My name is Andrea and I am from Colombia (Latin America). Limón was a present for my hubby in his 32nd birthday. We love him so much because he is the most peaceful and loving cat, he is obedient, caring and pretty shy, elegant (he is black and white and look like he is wearing a tuxedo all the time) and hungry (Limón was a fat cat once upon a time and he was very hungry, he was big and we were happy to see him growing every day).
All started when we noticed that Limón was having trouble using his hind legs, and that became evident since he was 6 months old when he stopped climbing and jumping to elevated places because he could not get down properly and hitting the ground was very painful for him. We took him to the vet and we lost a lot of time there because the vet doctor had to discard many theories, among them we had a probable nutrient deficit, then diabetes, then a fracture... all these test went negative. Finally, 15 days ago he was tested for FeLV and the result came back positive, it was sad but the Vet gave us hope relying on the fact that we could take care of him and grant him a quiet and nice life. But that was only the start…
At the time Limón was diagnosed with FeLV, he still could use his legs, move around the house, feed and had a very quiet life. However, a week after the diagnose all went downhill pretty fast: he started limping and having trouble moving around the house and using his litter, he was not eating well, he was pretty sad and at that time he was so thin that you could feel his bones under his fur. We were very concerned about the weight loss because as I told you before, Limón was fat and now he was so thin… (During that week he lost a lot of weight, but when he started with the illness, he started losing weight very slowly). So, we took him to the neurologist (veterinarian) and he confirmed the lymphoma disease: Limón has 3 masses (lymphomas) and one of them is located in his spinal cord, pressing one of his vertebras, so this is the reason why he can't use his hind legs properly.
Vet send us home with a prednisone and some homeopathic medicines that will help extend his life but no cure or hope for him (as you know, FeLV is not curable). I have started with the treatment and Limón seems better, he can walk and use his litter but on the other hand, he looks very sad, remains hidden most of the time and spend lots of time lying on the same spot, however he still enjoys when I took him in my arms and purrs incessantly when I tell him that I am going to be there for him always. I am not sure if cats can cry (with actual tears) but I have seen his eyes bright, like when it happens when you have cried and I wonder if he is feeling terrible (because he never, ever, ever complains or show signs of pain)...
For now, chemotherapy is not an option for him because his lymphoma is low grade, besides, at the moment I am pregnant and my doctor don’t agree with treating the cat with medication that could affect our baby. Vet doctor told us that Limón’s life expectancy is less than 2 years if we follow the treatment he gave us, but I don’t know if he is suffering and we are only selfish trying to make him better in order to make us feel better, or if I am giving up so fast on this and I am just making excuses for myself… I am a mess now, trying to find every resource that could be helpful to make up our minds always thinking what is the best for Limón.
I decided to write all this because may be this could help someone (as many of your stories have helped me), to express how sad is that a cat that is only 1 year old has to pass through all this, leaving behind a family that have not spend enough time with him and have not finishing giving him the most of the love he deserves.
I don´t know if this is time to let him go... in his good days he eats, uses his litter and find our company everywhere we go, but on his bad days he lays down with sadness in his eyes, eats little and urinate where he can because (maybe) the pain cannot let him use his litter.
What can you recommend me? What should I do? I still see him with energy to continue but we all know it won't be for so long. We love him very much, but i don't know if it's fair to have him with us more time. Thanks for your time, dedicate your energy and efforts to comfort your cat, to extend his life if possible and love, love, love, love him/her no matter what. Hope to hear from you.
Update - Sept 2, 2015
Limón is on a daily treatment of prednisolone - 1 daily tablet of 5 mg and he is doing great. The pain in his spine has been substantially reduced and now he is able to play, use his litter, he is in good mood and eating healthy, gaining weight. At the moment, he seems fine, we are hoping he continue improving while he can. We decided no to start a chemoterapy treatment because is very expensive here in Colombia, US$250/week.
[ click photos to enlarge ]