My Burmese cat is lethargic and dehydrated, not eating. I took him to
the veterinary clinic as soon as I could. The veterinarian informed me he
has a cancerous mass under his tongue and a larger malignant mass in his
abdomen. The cat is in pain and will go very soon, perhaps at the end
of the week. He is fifteen years old.
My stomach froze, the blood left my head and I had to sit down. The
veterinarian and I discussed options -- her beloved died at 14 of the
same thing, so I know it's not a matter of care or diet -- some cats
have sturdy constitutions and some don't.
I had a Burmese who was 19 years, 9 months when he passed from
end-stage kidney disease (diagnosed at 16) ; his half-sister died of
liver disease at the age of eight years. I am not beating myself up
with what-ifs, because I take good care of my animals, but I am shaken
and tearful. Two cats I've had managed to make it to 19 years, that's
late nineties for humans. Love and good diet aren't enough to get a cat
to live long: genes count for a lot. Take it from someone whose mom died
at 58, dad at 64, brother at 44. If I told you one smoked and drank for
most of their life, and another took martial arts, ran, swam, bicycled
and worked out and died with a heart enlarged to twice normal size,
you'd not guess correctly who died at what ages if you went by
lifestyle and diet.
This year is marked with a lot of grief and anxiety for me; it's
different in that I've befriended people who're advanced enough in life
that they are comfortable with melancholia, familiar with grief, and are
grateful for the kind-hearted souls able to shoulder some sorrow with some
He vomited blood overnight. I made an appointment to euthanize him
today. We're sad and quiet.