On Wednesday my beautiful feline friend Nala went in for a major surgery. It was not an easy decision to make, but I’m glad we made it. Before we went to Hawaii, the veterinarian found a mass internally during her routine wellness examination. At the time, she thought it was quite large and Nala was also losing weight, so it was worrisome.
We did an ultrasound, which pinpointed the lump on her liver, and a biopsy, which was inconclusive. We had a hard decision to make – do surgery, or not? Well, we modified her thyroid medication (which she’s been on for many years) and she started to re-gain weight, so that was a great sign. After we returned from Hawaii, I met with the surgeon, and he thought we had a great case.
The surgeon believed that the mass was located in just one lobe of Nala’s liver, and all her tests showed that her liver wasn’t compromised in any way… yet. No way of knowing if it would become so, if we left it. Given her age – 16 in August! – and her small size, we were worried about the risks of doing a major surgery. Talking with the surgeon helped a great deal, and he believed the mass was not very large, hopefully easy to remove, and that it didn’t “look” cancerous. The risk of not doing surgery would be the mass growing to an inoperable size, and her increase in age.
We opted to do the surgery, and I’m glad we did. The surgeon said it was far easier than he expected (translate: a little cheaper too) and that she did fantastic. The mass came out easily and continued to “look” benign – perhaps a cyst she’d always had that suddenly grew. We won’t know for sure until the pathology next week. But so far so good – all the extra tests we paid for, including chest x-ray, did not show additional masses.
Nala is home now, as of last night, and doing ok. She seems uncomfortable and quite restless, but is eating ok. The incision doesn’t look as scary as I expected, though still quite nasty. She’s had a few stomach issues from the medications, which have been fun to clean up, but is walking ok and jumping a little. She’ll lie down, but it took her a few hours last night to decide to do so. Today has been a bit better. Cats recover quite quickly from surgeries, so we should see her acting like herself within a week.
Have you ever had to make a major decision about your pet’s health?
This is ‘Yucky’ (Lucky), a friendly cat who lives in out strata. He’s more outgoing than our Nala and more toddler-friendly than our Guinness. So, of course, Aiden loves him. If the neighbors are not around to play with, he asks to go look for Yucky.
Whenever the cat comes to cuddle with me, Aiden gets a little jealous. He’s a real Mama’s boy when it comes to my attentions. However, he also loves to cuddle the cat. You can see he’s torn between wanting to pet the cat and wanting to push her off my lap.
On the rare occasion, he’ll share my lap (and the love):
One of Aiden’s Christmas presents was a set of plastic fruit that can be divided using a plastic toy knife. There’s even a cutting board. Of all his toys, the knife became his favourite. He carried it around. He ran towards me for hugs… carrying it. He sliced the cat’s tail (gently, of course, as is his way) with it.
He even ran at me and stuck his head through the railing a la Jack Nicholson, brandishing his knife. Alas, we don’t have that on camera.
Also, we left it at my Uncle’s house on Boxing Day. Hopefully it’s not lost!
We were pretty nervous about introducing Aiden to a home with 2 cats. We didn’t know how they’d react. I was nervous, particularly, about Nala, our older cat. She went odd during my pregnancy and has since been on anti-anxiety medication – which has been great for her. It actually helped get rid of her over-grooming obsessions that have always been present.
All in all, the cats have done WAY better than I expected. I was a little nervous about them sleeping in our room when Aiden was in there too, but they took absolutely no interest in the bassinet or in him, when we co-slept. They were afraid, at first, I think. They were a little lonely for the first few months. But now, it’s like nothing has changed.
At first, we kept the bassinet covered with netting just in case one of them decided to sneak a peak or to leave a ‘present’ when Aiden wasn’t in there. But that was probably unnecessary. We do keep the door to Aiden’s room closed – partly for the same reason, but mostly because Guinness goes on ‘crazy’ meowing frenzies at night and Aiden doesn’t need a front row seat to those.
While awake, the cats have provided for much entertainment for Aiden. He took a liking to Guinness, pictured above, right away. Perhaps it’s his colouring. As Aiden has become more mobile, the cats have provided a target for his attentions. He LOVES to chase them down and to grab handfuls of their fur. We are trying to teach him ‘gentle’.
So far, so good. Neither cat is aggressive, yet, with this attention. In fact, I think sometimes Guinness will ‘play’ with Aiden. When Aiden grabs at him, Guinness will only move a foot or so before plopping down again – an obviously ineffective strategy of escape where a mobile baby is concerned.
I’ve heard a lot of people who have been nervous about introducing a baby to a household with cats. A lot of myths surround the issue. I say: just play it safe and don’t obsessively worry about it. It’s probably going to end up being easier than you think.