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Cat: Mason
male, Siamese mix

Type of Lymphoma:
Intestinal Lymphoma?

FeLV Status:

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Mason's Case Study  

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Story: I found him on the street about a year and a half ago, literally skin and bones, and kinda spaced out. I noticed he was already neutered. I took him in, put him in the basement in a recovery cage (set up for feral trap/neuter/return) with a ferret hammock, and just let him eat as much high-quality cat food as he could, which was A LOT. He was, and still is, a voracious eater. After about a week and a half, he achieved some level of satiety, and let me know that he would like some attention before eating. He turned out to be very affectionate and friendly. And demanding and stubborn; when I left him to go upstairs, I could hear him through the floor, voicing his displeasure like some kind of Siamese car alarm.

After about six weeks, he had gained just enough weight to be presentable for the vet. He weighed 7 pounds. They looked at him and said "hyperthyroid", which was what I thought. They did a blood panel and combo test, and all his organ functions were normal, but he's FIV+. So I took him home and fed him as much as he wanted.

When I moved last year, I set up the laundry room and adjacent bathroom to be his space, since I have other cats and I didn't want him catching anything from them. He went into car alarm mode, busted through the screen, climbed over the boxes I placed in front of it, and just generally rejected that setup. His idea of quality of life is to be in the mix, risk be damned. He's not a biter, so he's not a risk to my other cats. He likes his space and he's got a lightning-fast left hook, so everyone else quickly figured out to steer clear of the cranky old guy.

He figured out (or already knew) how to pluck at my bedroom screen to pop the loop off the peg holding it closed and slip out without leaving a trace. When I closed the window down to about a two-inch gap, he squeezed through after popping the screen. He pulled the screen in the door to the deck out of its spline. A real Houdini.

He got up to eight pounds last spring. He almost looked normal! But lately, he was looking skinny, so I took him to my new vet for another blood panel, urinalysis, and fecal sample -- the works. She looked at him and said, "textbook hyperthyroid." Hah! Ya think? He weighed less than six pounds! He's got an ear infection, a urinary tract infection, and an upper respiratory infection, all of recent origin. His bloodwork was fine -- great for a cat who looks about 17. I'm thinking he's got a malabsorption problem, but there isn't really a test for that in cats, so we put him on a course of Clavamox for possible E. coli small intestine bacterial overgrowth (and the infections). I've been feeding him three small cans a day of the fanciest cat food I can find (Merrick's, Felidae, I've sent off for some Wysong GeriatRx, the local pet store has ordered some Evanger's) and a bowl of yogurt, plus he free feeds on dry food with the rest of the cats.

He's getting his potbelly back and he's up to 6.5 pounds. I don't want to just sit back and watch this cat waste away on me. I know he's probably ancient, but he's got a lot of spirit and attitude and he's obviously not ready to go just yet!

So we called our animal communicator (pet psychic), with whom we've worked in the past. He tells her he's seven; he looks old and he feels old but he's not old. He was on the street for a long time, he couldn't be kept inside ("go for the screens"). He used to hang out under a big rig cab and has a history of exposure to toxic chemicals, which isn't showing up in his bloodwork yet but damage was done ("he's used up three of his lives"). She also sensed "a possible early-stage lymphoma, but he doesn't want a bunch of visits to the hospital, he just wants to be with you until he goes." He also groused, "There's a bunch of stuff going on but it's not worth going into."

Well, he's going to have one more visit to our vet for x-rays to explore this possibility, but it makes sense. I'm thinking of exploring an herbal regimen.

I had one cat who died in 2000 who had a suspected lymphoma effecting his spine (progressive paralysis), and another who died earlier that year who may have had it in her brain, since my vet said, "Cats don't have strokes" but I'd swear she did.

Outcome: Too soon to tell.

- By Nikki Mason's Mom -
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