bathing. With the help of some ramps and steps he can independently access all his favorite places, including the cat tree. He can get to middle levels of the tree; he can get higher – and has — but can’t get down without assistance. He meows loudly to let us know if he gets himself into a pickle. His tiger siblings continue to look out for him.
We know that the first 1.5 years is a time for careful watching for cancer reoccurrences, but we are cautiously optimistic that he will do well. We were crazy nervous taking him in for his check-up even though there were no signs of trouble. Castiel and his siblings all get fully weekly pat downs, where we diligently check for any lumps or bumps. We are hyper-conscious to any changes. That said, we are learning to relax and just enjoy life with our sweet peas. Despite worries before the surgery that his personality might change, Castiel remains the same silly, carefree parlor panther. He rolls around with his belly in the air, waits for nightly feather play with his humans, spies on wild turkeys from the cat tree, and rejoices with each Chewy delivery — cats love boxes! Just wanted to let everyone know that he is doing great and enjoying life.
There was a lot of things we thought wouldn’t happen with a cat with three legs and we were wrong on so many accounts. We were afraid he’d never be able to get up the stairs. He managed that on the first day we brought him home. We thought he wouldn’t want to play anymore…nope, still happy to play feather toy, bat balls around his toy, wrestle with his adopted kid sister, and chew up catnip toys. He was our best mouser, and I expect he probably could still get a mouse, if one were dumb enough to enter a house with three cats. I really thought he couldn’t get up on the kitchen table anymore, wrong again! I stepped away from the table to start to clear the breakfast dishes only to turn around and catch him on the table cleaning up the remnants of my waffle and eggs. He can jump. His landings aren’t always perfect but it doesn’t slow him down, especially when there might be butter left on a plate.
He flies off the bed and races me down the stairs in the morning to receive his breakfast. He can’t get up on a high dresser or the top of the cat tree but short of that, he can get anywhere he wants to be. We have steps and ramps to help him, but when excited he forgets all about them. He uses them more when tired — and it is true, he does tire more easily. We have a two-story house and he will pick which floor he wants to be in more now than he used to and that is okay. And he occasionally gets frustrated when trying to get up from the bed or a blanket pile — it’s hard to get his balance, and we’ll hear what we have come to recognize as the “frustrated meow,” and well give a hand getting up. We are just so happy to have him with us, and I know his adopted siblings “the tigers” are happy to have him too. Castiel remains the alpha cat and the caretaker of his younger siblings. And check it out, his fur has all grown back now. We think he looks very handsome.
We do have one challenge though where we could use some guidance. His sibling Aleksandr likes to go for walks in the backyard on his harness. Castiel would like that too. A harness is needed because our home backs up to open space and there are a lot of wild animals (coyotes, bobcats, foxes, hawks, etc.), and despite his three legs — Castiel can move fast! Are there any harnesses that are secure on a three-legged cat? He is missing a front leg. Anyone have any ideas?
Merry Christmas everyone! Castiel and his siblings are having a wonderful Christmas morning. Santa brought them all lots of new toys and they had a special treat of sliced Canadian bacon with their breakfast.
I want to send a special thank you out to this group. You helped us get through one of the lowest points of our life. We were so scared and paralyzed with fear and you helped guide and support us in our decision making. There is no way to know if the cancer will return, but we are thankful today for this Christmas morning together.
Castiel is doing very well. He had a good check-up and a nutrition consult to help us manage his weight. (He still tries to steal his siblings food and break into cupboards!) So far, there have been no signs of any cancer return. Castiel does tire a little more easily but aside from that, he is doing well, and he is our same old silly panther.
Merry Christmas to all who celebrate and best wishes for the New Year!
Michelle, Brian, Castiel, Aleksandr, and Clover Maeve
Castiel is so happy that his fur is finally growing back. He’s got a nice layer of black fuzz now. Castiel is doing well. He has mastered a hoppy walk. He places his front leg toward the center and splays his back legs a little wider when he walks. He can move fast. I snap the lid back on a can of Fancy Feast and the next thing I know he is right behind me. We’re amazed at how well he can jump and maneuver on the stairs. He utilizes step and ramps for going down mostly — they sure make things easier. He does seem to tire a little easier especially when playing with his siblings but short of that he is doing great.
We’re going to have a second consult about the radiation treatment but are still leaning away from it and toward close and careful monitoring. As we are not certain that his fibrosarcoma was a result of a vaccine — none of the usual markers and not in a normal vaccine spot — there is some question as to whether the radiation is needed. As we understand it, the chance that the cancer could return is 20-35 percent. If it comes back, we’re told the first 1.5 years is the especially worrying time. We have set up regular vet appointments for him for follow-up checks. Fingers crossed. Right now, he seems happy but we panic at the slightest odd behavior. I got worried today because he was hiding in the closet, then I remembered that the doorbell had rang a few minutes earlier. He is not a fan of doorbells. If he gets a fur ball, I fear it is the cancer spreading to his lungs, when in actuality it’s just him hacking up his long-haired sister’s tiger fur (he bathes her daily). She literally sheds a rug daily. I want so much for him to stay healthy and happy. I’m so thankful that he is still with us and that he is his usual loving, silly self.