Our family is missing a member, as of last night. Liam the Cat has unfortunately left us.
He hadn't been eating since 4th of July weekend, which wasn't like him. So I took him to the vet, since he was due for his annual appointment anyway, thinking it would be some kind of bug. We would give him medicine for a few days (no easy feat to give medicine to a cat, by the way) and then everything would be back to normal.
I was shocked to hear the vet say that he could feel a large mass in Liam's abdomen. They took him back for x-rays, which revealed an extremely large tumor. The vet was almost positive it was lymphoma, although it really didn't matter: the mass was so large and so convoluted that it was inoperable, and it was blocking Liam's stomach. The poor cat wasn't able to eat (the x-rays also showed just how empty and small his stomach and intestines were).
The vet recommended that we put him to sleep. But when we asked about other options, he agreed that we could take Liam to the veterinary oncologist for a second opinion. However, he warned, any course that the oncologist recommended would involve chemotherapy and would only get us an extra few months with Liam.
MJ and I have strong opinions about chemotherapy for pets. We went through this with Rachel, our last foster dog, who was diagnosed with a mast cell tumor. Pets don't understand the concept of discomfort now resulting in a better quality of life later. Besides, the vet told us, cats don't tolerate the chemotherapy medicines very well, and the prognosis in Liam's particular case would be very poor. Liam would be miserable, throwing up and feeling awful, just so we could have a few more months with him. That seemed selfish and cruel to us.
So we said our goodbyes and held him as he went to sleep. We were both pretty emotional about it, although CC was oblivious, sitting in her carseat in the corner laughing and smiling the whole time. Everything just seemed so sudden. We couldn't even take him home and spoil him for a few more days, because the poor cat was starving.
Good bye, little dude. He wasn't the nicest cat, or the friendliest, or the happiest. He was definitely a grumpy guy. But he was a member of our family, MJ's first pet before I even met him, and it was tough to say farewell.