Hello, I have been lurking (and occasionally posting) for awhile, but usually didn't have too much to say. But now I think that I need some advice, or at least a sympathetic ear, from confirmed cat-lovers. (My husband said, "She's nine years old, and we already spent 2K on her previous surgery. Maybe it is time to consider her 'totalled'")
My cat Polly is an estimated 9 years old, and was referred for an ultrasound to evaluate her kidneys after she was found to have high-normal BUN/creatinine levels and abnormally dilute urine in November. Well, I put it off because of holidays and stuff, and then in March or so the u/s showed two masses in her liver, one 2.5cm and one <1cm. Chest x-ray is negative, echo for her heart murmur showed some myocardial fibrosis. She is slightly anemic. Needle biopsy was non-diagnostic. So, the million-dollar question, to operate or not? I will have to draw out of my savings, sure, but it's not like it is a choice between surgery or groceries. But what is the right thing for her??
Right now, she has a waxing/waning appetite and has been losing weight, but is relatively asymptomatic. The vets are pretty sure that these are tumors, whether benign or malignant. One mass appears about 0.5cm larger on repeat u/s one month later; however that vet said that she might live months to years before these masses got large enough to cause her trouble.
The surgeon feels that she may or may not be able to completely remove the smaller mass, because of where it is located. She thinks that debulking would likely extend her survival (assuming she does not have metastases that we don't see on u/s). However, because of her age and comorbidities, surgery carries a 30% mortality rate up-front, plus risk of worsening her heart disease or pushing her over into frank renal failure. Also, she gets pretty terrified at the vets and didn't eat for 24 hours after the biopsy-she hid when she came home.
Just background, I adopted my little tuxedo polydactyl as a "stray"; she acts semi-feral, however. She was NOT happy when I married and we became a multi-cat household, and was terrified by Catkin when we adopted him as a 10-wk old kitten. I thought about finding her a new home, but she has intermittent litterbox issues, and I was afraid that not everyone would be so patient; I only noticed it after my husband and his cat moved in, but still... She also walks with a wide-based hindlimb stance and occasionally runs into you if bolting, but shows no tremors and can jump to counters, etc. So I am not sure if she has a mild form of cerebellar hypoplasia or something else. They would have a neurologist look her over before surgery. In 2004, she had a bile duct obstruction and underwent surgery. She has an enlarged spleen, which showed extramedullary hematopoesis on biopsy. She also has chronic respiratory congestion, likely feline herpes.
If she dies on the table I'll blame myself for killing her for the rest of my life. But can I sit there and watch her die of cancer without trying to do anything? I know that this is irrational, but I was worried about what would happen to her after I die, and now I feel as though I made her sick/she will predecease me. And I feel guilty that she hates living with other cats; during the day, she stays with Zappo up in the bedroom, but in the evening the other cats keep her cornered on the plant rack. (I bought her a heated bed to put there; I think originally she was attracted to the heated seed starting mat.) Whereas when it was just her an me, she would sit on my lap. I feel as though I have failed her. I just don't know what to do.