This past week has been a scary roller-coaster ride of emotions, primarily when it comes to the cat. She went in for a vet visit on Wednesday and her kidneys were smaller and she’d gained a little weight, which seemed like promising signs. The labs came back on Thursday and the tiny bit of hope we had was dashed to pieces, as they told us that her kidney function has declined significantly (again). (We did manage to get rid of her e.coli infection, so that’s something I suppose). She didn’t eat much on Thursday or Friday and was lethargic and disoriented, so we had some friends over for dinner to say goodbye to her, since what we were doing, pallative-care wise, seemed not to be doing much for her anymore. She did eat a little bit of rotisserie chicken on Friday, but we didn’t have high hopes that she’d ever do much getting out of the little nest she made for herself on the couch.
On Saturday we talked about our options, and made some plans for her end-of-life care that would have put Loki at Dan’s parents’ house, us in the car driving to California, and Petra in the ground this Thursday. We watched with tears in our eyes as Loki bathed her and kept her warm in her little couch nest. Sunday we saw Dan’s parents and asked if we could bury her at their house, and then we went to the same Christmas tree farm as last year and found our Charlie Brown tree. When we got home, Petra seemed more energetic and far less disoriented than she had in days. She actually looked and acted like herself again, going so far as to do her trick for kitty treats eight times in a row last night, eating and drinking, using the litter box, and stretching out on the throw rug in the kitchen. She even begged for some chicken from my dinner plate as I was sitting next to her couch nest while eating last night, something she’d never done before.
The only thing we can think of is that she’s rallying a bit thanks to several days of prednisalone treatment, a steroid we’re giving her to help control her kidney inflammation. It won’t make her better in the long-term but I guess in the short-term it’s helping her feel a little better. The form of cancer she has is very aggressive and cats don’t tend to live very long; she’s already outlived the 4-6 weeks generally cited.
So now we don’t know what to do. We want her to have as much good quality of life as we can. We know now for sure that it’s renal lymphoma so she doesn’t have very much longer at all, and we’re (for the most part) at peace with that. But how do you know when is the right time to say goodbye?