Hi, I’m Jerry; I’m a pretty laid-back guy, and I live by the philosophy of “Whatever”. I’m calling this blog “Three Cats, Eleven Paws” because, besides my Dad, I have two other cats in my life and I thought it was a witty title. I’ll mention the other cats and my uncles from time to time in my blog.
My Dad tells me I’ve been rather lucky in life, though I’m sure some of that must come from my relaxed attitude about everything, really–even down to becoming a Tripawd cat in June, 2014.
Here is the cast of characters in my life:
- ME (of course)
- Uncle Mike
- Uncle Tigre
- Gordy (AKA Nemesis-in-Residence, or just Nemesis)
To understand anyone, one has to know their story so I’m going to share a bit of mine here. My earliest interaction with humans was just sheer luck, setting a trend that would last for a lifetime, I always like to think.. My brother Tom and I were found after being abandoned by our mom when we were only 5 weeks old. Some kind human found us and took us to the vet’s where we met our Dad Joe.
Here we are at nine weeks of age:
We happened to meet Dad on the day his last kitty, Davidson, was called across the Rainbow bridge to be with his brothers, Harley and Bailey. My brother Tom must have sensed he was missing his buddy a lot, because the moment he met our future Dad, Tom climbed right up Dad and sat on his shoulder and claimed him as his own. It worked and we got our forever home May 31, 2005, thus proving that nuzzling anything makes it forever yours.
Dad here – these two had my heart as soon as I saw them….
At first, the place was big and scary, but as we grew up it strangely got smaller and lots more fun. Besides feeding time and getting treats, my favorite time of day is when Dad gets home. No matter where I am, I always run to the door to greet him.
For years, the three of us had a great time, just living the best life without any worries beyond finding a sweet place to snooze and getting as much time around Dad as possible. My catchphrase truly became “whatever” at that point. I figured I survived being an abandoned kitten and found a great home, so why worry about anything else?
Even when Gordy came into our home, I didn’t care. (Dad literally rescued Gordy off the street.) Of course, part of that was just feeling kind of bad for the guy, because when Dad first brought him in, he was little more than skin and bones. Since we were still getting our share of the food, I didn’t mind him joining the family. As my brother will tell you, playing isn’t really my thing anymore, so it was very nice to point Gordy his way whenever either of them wanted to play. Finally gave me some much needed uninterrupted sleep!
One day when I was 6 things changed, and I found that luck once again came to my rescue. I had the strangest thing happen, where my body froze, I couldn’t stop drooling, after which I’d yell very loudly. It was scary, but after a lot of doctor visits, I got some medicine that has controlled the seizures since then.
When I was 8, the vets found a lump on my left rear leg that Dad said was some bad thing called cancer. Luck was on my side for a while as he said it was in remission. Being a cat, I don’t understand this stuff so I’ll have Dad jump in to explain further.
Dad here: Jerry’s had a few major health challenges over the past 3 years. He was diagnosed with Epilepsy right around when he turned six in 2011. The first seizure was followed by many more until we finally managed to get it medically under control.
To this day, the memory of the yowl he’d let out as the seizure ended still sends shivers up my spine. Each episode was incredibly heartbreaking to witness–and frustrating to be unable to protect him from such suffering.
After many vet visits, lots of tests, waiting, worry and heartache, he was prescribed two drugs, with Keppra being the final one that has helped keep the seizures in check since 2011.
The cancer first showed up in June, 2013, and was diagnosed as non-vaccination related Fibrous Sarcoma. Unlike most cases, this was not related to vaccinations as it started about a month prior to the annual vaccines that year. Moreover, the lump emerged in an area that no vet would be able to use for such purposes.
The first treatment course involved surgery and radiation therapy. While it went into remission for awhile, and was at one point even thought to be possibly cured, the cancer came roaring back unexpectedly recently.
In May, 2014, I noticed bleeding from the site where the cancer had been, so I took him to the vet’s and a biopsy confirmed our worst fears: the cancer was back. After the first round of cancer, I had already decided that if it should come back, I would pursue amputation.
On the first round, I was advised the cancer was locally aggressive and amputation was a sure cure to the issue. Since we all wanted to save the limb, the vets and I decided to pursue surgery and radiation therapy.
I’ll let Jerry tell the rest.
Jerry here. On June 5, 2014, I became a tripawd cat. I’m still getting used to this, but I’m keeping my spirits up and being my same old self. I lost a leg? Whatever. That was yesterday and I still think luck is on my side, so why worry about anything? See below…
I’m adapting so well that my Dad, uncles and vet are all delighted that I’m recovering at such a rapid pace. It’s a little challenging to get around, but I’m finding my way.
I’ll tell you this: I simply cannot WAIT to be out of that stupid cone Dad keeps making me wear–and to be out of that den so I can get more time around him. After all, my favorite place in the world is somewhere near him whenever possible.
Dad again: When I first knew this was coming, I feared the worse–that my Jerry would change, and that he’d struggle so much to get around that the sight would break my heart. Instead, I see my same boy, being his usual self, quickly learning to zip around on 3 legs. In less than 9 days post-surgery, he’s already starting to figure out how to zip across the den where he’s recovering.
Jerry is such the star at our vet’s office that everyone just loves when he comes in. They rejoiced with me at how quickly he was adjusting post surgery. Within a day, he was already getting around and using the litterbox without issue.
After the procedure, the vet tested a lymph node above the amputation site to confirm there was no cancer and the lymph node came back clean – so it looks like we got it. I happened to be at the vet’s office when the results came in and Dr. C. and I did a happy dance when she read the results.
It’s truly amazing and inspiring to see that he’s the same boy I’ve had for years. In this blog, I hope to share his story going forward and to show the world that a cat isn’t going to let losing a leg hold him back from living a full, happy life.