The purrfect patient…

A quick update. Piccolo still has occasional, visible abdominal spasms, and his former formidable appetite is gone…but he clearly is ecstatic to be home and well on the way to a full recovery. How do I know this for sure? Well, this morning I found one of Piccolo’s toy balls on our bed (he must have dumped it there during the night)… 🙂

To our utter surprise, he has turned out to be THE purrfect patient. He licks his medicine right off the tip of my finger. No kidding. No running away and hiding under beds or behind boxes in the attic. No need for us to search the house inch by inch to find his hiding place. No need to stalk, grab and hold him down (=all of this is more or less what we have to do with Puzzola, our eldest kitty). None of that. Piccolo is making my nursing duties so MUCH easier …

And now for an amusing story (I think so, anyway). On Monday afternoon, as I was waiting for Piccolo to have his ultrasound, I heard a cat screaming bloody murder in one of the examination rooms. Oh, you have no idea…and this terrific meowing/screaming ruckus went on and on and on. I finally asked the secretary what was happening to that cat. Her answer: “Oh, he is having an ultrasound.”

An ultrasound…er, I see…

I retreated to my seat. Images of me sneaking Piccolo out of the clinic began flashing through my mind. But my sensible side took over, “forget it, Piccolo will be fine, this won’t hurt him a bit”… And, in fact, Piccolo was extremely brave. He didn’t even meow, let alone scream. He tried to get up a couple of times, but that was it. 

As “luck” had it, Mr. Scream-My-Head-Off, a gorgeous five-year-old kitty named Ciccio, occupied the cage next to Piccolo’s. A sign that read “MORDE” (= “HE BITES” in Italian) hung ominously on his cage door. I felt really sorry for Ciccio, who had one of those horrible Elizabethan collars circling his little neck. He looked totally miserable and growled almost constantly, which was very unsettling for Piccolo, as you can imagine. Early in our acquaintance, I tried cooing reassuringly to Ciccio, but that only seemed to make him angrier. I can hardly blame him. I would probably growl, too, if I were stuck inside a cage with a plastic torture device around my neck, AND a complete stranger making weird noises were looking in at me…

Anyway, on Tuesday morning I met Ciccio’s “owner,” a very nice, classy Florentine lady. We fell into conversation almost immediately, since we were the only visitors there. She told me that, like Piccolo, Ciccio also had acute pancreatitis.

“Ciccio is the sweetest, most darling little thing,” she beamed, snatching her hand away just as Ciccio reached out to scratch her. (No, I swear, I am not making this up…) “Yes, he is a really gorgeous cat,” I commented cautiously…

Anyway, I am happy to report that Ciccio had a loving (and rather oblivious) human family that visited him as much as we visited our Piccolo.

This morning I had to go back to the clinic to pick up Piccolo’s papers. I asked about Ciccio. The visibly relieved secretary informed me that he had gone home, too. She added that sweet darling little Ciccio had scratched the classy lady’s arms to smithereens right before they left the clinic…


  1. D6: Enhanced anti-tumor activity of a new curcumin-related compound against melanoma and neuroblastoma cells

    Sharing the common neuroectodermal origin, melanoma and neuroblastoma are tumors widely diffused among adult and children, respectively. Clinical prognosis of aggressive neuroectodermal cancers remains dismal, therefore the search for novel therapies against such tumors is warranted.

    Curcumin is a phytochemical compound widely studied for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Recently, we have synthesized and tested in vitro various curcumin related compounds in order to select new anti-tumor agents displaying stronger and selective growth inhibition activity on neuroectodermal tumors.

    Results: In this work, we have demonstrated that the new alpha, beta-unsaturated ketone D6 was more effective in inhibiting tumor cells growth when compared to curcumin.

    Normal fibroblasts proliferation was not affected by this treatment. Clonogenic assay showed a significant dose-dependent reduction in both melanoma and neuroblastoma colony formation only after D6 treatment.

    TUNEL assay, Annexin-V staining, caspases activation and PARP cleavage unveiled the ability of D6 to cause tumor cell death by triggering apoptosis, similarly to curcumin, but with a stronger and quicker extent.These apoptotic features appear to be associated with loss of mitochondrial membrane potential and cytochrome c release. In vivo anti-tumor activity of curcumin and D6 was surveyed using sub-cutaneous melanoma and orthotopic neuroblastoma xenograft models.

    D6 treated mice exhibited significantly reduced tumor growth compared to both control and curcumin treated ones (Melanoma: D6 vs control: P<0.001 and D6 vs curcumin P<0.01; Neuroblastoma: D6 vs both control and curcumin: P<0.001).

    Conclusions: Our data indicate D6 as a good candidate to develop new therapies against neural crest-derived tumors.

    Author: Marina PisanoGabriella PagnanMaria Antonietta DettoriSara CossuIrene CaffaIlaria SassuLaura EmioniteDavide FabbriMichele CilliFabio PastorinoGiuseppe PalmieriGiovanna DeloguMirco PonzoniCarla Rozzo
    Credits/Source: Molecular Cancer 2010, 9:137

  2. 2 cats in adjacent cages with acute pancreatitis? Is it common in cats? Any known cause? I had a bout of it many, many yrs ago, and it is quite nasty. Hope Piccolo is all better soon. Love the story about the “sweet, darling” cat (and the Larson cartoon)

  3. so glad your kitty is better. Love the cat story!!!!! It is good you have one easy to medicate or life could get overwhelming!

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