If I Choose Wrong, I'll be Not Any Cats

I’m down to my last cat.

His name is Shup. It’s short for Shupiluliumiash, a Hittite King.

He’s 18 years old, and he has a growth on his face. It’s about the size of a golf ball and it hangs from his lower lip near his face (as opposed to near his snout.)
It’s red and scabby, leaks blood occasionally, is covered with drool, and stinks.

Shup has diabetes, thyroid problems, and a heart murmur. But his readings on his last blood panel were pretty good. He eats well and seems happy enough.

I’ve been to my vet’s four times about this thing on his face. Each time, my vet was extremely reluctant to remove the growth, easily done though it would be.
(Honestly, snip, snip, snip, and it would be off.)

It’s the anaesthetic that she worries about. Shuppie is 18 years old after all, and there’s that heart murmur to think of. But the growth has gotten bigger since I’ve started bringing him in to show her, and she agrees that it probably should eventually be removed, or it might interfere with his eating. Or maybe it won’t, there’s no telling.

Since the results of the last blood test that was pretty good were told to me yesterday, I said I would call Monday about whether to schedule an appointment to have the growth removed.

I’ve mostly decided, yes, I want the thing taken off his face.

I mean, proportionately, if it were me, I would have a baseball-sized tumor hanging off my lower lip. Definitely, I would want it to come off.

I know it’s different for a cat. The cat doesn’t care about how he looks or smells.
But it can’t be pleasant eating with his face in the dish with this thing swinging around, splashing in the gravy, and in the water, and in the milk. He has no problems eating or drinking so far though.

It does get in the way of his grooming though. He doesn’t really try anymore, and it shows.

So, yes, I’ve mostly decided that on Monday, I will schedule the operation.

But if I’ve chosen wrong, and he dies from the anaesthetic, how will I feel? Will I really believe that I did it for his benefit? Or will part of me remember how gross the damn thing was, and how much I wanted that thing off his cute little face?

I can’t tell at this point. Yeah, he’d be better off without the thing on his face, but to risk dying for it?

With all my other cats, when the time came to put them to sleep, I knew it was time to let go. This, I’m not so sure. He isn’t sick. He isn’t miserable. If he dies because of this, I’ll feel guilty.

Sure, he’s old, and he’s got problems. But with medication, he’s normal.

I’ve mostly decided to go ahead, and have it taken off. But Monday is a long ways off yet. And I’m still thinking. :frowning:

Have you discussed pain and discomfort with the Vet? Cat’s hide pain well and this tumor may indeed be a cause of misery Certainly the smell doesn’t add to his enjoyment of food.

Best of luck however you proceed.

I’d like to add that if it’s infected that can’t be good for the overall health of the cat.

Does he really have to go under for snip snip snip? Jeez, rub a little Anbesol on it! :)Seriously, I don’t think you can just ignore it if it’s growing. Good luck to you both, whatever you decide.

My cat is 21. If I had the same decision to make, I wouldn’t hesitate. Roll the dice on the anaesthetic and have it removed.

However, I’d get a second opinion, preferably from a cat specialist.

But then I’ve been conditioned over the last 3-4 years by 4 different vets that wanted to use general anaethesia just to do a thorough teeth exam on her to think about the issue.

From what you’ve written, I’d make the same decision you’re making. Even if it’s not painful I can’t imagine that the cat isn’t aware of having something hanging off of his face. Something like that would annoy my cats to no end. Good luck to you both.

I’d go ahead with the surgery. The one thing that convinced me is that he’s no longer able to groom himself. That inability is torture for a cat. And go easy on yourself if he doesn’t make it; you are doing the right thing.

Good luck, Shup!

It sounds like his quality of life is slowly degrading with the increasing size of the growth, so you will have to address it at some point. Better to remove the growth and risk him not coming out of anesthesia than to get an aggressive infection that cannot be easily treated. I think you made the right decision, and there is still a good chance that he will come out of anesthesia successfully. Wishing him good luck!!!

My thought is that if it doesn’t come off now, it’s going to need to come off later and a 19 or 20 year old cat has even less of a chance of making it through the anaesthetic than an 18year old cat. I would have it removed.

Is it really loose? Is there any chance that it could be removed with an elastrator? I mean, if they can use it to remove testicles, it might work for a dangling tumor.

I think I’d have to have it taken off, too. Good luck Shup!

Having dealt with Zombie Kitty, I land firmly on get the growth removed regardless of any chance it will die. Zombie Kitty was literally dropping pieces and leaving fluids all over because stuff was left too long. I will not link to my thread about Zombie Kitty.

I’d get it done.

  1. The cat isn’t getting any younger, nor the growth any smaller. It may have to be done later, and be riskier then.

  2. Cats like to be clean. I bet the cat hates it.

  3. An eighteen year old cat has had a long, full life. It’s not an unreasonable risk.

JMHO and best wishes with it.

Oh, I really hate to say it, having owned many cats, but 18 is really old. I had one get to 20, most have managed 15 or 16. I’d think about the Long Goodbye some at this point…of course, I’m of moderate means, but surgery on a cat this old…

The surgery in itself is minor, it’s the anesthetic that’s dangerous. I’m of means less than moderate at this point, but if he makes it through, from the way he acts I’d say he’d be good for another year or two. The price she quoted me wasn’t outrageous.

Thank you everyone for your suggestions and your kind words. I’m calling to schedule the operation on Monday.

Good luck!

*** bumping in hopes of getting an update? ***

Yes, good bump. Too Many, do let us know how things go.

Hoping Shup breezes through…

Not much to update. I’ve scheduled the operation for next Tuesday. My vet says she will be handling the anesthetic, so that another vet who’s a little faster with the knife will do the actual cutting. I guess that’s so he’s under the gas for less time.

Shup’s fine for now. Thanks for asking. I definitely will let everyone know what happens.