June 11, 2011 at 12:00 am #9143
My grey tabby cat Zeus is living on borrowed time.
A month ago, he was suddenly lethargic one afternoon, really aggravated when touched (growly and whiny), was hiding from me, and wouldn’t touch his food.
He’s always had problems with hairballs, so I thought he must have had a blockage. He spent a weekend at the vets getting IV fluids for being dehydrated, and laxative treatments to try to flush him out.
Nothing changed over the weekend, so the vet decided to x-ray him. He found a very large mass in his chest, the same size as his heart!
I wasn’t sure I would be bringing him home. He was so weak and sad looking. The vet suggested I try prednisone for a few days to see if it would have any effect.
The first week was rough. I was afraid to go to work because I wanted to be with him when he went 🙁 I tried to force feed him and make him drink, and I hugged him and talked to him, and told him he could soon go to play with his old friends, Winger and Surf.
But then he rallied! He’s on his 4th week now since his diagnosis, and he is totally back to normal. He’s eating well, drinking, running around the house with our younger cat Sally, and has gained back the weight he lost.
I had another chat with his vet today. He said that the fact he is having these good days is the best possible thing that could have happened, but he still has a prognosis of just 1 day to just a few months, left to live. He has to stay on prednisone, one 5mg pill each day.
We don’t know what kind of cancer it is. Likely some sort of lymphoma. It is all hidden away inside his chest. The vet said he could refer me to a vet specialist, but he said they would try chemo and I would never have had these last few good weeks with him, and the outcome would be the same.
Zeus is approximately 12. He stole my heart when I was visiting an animal shelter one day – trying to convince myself I couldn’t get a cat because I was too allergic. He was thought to be 2 years old, already had 4 homes, and had a long rap sheet. I visited him twice and on the third visit I brought a cat carrier to bring him home.
He bit my feet and ankles daily for at least the first 6 months. He is the most affectionate, loveable cat, unless you walk near him. He is fine with us now, but he has made most of our house guests cry by suddenly swiping at their feet. And I’m quite allergic to him.
But I always knew it was fate that he came into my life and he was going to have a purpose some day. And he fulfilled that promise. After Winger and Surf died so suddenly, back to back in 2005, the grief almost did me in. But there was Zeus. Every day he took over for the dogs and came to the door to greet me when I came home to my otherwise empty house. He was a great companion and kept a warm spot on my bed during those dark days. And then, soon after, he welcomed puppy Monty into the house and they became fast friends.
Every day now is an extra bonus, and I’m so lucky I gave him a chance when no one else would have.
Here are a few pictures I took a few weeks ago. He has a shaved neck from his treatments at the vet.
June 11, 2011 at 12:14 am #57112
What a handsome boy your Zeus is and what a wonderful story about how he was meant to be with you. I hope that you are able to enjoy each other for many many more months to come. I will be keeping you and Zeus in my thoughts.
June 11, 2011 at 12:19 am #57103
Zeus is such a pretty cat and I’m sure he is grateful you gave him the chance when no one else would way back then. I’m glad that you had Zeus to get you through the tough time when you lost Winger and Surf – I thought it was just dogs that “knew” when you were grieving and knew how to help in their own way, but I guess cats are the same, animals are amazing that way. I’m hoping your sweet boy has many more good days left.
Thinking of you both.
June 11, 2011 at 4:05 am #57122
What a gorgeous cat!!! His personality just shines through his pictures. As your love for him does through your words.
With deepest and warmest wishes of comfort to you and Zeus,
June 11, 2011 at 4:19 am #57110
Lisa were so sorry to hear about Zeus especially today with the good news about Nelson. I’m not sure if you know this but while doing so much research on mast cell tumors I found that Tumeric (cucurmin the active ingredient in tumeric) has been known in many cases to shrink tumors, cysts and fatty deposits among other things. So many pet owners have had great results just by putting the spice tumeric in their pets food a couple times a day. I now have the dogs on that and I’m also taking it in capsule form. It’s also a great anti inflamatory and actually is as good as some of the Dr. prescibed meds without the side effects. I’ve actually noticed that this little cyst thing that Boober has had on the corner of Boober’s one eye for a few years now is somewhat smaller already. There is also the Budwig Protocol which involves blending cottage cheese and flax oil together. Blending the oil with the sulfuric protein makes it water soluble. The body is then readily able to absorb water soluable compounds. It cleanes out the blood vessels and brings respiration to the cells. This was created by Dr. Johanna Budwig a german bio-chemist. This has helped many cancer patients shrink and disappear tumors both in people and pets. Google both of these for some very interesting info and results.
