A blog about the restoration, remodel and renovation of a 1929 Chicago-style brick bungalow

What a Crappy Week

This week not only marked the one-year anniversary of my dear cat Axel’s death, but it also brought his littermate Günter to the vet, ultimately for more bad news.

Earlier in the week I noticed he wasn’t feeling well, and I thought I felt a lump in his abdomen. Along with his other symptoms I was convinced that he had lymphoma just like his brother did.

The vet couldn’t palpate the lump and thought I might have felt his kidney. His blood work came back with an extremely low white blood cell count, but otherwise normal. An X-Ray was inconclusive, but an ultrasound showed a slightly enlarged lymph node along with an abnormality in the lining of the small intestine. They were able to aspirate the lymph node, and the results showed the presence of mast cells.

Mast cell tumors are fairly common in both cats and dogs, and unfortunately when the mast cells are more systemic like Günter’s, the prognosis isn’t great.

The vet is recommending surgery to remove the spleen, which could increase his chance of survival, however it won’t cure the disease.

I have the weekend to decide, but I’m leaning strongly against surgery of any kind — since he will die from this sooner or later, why put him through the stress, pain and discomfort of a surgery that will not guarantee he’ll live longer? As much as it pains me, I think it’ll be best to enjoy whatever time we have left with him and prepare to let him go at the first sign of discomfort.

As much as I love animals, this is the part of pet ownership that tears me apart. Although Pete thinks I won’t be able to live without having a cat in the house, once Günter’s gone I just don’t think I can go through this anymore.


  1. Karen Anne on April 24, 2010 at 9:07 am

    I had a cat with recurrent mast cell tumors, but they were on his skin. They never seemed to affect him, so maybe they weren’t internal. It worries me that Günter isn’t feeling well, but maybe that is something else transient, I hope.

    I haven’t been able to get another cat since my last one passed away two years ago. Several had prolonged illnesses in their late teens. And my vet retired, so I really don’t have a trustworthy vet to depend on out here in the boonies. Things would have to change quite a bit before I could bring myself to get another cat.

  2. Kathy on April 24, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    Oh, Denise, I’m so sorry. I hope Guenther doesn’t suffer, and I hope you two can still spend some good days together.

  3. Priscilla on April 24, 2010 at 7:32 pm

    So sorry.

  4. Mom on April 25, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    I know that this is a very difficult decision for you to make and that you have done a lot of thinking about it. I support your decision but hope that Gunter has many more good days ahead. Love you (and Gunter), Mom

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