My husband and I were newly married; I was finishing school while my husband worked two jobs. While we had both grown up with pets and wanted a pet of our own, we didn’t think we had time to devote to an animal. And of course, that’s when one shows up: a skinny, long-haired orange kitty with a gorgeous fluffy tail. She was sitting in our driveway one day when we got home. She ran away when we tried to pet her, but she showed up the next day, and the next, and the next. We left food and water outside for her, and she soon learned to trust us. As fate would have it, she was pregnant and gave birth to five sweet kittens on our front porch not long after she adopted us. We found homes for 4 of the kittens, but we kept her (whom we named Elizabeth) and one of the kittens.
She lived with us for nearly 10 years, and grew into the softest, fluffiest cat we had ever seen. Then one day while we were petting her, we felt a swollen area in her left cheek. She was so fluffy that we wouldn’t have noticed if we hadn’t petted her. We took her to the vet, who was concerned, so he did a biopsy. The diagnosis was cancer. I never thought about pets getting cancer. His recommendation was chemotherapy. Everything I had ever heard about chemotherapy included dreadful side effects, but he told us that cats don’t lose their fur or suffer the ill effects like people do. It was a very expensive and time consuming procedure. We had to bring her to the vet once a week for her chemotherapy. But she was our baby and we would do anything, including dipping into our savings, to help her. After a few weeks, the tumor in her cheek started shrinking. She had to wear a cone because she kept wanting to claw at the tumor area.
One afternoon while we were out, she managed to get out of her cone and scratched at the tumor. She knew it didn’t belong there. She injured herself badly and lost a lot of blood. When we found her, we rushed her to the vet, but by the time we got there, her heart had stopped and they were unable to revive her. We tortured ourselves with so many what-ifs. We knew the chemotherapy had been helping her. But for now, we must find solace in the fact that she is at peace across the Rainbow Bridge.
– Donna K. from Long Island, NY