June 11, 2011 at 2:12 pm #57130
I am so sorry to hear your cat is ill. Last spring I had to let my 19 year old Casey go. It was heartbreaking. He had been having seizures for about 4 years and was just getting more and more frail. He couldn’t see well any more and he would huddle over the floor register in the winter because he was always cold. Seeing him off was one of the hardest things to do. He used to curl up on my butt while I was laying on my stomach reading. Like your Zeus he was a devil when he was younger. I have so many fond memories of him with his wonderful personality.
June 11, 2011 at 4:44 pm #57128
I am thinking of you and Zeus. Take one day at a time and enjoy every minute spent with him. Glad that he is doing well lately and more like himself, animals never cease to amaze us. I am taking care of a neighbours cat while she is out of town and you came to mind while I was giving her a cuddle, you give your cat a cuddle from me. I hope that you will have many more days to spend with Zeus, Take Care
Elinor, Family and my Zeus
June 12, 2011 at 10:20 pm #57093
Thanks everyone! Zeus had another good day today and the sun even came out for him to lounge in 🙂
June 13, 2011 at 12:59 am #57123
I’m so glad to hear that! When I saw you had posted I was worried. Great to know that Zeus had fun in the sun. 🙂
June 13, 2011 at 12:40 pm #57131
Zeus is a beautiful boy. Hoping for many, many more good days for you both.
June 13, 2011 at 5:31 pm #57114
He is very handsome and does not look 12! I hope you have lots of sunny days to enjoy each other.
June 15, 2011 at 5:25 pm #57108
Zeus is gorgeous, sure doesn’t look his age. I am so happy he is having good days with you and hope there are many more to come. Sending hugs your way.
June 16, 2011 at 9:25 pm #57124
How is your big handsome tabby Zeus doing today?
July 5, 2011 at 2:15 pm #57094
Next week it’ll mark 2 months since Zeus got sick and he’s still with me.
He’s had one bad day so far, and now he seems to be off his food more regularly so I imagine we’re hearing the end of his good days, but I’m grateful for every day. I am so anxious every day when I get home for work. I know if he greets me at the door, he’s having a good day.
When the prednisone kicks in and makes him hungry, he gets all the cat treats he wants 🙂
We had company for the weekend and he was his usual charming self, ha ha, charming as in hissing, meowing, and scaring our guests!
July 5, 2011 at 2:34 pm #57115
Darn rights that cat gets all the treats he wants 🙂 Glad you are getting the extra time and he has lots of good days.
August 19, 2011 at 5:27 pm #57095
For a cat that wasn’t likely to see June, here it is August and Zeus is still with me!
I’d say he is about 99% symptom free now and hasn’t had any bad days lately. I had him at the vet’s a month ago and the vet said he couldn’t believe it. He said he didn’t think he was going to make it more than a few days! He said the tumor hasn’t gone any, Zeus is just choosing to cope well with it.
Zeus is still extra clingy and follows me around, and is extra nasty with company. The prednisone makes him really hungry, but he is still picky as ever. I feed him a can of soft food a day (and hide his pill in a little bit of the food and get him to swallow it) and he is so picky on his flavours. He is big on salmon and tuna types this month. Chicken is okay, depending on the manufacturer. Some chicken he’ll like, some he hates. He won’t touch Friskies’ Mariner’s Catch and he doesn’t like Iams soft food at all anymore.
He’s still on the skinny side so I give him all the treats he wants.
I’m so grateful for all these extra days and cuddle times with Zeus!
August 19, 2011 at 7:41 pm #57116
You read my mind – I was going to ask since thinking of you and him after meeting a shepard puppy last night named Zeus!.
I am so glad. Makes it a bit easier..knowing the end but the person/pet is not having awful days until then.
Of course spoil him! Maybe that is why he is nasty with company…there are not trained to spoil him like you are 🙂 I would bribe him with real salmon and sardines!
August 20, 2011 at 3:48 am #57125
Zeus is pure feline! Finicky, adorable, loving and proud.
I am so happy you are able to share all this time with Zeus. He must be a very special cat. 🙂
August 26, 2011 at 5:56 pm #57104
I was thinking about Zeus the other day and didn’t realize there was an update! So glad to hear he’s still doing well. Give him a rub in his favourite place from me
August 30, 2011 at 1:46 pm #57096
Thanks for the tip @cheslyn1 !
I gave Zeus a sardine yesterday and liked it! I never thought of that. So silly – I gave sardines to Winger & Surf all the time as part of their raw diet. Poor Zeus was left out!
I gave one to my other cat, but she wasn’t so thrilled. Ate a piece and that was it.
