Well, it’s been a really rough three weeks. The first thing that happened was on January 1, no kidding, when I came down with a case of the flu (much worse than the before-Xmas flu). It’s going around. A lot of people are sick with this thing. Anyway, it hit me with a very high fever and huge gastrointestinal issues. Terrible. Plus, one night, delirious with fever, I fell against the bathroom wall and injured my wrist. Ouch.

Because my wrist was all swollen and hurt like the dickens, and I feared it might be fractured, Stefano took me to the emergency room at Florence’s university hospital, Careggi. We spent 13 hours there. They checked me out thoroughly, not just my wrist, but everything, from head to toe.

Result: I had pneumonia, but luckily my wrist wasn’t broken. No fractures, nothing. Just a bad trauma. So they put a sort of splint (which was partly a cast, too) on my arm for a week, and now that the cast is off, I have to wear a brace for another 10 days or so. My wrist will be fine. Oh, and my pneumonia is gone, but I still have to be careful…so I’m convalescent, well, I’ve actually been convalescent for more than a week now.

So things are getting better for me, physically, I mean, and in fact I can finally use my left hand to type a little bit.

But something simply awful happened on Friday morning. I found Priscilla, our 14.5 year old cat, lying on the bathroom floor, panting, not moving at all. She didn’t respond to my voice, as she usually does. Scared the heck out of me. Here I was, with a brace on my arm, unable to do anything for her…pick her up, etc.

I called my cat sitter who came over and drove us to the vet clinic.

In a nutshell, after a whole bunch of tests were done on Priscilla, we found out that she had advanced heart failure and that her chest was full of pleural fluid, which the vets aspirated, well, most of it. The prognosis wasn’t good, of course. But the vets said that if she responded to treatment, she could come home with us…as early as today, Monday, yes. So we left her at the clinic. We really didn’t have a choice, since we believed that she would get strong enough to come home…

Knowing what I know now, I wish now that we’d just brought her home on Saturday.

Yesterday, early Sunday evening, that is, Stefano and I were preparing to go see her at the clinic, at the regular visiting times, when we got an urgent call from the clinic. Priscilla had gotten much worse, and we were told that she was on her way out.

We rushed over to the clinic, but we arrived too late. She had passed away just a few minutes before we got there.

We didn’t have a chance to hold our sweet kitty and say goodbye, and let her know that we were there and loved her. And that’s what’s killing me right now…and Stefano, too, of course.

It just went so fast. Too fast. We weren’t prepared at all for this. She was here with us on Friday…and gone yesterday.

We’re devastated. Absolutely shattered. We now need time to mourn…we need time…Oh, this is so hard. I just wanted to let you know that I probably won’t be here on the blog or FB anytime soon. Sorry about that. I’ll be okay, but, as I said, I need some time…

Now I need to stop typing because my wrist is bugging me.

Take care, everyone. I’ll be back as soon as I feel better. Ciao!!!

Possible case of feline oral (malignant) melanoma

Because our 11-year-old cat, Peekaboo, has been very aggressive toward the new kittens…stalking them, pushing them into corners and then hitting them until, screeching like hyenas, thus giving us heart attacks, they manage to escape (mind you, she doesn’t hurt them, no blood is shed, e.g., but she really scares them, and that isn’t nice at all!), I finally took her to the vet clinic yesterday morning for a checkup.

When, back in May, I took Pandora and Pixie to the clinic to be spayed, I spoke about this aggressive behavior with the vets who agreed with me that Peekaboo might have some sort of painful physical condition. Pain can make a cat aggressive. Well, come to think of it, pain can make ANYTHING aggressive!!! Made sense to us, since she has never been like this before…

Soon afterwards, though, I came down with bronchitis, so the appointment got postponed. Until yesterday, when my schedule finally coincided with the good vet’s schedule.

As soon as the vet began the checkup, however, Peekaboo started growling ferociously and acting like a wild animal. I’ve never seen her like that…and she has certainly NEVER behaved like that at the vet’s. She’s usually super friendly with human beings, even vets. Not this time. It was so bad that we decided it would be best to have her sedated to have all her tests done. This turned out to be a good thing, as we will see.

