As I’d posted previously, Studley was diagnosed with cancer a few weeks ago. I opted not to pursue IV chemotherapy or immunotherapy (vaccination therapy). While they might have slowed the progress of the cancer, it would have meant a lot of unhappy car trips for my little man. He’d been losing weight drastically since January, so I wasn’t optimistic any treatment would buy him much time. We did put him on oral prednisolone (steroids) to hopefully reduce the swelling in his lymph nodes, increase his appetite and make him more comfortable.
For two weeks, the steroids helped – he was eating more and seemingly feeling better. Due to the weight loss, he was even able to do things like hop up to the back of the couch – something he hadn’t been able to do previously. However, the past week he started to deteriorate again. He lost 6 ounces. He vomited violently on Sunday. I felt we should spend one last, really nice, weekend together, and then ask the vet to help him move on. Maybe this was a selfless act on my part, wanting him to move on BEFORE he was suffering and unhappy – while he was still having relatively good days filled with sunshine and fresh air in our outdoor window encosure. Perhaps it was selfish, wanting to spare myself the agony of watching my little man die. Maybe it was both. I’m not sure.
Studley, his last weekend
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Studley has been losing weight since January. I admit, at first I was pleased. He was overweight at 19.5 pounds and needed to drop several pounds. He’s a big cat, but he doesn’t need to be THAT big.
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Let’s talk about canned food. First, if it isn’t already abundantly clear – I think dry cat food is a very bad idea. I don’t think anyone thinks the semi-moist foods (those little pieces that aren’t hard as kibble, but chewy, like Tender Vittles) are a good idea. (If you do – well, they’re not for the same reasons dry/kibble is bad and more.)
So, where does that leave us? Options remaining are a freeze-dried raw food, a frozen raw food, or a canned food. (Or, I suppose there’s the options of a freshly made raw food or whole prey or homemade cooked diet – I won’t go there for the time being.) I realize there are MANY caregivers out there that are reluctant to feed raw for many reasons, and I do not fault them for that! I think commercial canned food is a perfectly acceptable option! While the majority of my cats’ diet is a frozen raw food, I do feed canned food to them on occasion and I feed my foster cats canned food. Why don’t I feed my own cats’ canned food more often? Well, a few reasons including cost (yes, homemade raw is less expensive), palability (if some of my cats get canned, they start clamouring for it and refusing to eat their raw), and a couple cats that had IBD so long before their diet was changed that even most canned foods cause them stomach upset…. among other reasons.
However, I’ve seen some people argue against canned food – and I’d like to discuss some of the “reasons” why.
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Studley is the one-eyed wonder cat.
Studley was a stray in my friend’s neighborhood. He was “servicing” the unspayed females, so he earned the nickname the “Stud cat” which eventually became “Studley”. My friend was patient, and gradually befriended Studley by feeding him. The only shelters in her area euthanized unadopted cats after a few days, so she knew a timid adult tomcat had little to no chance. She asked if I could get him into one of the “no-kill” shelters near me. I agreed.
She transported Studley to me in late August, 2002. At under 11 pounds, this large guy was thin and all muscle. The vet at the low-cost spay/neuter clinic I took him to expressed amazement at his muscular forearms and tight abs.
A shelter I adopted from in the past agreed to show Studley on their website, if I continued to foster him and I did. After several months of no inquiries, I grew increasingly attached to this gentle giant and I decided to adopt him myself. When you have three cats, what’s one more?
Studley’s gradually learned to trust me more and more. He’ll come up for pets now, and sleep with me at night. He enjoys cuddling, grooming, and wrestling with the other boy cats. He gained a lot of weight with free access to food. He lost two pounds when we eliminated dry food, but is still over weight and I have to watch his portions and that he doesn’t “help” the other cats with their leftovers.
Studley had to have one eye removed in March 2005, due to severely high eye pressure caused by glaucoma. They found cysts all along his optic nerve. His other eye showed signs of deterioration as well, but is currently stable. In February 2006, I noticed a small cyst or bump on Studley’s left cheek. The vet didn’t think it was anything to worry about – but in April it was still there and on April 14 I asked that they remove it. To my shock and dismay, the biopsy report came back that it was cancer and they had not gotten it all. We consulted with an oncologist, and she felt a second surgery was our best option. They made a second elliptical cut around the first one, and removed the slightly enlarged lymph node. Histograph results indicated they got it all.
Hopefully, Studley is finished demonstrating his amazing ability to grow unusual cells.
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