I only know that my 12 yr. old cat is suffering from a rather quickly growing fibrosarcoma disovered sometime around October 2009....it is now the size of a tennis ball, but I never touch. Now he didn't want to use his litter box at, takes dumps on soft blankets, but does urinate in the box. He stopped eating his "hard" food and was drinking close to nothing.
The vet gave me 2 syringes of painkiller to give him each day, told me to get a lower litterbox, and I changed his litter to red cedar, which is very, very soft in a lower litter box, easier to climb up/down to. At least he stopped meowing since the pain meds.
I will not have surgery performed on him, removal of his leg or anything like that. How long might he be able to live as the tumor grows -- just an estimate please. He just wants to lay on soft material or blankets all day. I don't want to let this go on too long when he may begin to suffer more.
To your question, I can only say, its hard to say, how long he can live with a growing limb mass. At some point the mass may make walking impossible. It may outgrow its own blood supply and begin to decay in the now ischemic (poor blood flow) portion. The kitty may experience phantom sensation from the mass or the mass may become traumatized or self traumatized leading to skin ulceration, bleeding or infection. It is far more likely you will have to elect euthanasia based upon your own perception of how he is doing than he will be to display an absolute circumstance of "suffering" that must be immediately ended.
On another note, and with your stated desire to not have surgery in mind, I will say that if the mass is distal (far enough down) enough that the tentacles of tumor have not spread beyond the limb to internal lymph nodes or beyond, amputation may well be a chance at a cure and years of additional good quality life. Three legged cats do great, as my "Lefty" did for 15 years after a gunshot wound in 1993, eventually succumbing to kidney disease in 2005. Most people seeing her for the first time, could not tell she was a forelimb amputee.
I can understand the sentiment behind not wanting to disfigure an animal and the cost and uncertainty about what might be gained, but do know that pets are very unemotional about their disabilities and a 3 legged pet cares not about their "new" condition or what others may think. Surgery may well be a viable option to reconsider.
I realize that my cat's life is at the end of its road, and it saddens me greatly. I cannot go through with removing a legal and continue to be able to care for him. I can't pick him up since he is a large animal and I have many back/hip and fibromyalgia pain. One wrong turn and there goes my sciatica again for months on end.
I am now trying to feed him some high quality soft cat food to see if he will eat it and see if it helps to hydrate him. He did eat more today and he drank also. I will complete his week's worth of pain killers that I inject into a "pill pod" which is easier than squirting into his tiny ever-moving mouth. And he loves eating these treats.
He is mostly at rest all day, primarily laying down on a recliner that I laid down a fleece blanket for him and a soft pillow to lean on. He has rarely been sitting or laying down anywhere else. He hasn't been meowing which is a good sign, I guess, and I will see what happens by the end of the week. I could not bear to see my big guy suffering when he doesn't have to as that would break my heart more than anything.
The vet I just brought him to agreed that it would be soon if I wanted to euthanize him but I could try the regimen of moist cat food, water and soft litter in a low-sided litter box. He finally peed today, which made me happy.
Thank you for your caring and information. It is very difficult to go through this alone but I am fortunate to have my husband with me who loves the cat as much as I do. My children love him too, but one is an hour away and the other much closer, so I must call him to see the cat during his final days. His heart will break too.
Thank you for your latest reply. You are so right that the decision has to be best for all involved. For now he is eating and drinking enough to get by...once he stops eating and drinking...might very well be the time to say goodbye. Soon after, I will get myself another kitty and companionship with an animal is indescribable!
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