August 30, 2011 at 9:51 pm #57117
Glad that worked…the other suggestion was to buy some mice LOL
September 2, 2011 at 10:30 pm #57097
Mice!?! NO way! haha!
I just took Zeus outside for a walk again. He’s a 100% indoor cat. We just have too many predators here (coyotes, bald eagles, bobcats, pulp trucks, etc) but something about a loved one on borrowed time, I’d do anything for him.
So I put him on a little cat harness, and attach a leash, and we walk around the yard.
He LOVES it! Almost too much, because afterwards he sits at the screen door and meows for hours to go back outside!
He purrs the entire time outside, and takes the occasional bite of grass.
He walks pretty good on a leash, for a cat anyway!
September 2, 2011 at 10:43 pm #57105
It made me smile to read about Zeus and his walks around the yard. They deserve to have whatever makes them happy when we know how precious their time is, and it makes us feel good as pet parents to see them enjoy something so much as he obviously enjoys his walks
September 6, 2011 at 5:13 pm #57118
I am glad he loves his walks! We had 2 cats in the campground on the weekend and because they walked on leash so nicely my hubby did not believe they were cats until they got closer.
November 16, 2011 at 5:12 pm #57098
Zeus has made it past the 6 month mark!! I’m sure the tumor is still in there, but his daily prednisone dose is keeping it in order and he lives on!
November 17, 2011 at 2:16 pm #57129
Phew – I was scared to read this post. That is really good news – way to go Zeus!!!!! Cherish every day!!
November 17, 2011 at 7:28 pm #57119
Me too!! I think each section on the forum needs to be split into 2 sections – good news and a bad news section.
Way to go Zeus!!! Looks like Mom is doing a good job spoiling you!
November 17, 2011 at 9:47 pm #57099
Sorry to scare you! 🙂
I don’t think Zeus is ready to move on yet. He’s too busy bossing me around. Take me outside. Feed me. Pet me. Start a fire in the woodstove. He really does stand downstairs and meow until I go down and light a fire (or until he falls asleep and gives up)! My husband thinks Zeus’s tumor was just a conspiracy to get his way 🙂
November 18, 2011 at 12:42 am #57106
Yay for your sweet boy! So glad to hear he’s still feeling good and bossing you around 🙂
November 18, 2011 at 5:12 pm #57109
So glad to hear what a little stinker your Zeus is being these days. Good for him! He certainly is a beautiful boy, give him a big hug from us.
November 19, 2011 at 12:55 pm #57126
Way to go, Zeus! You are SUCH a handsome boy. 🙂
May 18, 2012 at 12:58 am #57100
Zeus is still going strong! It’s been a year since he was on death’s door, but somehow 5mg of prednisone a day is keeping him well! The vet still can’t believe Zeus is alive and last time I talked to him he said, “Wouldn’t it be interesting to get another xray to peak inside him and see what is going on!”. We were hoping the prednisone would shrink his big tumor to give him a few days, maybe weeks, and we’ve gotten a whole YEAR ! Woo hoo!
The little bugger wants to go outside so bad when the sun is shining (thanks to me giving him walks around the yard on a leash this last year) and he tries to outsmart us and get outside. We live in the woods where there are predators of all shapes and sizes that would be glad to make Zeus lunch so he is an indoor only cat, but a few weeks ago I went to the patio to let Monty in from his yard, and there was Zeus standing on the WRONG side of the patio door, beside Monty, looking in at me. Somehow he must have ran by our legs when we were coming in and he went for an adventure!
May 18, 2012 at 2:16 pm #57120
That is amazing news!! Love that too stubborn, too smart for his own good Zeus is still with you! 🙂
Time to make him his own outdoor cat enclosure LOL
May 16, 2013 at 10:14 pm #57101
TWO YEARS TODAY!
Zeus the cat is still taking one 5 mg dose of prednisone a day and it is keeping the large tumour in his chest small enough that he is living a happy normal life! The vet was hoping for a few days, maybe a few weeks, but Zeus has made it 2 years!
May 16, 2013 at 10:53 pm #57102
That is such great news Lisa! I’m so happy for you & Zeus!!
May 16, 2013 at 11:02 pm #57107
Was almost afraid to look when I saw there was a new post but was very glad to see it was a happy update. Keep it up Zeus!!!!
May 17, 2013 at 3:09 pm #57121
Love, love, love the good news!
May 17, 2013 at 3:50 pm #57127
That Zeus is one awesome cat! Thanks for sharing the good news. 🙂
May 17, 2013 at 4:15 pm #57111
Lisa that is awesome news about Zues. I hope you all celebrated that 2 year milestone. Very encouraging news.
May 17, 2013 at 6:13 pm #57113
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