This post has been a long time coming, but not written in part due to the emotions, time of year and the general lack of me writing on this blog.
Mia was put to sleep on 30th December 2016. She had a very rare and aggressive form of muscle cancer in the mouth.
Going back to the beginning.
I rescued Mia from my grandma's nursery home (Springfield Manor), where Mia had "gone wild", to get away from her half-sister in the home and was living in the wild. This was in June 2016. She howled the entire way back, but once at home she settled in very quickly and was exploring within the next two days. I took her to the vet for a check up, where I was told she was in great condition, underweight at 5.25kg! That's not a small cat. Everything kept getting better throughout the next few months, though she never became a lap-cat.
I noticed in early October that Mia had a large lump in her mouth and took her to the vet who thought this may just be a cyst, with an option to take antibiotics or remove it. I was worried and didn't want to take any chances, so I asked for the lump to be removed. It looked painful, I was going to be away for work within the week and didn't want to not be there to watch recovery. I also requested the lump be sent for tests, to find out what it was.
The operation was a success, I had a much happier looking, sounding and acting cat. For two weeks, I carried on with life as normal, with Mia being her normal affectionate self, and then I got the call from the vet to say the lump was in fact a tumour, but the tests were 50/50 on it being this form of cancer. Additional tests and money were required to find out more, which I gladly paid for to make sure my cat was going to be OK.
Results came back: cancer. It may come back, it may not. By the beginning of November (less than 4 weeks after the operation), the lump was already coming back and I was suggested to go to Noel Fitzpatrick's practise in Guildford, which specialises in veterinary oncology.
The vets and nurses at Fitzpatrick were wonderful. The premises were second-to-none (although never been to a vet hospital before) and the staff were as wonderful as could be expected from the use of the Super Vet's brand. The round up of the visit was three options:
- Do nothing, palliative care
- Get a CT scan (£2,500)
- Get a CT scan and surgery (~£7,500)
No guarantees were given, in fact there was a chance that the issue would not be resolved. Not having pet insurance (I was due to purchase just before noticing the lump) also didn't help my resulting, horrible and terrible decision. I went to the vets to get pain medication and work through.
I watched over the following months as the lump got bigger and Mia's face distorted. She was medicated up to the hilt, so always seemed happy. Towards mid-December though, the sore started bleeding and Mia no longer ate dry food. It was only wet food and I slowly came to the realisation that I was being cruel to let things carry on as they were and took Mia to the vet. It was still a horrible shock to hear the vet say that she would advise letting Mia go as the lump was also infected, on top of being cancer. She'd lost 0.5kg in a week. Safe-to-say, I burst into tears.
Mia was my first cat in my first house. I've had cats before, including cats in Norway before we moved and Åsti and Karli in the UK, both of whom passed away last year. Three cats in one year seemed extremely cruel.
I'm so happy to have had the 6 months with Mia, to have given her a home and the extra months of life. My consolation is that if I hadn't rescued her, she would likely have died alone and in pain in the wild. At this way, I hopefully managed to give her a loving home and a lot of drugs to keep her pain free for a time. I'll never forget her.