We had a feeling it was time.
Maxie passed away Saturday morning, November 23, 2019, at 10:40 am. He fought his illness with courage, strength and grace. The odds against him were long, the options very few.
We had kept closer track of the health of both Midnight and Maxie after the unexpected passing of Tuxie in 2016. Both received the full senior cat exam beginning with their annual check-up in 2017. It made sense. The values of most importance were kidney function, liver function and thyroid function. In her exam, Midnight was very fit – not overweight, all of her values were down-the-middle normal. She could use a dental, but it wasn’t a necessity. Maxie, while fit, his kidney function values were slightly elevated. Everything else was down-the-middle normal. Accordingly, Maxie’s kidney function would be monitored more closely in the succeeding years.
Until experiencing a stomach upset earlier this year, Maxie’s health was rather normal. His kidney values, in 2018, had not changed from the previous year. A good thing. When retested in February, his kidney values showed a slight increase, but not indicative of any kidney issues.
In early October, a wellness check was made on Maxie. He had lost weight, and one could feel his spine. We had to determine whether Maxie’s kidney health was becoming an issue. While examining Maxie, Dr. Ramsel could feel a mass in his abdomen, on his spleen. To better ascertain the situation, an ultrasound was recommended. The ultrasound revealed a tumor mass on his spleen. His other major organs and digestive system were structurally fine. Moreover, there were no signs of metastasis. Splenic tumors in cats are very rare, but pernicious. It is a terminal condition with an outlook of 3-6 months after diagnosis. Treatment options are fewer. A splenectomy is non-curative, and may extend life for another 3 months. Aggressive chemotherapy is a poor option in which the health is quite fragile. The other option is a less aggressive treatment with prednisolone. While it is steroid, prednisolone is known to possess chemotherapeutic properties. It would not arrest the tumor, nor shrink it, but could slow tumor growth. Working in Maxie’s favor, he was still eating well, drinking his water well, and grooming himself.
During a follow-up check earlier this month, it appeared the tumor had not increased in size. It was too early to dare to hope, yet it was a good sign. Most troubling, though, was his weight loss. While we knew colder, more wintry days would pose a challenge, it was important to keep Maxie eating and drinking water, and keeping him warm.
Before leaving for Las Vegas, for the horse show, Maxie promised he would await our return. He warmly greeted us when we returned.
Over the last few days, Maxie laid in the sun, warming his furs. He was enjoying his most favorite Fancy Feast flavors, and baby food treats to keep his appetite running. Maxie even took time to work the scratcher boxes. And, he was sitting with his one on a nightly basis again.
Then came a wintry day this past Friday. It sapped all of his strength. Yet, Maxie gathered enough strength for one last lay on the lap, one last lay in a lamp’s warming light, that evening.
In her exam, Dr. Ramsel could feel the tumor mass had grown. It was time.
Our Maxie was a brave cat. He led Tuxie and Midnight to our front porch hours after their mom-cat was captured and taken away by animal control. Maxie kept vigil for several more hours waiting for their mom-cat on our porch. When they lived outdoors, he led Tuxie and Midnight into an open garage of a house across the alley, during a snowy and cold winter night. And, he led them to our back deck when he heard me calling for them the next morning. When it was time to come in from the outdoors to the warm indoors, he was the last to enter the patio. Maxie was cautious, unsure if we were indeed the safe harbor. But, in the relative warmth of the patio with lots of kibble, unfrozen water and a certain brown blanket, we earned his loyalty and affection.
Maxie was a true Musketeer in every sense, “One for all.”
Forever in our hearts
Maxie, Brave Prince & Loyal Musketeer
July 25, 2005 – November 23, 2019