To make a very long story short, her blood and urine tests were fine, her abdominal ultrasound was also fine, and her spinal column is in good shape. All very good news.

BUT, and unfortunately there may be a big BUT (!), the vet found a small black spot on her gum (lower, left side) that worried her so much that she used a fine needle to suck up some cells, which she then examined. If Peekaboo hadn’t been sedated, the vet wouldn’t have seen the spot.

Apparently, there were some malignant cells in the sample. The vet thinks it might be oral (malignant) melanoma, which is quite rare in cats, but this diagnosis needs to be confirmed by the oncologist and by a biopsy, which Peekaboo is having done today (I had to leave her at the clinic last night), together with a CAT (hah!) scan. We won’t know the results of the biopsy until next week…

Stefano and I are incredibly worried, of course. If this turns out to be oral melanoma, the prognosis really sucks…

For now, all we can do is wait and hope…

P.S. Does anyone have any experience with feline oral melanoma (just in case that’s what this “thing” turns out to be)? Thanks!

P.P.S.S. Incidentally, the first three photos show Peekaboo as a kitten in 2007; the first two were taken in July, just before and just after we adopted her; the third, in November 2007. The fourth, not-very-great photo, taken with my cellphone, is more recent: June 25 2018. Our beautiful girl!!!

Piccolo (2003-2017)

This morning we had to say goodbye to our Piccolo. And now he’s gone, too, so soon after Puzzola…

I’m still in shock. So is Stefano. We still can’t believe this happened…I mean, yesterday morning he was still walking around, bumping into things, BUT walking…and today he’s gone.

He stopped eating day before yesterday and, well, it  just went downhill from there.

After trying everything I could think of, I finally took him to the vet yesterday afternoon, and she said we had two choices–try to do something OR put him to sleep right there and then.

I opted for the former, because I still had some hope that he could recover. He underwent some treatments (nothing too harsh, except for the force-feeding, which was as gentle as possible), and then I took him home.

Last night I slept with Piccolo on my chest and stomach. He was still a big cat, even though he’d lost some weight lately: 13 pounds (6 kilos). I wanted him to feel my warmth, since his body temperature was low, as I found out yesterday. He didn’t move but fell asleep immediately.

I woke up around 1:30 AM because he was getting a bit agitated and moving around on me.

I was afraid he might fall off the bed, so I took him into the bathroom where we’d put his fuzzy bed yesterday afternoon. I covered him and, after making sure he was okay, went back to bed. This morning he was in the same position I’d put him. He didn’t move or wake up.

We both said, “it’s time to let him go.”

To make a long story short, we called the vet hospital (they already knew, actually, since I’d called them last night when he was scrambling around, trying to walk but not being able to, very agitated…We almost took him in last night, but our vets weren’t on duty, and I didn’t want a stranger to do it…). 

After checking him out, the vet told us we’d made the right decision.

It’s likely that he’d had another stroke yesterday at some point…

He would never have recovered.

And so he’s gone…our sweet, loving boy, the one who brought balls to us while we were in bed, our retriever cat who stopped retrieving as he got older but would bring us balls anyway, for us to throw down the stairs. Then, when we’d refuse to get up and go get the balls ourselves and bring them to him, he’d look at us so reproachfully…

My boy, who slept on me (as you can see in the last photo…he was gazing into my eyes…). Whenever I was ill, he was always on the bed, nursing me back to health.

He also Skyped with my parents. Of all our cats, he was the only one to do that. He really looked at them and followed their movements. Such a smart kitty.

My big purrbox, who’d stopped purring in August. Oh how I missed his purr…I’d give anything to hear it again. Before August, all I needed to do was look at him, and he’d start purring.

My heart is broken. Stefano’s heart is broken.

We are simply devastated.

Two beloved cats in two months.

It’s too much.

It’s simply too much.

P.S. If you hover your mouse over these photos, it will give you some info and dates.