the long goodbye

Lulu is dying from feline lymphoma. She was diagnosed back in March, when she started to throw up. A biopsy at our local vet narrowed it down. This isn’t the first cat to die from some form of cancer. Lucy died from lymphoma back in 2015. What I experienced with Lucy has helped prepare me for what’s happening with Lulu, and to reach a level of acceptance far faster than I ever did with Lucy.

Lulu, like Lucy, was a rescued feral cat. In Lulu’s case she was taken in by my daughter when Lulu was between six months and a year old back in 2006. She came to live with us Thanksgiving 2007. She’s had a good long run for a feral cat. Ferals, unlike true house cats, don’t live quite as long. With Lulu at least we got to know her for a good ten years.

Instead of keeping Lulu at the vets for long periods for chemo therapy, I’m feeding Lulu a ground-up half-tablet of Prednisone, 10mg, every morning mixed in with her Fancy Feast and keeping her with us at home. Prednisone is a kind of chemo-therapy for cats that helps them to cope, and even induces a bit of remission. Most mornings, and most days, she eats all her food, and for a time after we got her going on the steroid she had a very healthy and normal appetite. But recently she’s gone back to throwing up about once a week, and then not wanting to eat for a day. She still moves around the house and spends her time at her various favorite spots, such as the sun-warmed box window that Lucy used to love to lie in as well. The steroid has at least given us an extra six months with her.

Rather than being caught off-guard the way I was with Lucy’s cancer, this time I’m prepared, so I keep adding more specific moments while Lulu is still with us. That’s the best way to keep a pet. Spend as much time as possible engaged with them so that there are no regrets when they leave. It’s a good formula not just for cats, but for all living things.


One comment

  1. Oh wow – this is heart-breaking…

    But you’re right. Spend as much time with her as possible. I’d do the same.

    All the best to you and to your family,
    Wolfgang

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