Max giving and getting love in the Oncology Department.

By Kathy Mordini

Two weeks ago, Max received his first chemotherapy treatment. He responded in his normal uncatlike manner – like it was a party – and proceeded to charm the entire Oncology Department. If you’ve dealt with chemotherapy before you know that getting the treatment is the easy part. What happens next is generally not so easy…unless you’re a pet.

In general, most pets tolerate chemotherapy better than people. There are pets that can have reactions and do get sick. In Max’s particular case, he is being treated with Vinblastine for his mast cell tumors. It’s a treatment that most cats tolerate very well.

Max was very helpful with the technicians during his first chemotherapy session.

So for the past two weeks, I’ve kept a close eye on Max to see if he’s part of the minority that has an adverse reaction or if he’s going to stick with the rest of the pack (or should that be clowder) and have an easier time of it. Here’s a little peek at what his past two weeks were like starting with his initial visit to Oncology.

Max is back to work on laundry day sitting on the clean, folded clothes.

Max has been back to normal “helping” around the house and generally getting into the same amount of trouble he has been getting into for the past nine years. I know he’s thrilled to have the silly cone out of his life and he’s been hanging out a lot with his little sister. In the end, he’s worn himself out enough to return to his favorite napping spots.

Max relaxing in his flounder.

Yesterday, Max was in for a recheck and his numbers were great. Although, he wasn’t quite as nice as normal to his girlfriends in Oncology…a bit feisty was the term used. However, there were several cats in chemo yesterday morning and I’m sure “feisty” was the mood all the way around with three cats in the room. Cats are a bit funny that way.

Max is now back at work on Chipmunk Patrol in my office.

In the few weeks since Max was diagnosed, I’ve had several friends that have had pets diagnosed with cancer. A couple have found out that their cats and dogs have something that is treatable with radiation and/or chemotherapy. Some pets had clean margins after surgery and are moving on with no treatment.

It’s tough.

Among my group of friends, many of us were already part of our little “team rescue” club. However, we didn’t think that we’d be starting a special club called “team cancer” with our pets. No matter what prognosis our pets are facing, we are all on board on one game plan – extra love, treats and fun for our pets.

As far as Max is concerned, it’s two down and one more chemotherapy treatment to go before we start radiation where his journey will continue.

Kathy Mordini is the Continuing Education Specialist at VSC. Max is a rescue kitty who truly believes he’s not a cat. He volunteers as a certified therapy cat for Love on a Leash. He likes visiting nursing homes but his favorite thing is participating in the reading program at his local library.