A very sad day…

Maggie May went to VSG this morning for her chemo, but unfortunately didn’t survive the anaesthetic.

Apparently it all happened very early on in the procedure, and very quickly; the vets didn’t even get a chance to take her blood to test or give her a proper physical examination. It was just too much for the poor little baby.

When we picked her up from VSG, she looked so peaceful and comfy. Because she died under the anaesthetic, she wouldn’t have been in any pain. Prior to going under, the vet said that she had been quite smoochie and cuddly with all the staff there, so they had given her a bit of a cuddle. I think Maggie knew.

The vet said that she’d had a look inside Maggie’s mouth, and the tumors had grown and locked her jaw semi-shut, which is why we were having so much trouble feeding her. She said that if Maggie had survived, we would have had major issues with that very soon.

On the way home with her, I kept looking in her cage, expecting her to move or snuffle, but deep down I knew that wasn’t going to happen. We’ve brought her home and left her in a place away from the other two cats until we get home from work where we will give them a chance to see her. She will be cremated tomorrow.

I’ve told Oliver, all of my close friends, and one of my aunts (the other one couldn’t care less, I’m sure), but with Priya being in South Africa she won’t have checked her phone yet. I feel really terrible that that may be the first thing she wakes up to on her phone. She loved Maggie dearly, although she was allergic.

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Maggie with Priya.

She was so good last night. She woke me up a few times, but she got really cuddly. She cuddled in nice and close. She spent most of the night cuddled up on my right upper arm, while my left arm cradled her. These are the last photos I have of her alive this morning. She was so comfy in bed. It was such a shame we had to disrupt her. Over the last few days she’s been yelly, discovered her love for the toilet and shower, given Dad and I loves, been quite good with her food (we changed the type of syringe we were using), has been outside on her own, demanded to go out on the deck with D’arcy, and has gotten really cuddly with me at night time. She’d had a really good night and a great last few days.

I thought I’d leave with some of my favourite photos of her. She was, and still is, our littlest bubbie girl.

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Trip to VSG

Maggie went to VSG today for a check up. She was reasonably subdued on the way there and back. She actually went to sleep in the consulting room while the vet was going to fetch something for us.

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Sleepy wee baby… who falls asleep at the vet?!

The vet weighed her and she was 2.64kg. She always reads a little less at VSG, but that still isn’t the best regardless. Maggie’s temperature was good.

We fed her this morning, so the vet wasn’t keen to sedate her. She took Mags away to try and get some blood to check if she was still a good candidate for the chemo, but Maggie got too ‘wiggly’ so we have to go back tomorrow after she’s fasted overnight.

The vet was extremely surprised at how well she’s doing. None of us are under any illusion that she’s fine and going to rebound from this – she won’t – but she’s ‘a trooper’ nonetheless.

We brought up about the lesions on the side of Maggie’s face, and the vet said she thought that they would have caused her a little pain before they erupted, but now that they have, she doesn’t think they’re causing her any pain at all. Tomorrow, she will clean them and have a look while Maggie is sedated for her chemo.

We haven’t given Maggie her anti-nausea pills for a while as we haven’t been able to get them. The vet gave us a prescription so we could get them from a human pharmacy if we needed to, but luckily, our vet called to say that they had received the ones sent from VSG, so Dad will pick them up after work today.

I’ve been away in Warkworth, around 76km from where I live, at a wedding over the weekend. I was concerned that, while I was gone, Maggie might fret. She wasn’t too bad in that respect, but she’s apparently been really good in others. She has developed a fascination with the toilet. She loves to go in there and yell because the acoustics in there amplify her voice. If anyone goes to the toilet, she will follow us in there and give us loves around our legs while we’re doing our business. She also loves the toilet being flushed. Nothing’s sacred in our household.

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“HEY! GUYS! GUYS! I’M IN THE TOILET! HEY! I’M IN THE TOILET!”

She managed to wake Mum and Dad up at 5am on Saturday yelling in the toilet. They decided to stay up after that to watch the America’s Cup.

She’s also been going in my room and yelling, trying to look for me. She’s been very affectionate, and even made a trip outside on her own and got her feet all mucky in the mud.

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“I’m here! Give me cuddles plz!”

When I got home yesterday afternoon, I gave her big cuddles in bed (not complaining – I was KNACKERED). She loved that and actually got way closer to me than she has done in recent times, and cuddled right up. However… she did wake me up periodically through the night last night. Last night she wasn’t panicked – it was more like she was wanting attention (see below video and imagine that, but every 5 minutes during the night). She went down the end of my bed at one stage and started to yell. It reminded me of one of our old cats Sara Renee. She ended up quite senile, and she was deaf, so she used to go into the hall at 4am and yell, not knowing where anyone was. In talking to the vet today, we wondered whether Maggie was losing her hearing, and the vet said that was quite likely.

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Our old cat, Sara Renee, when she was a kitten.

This morning, she was still cuddled up with me. She seems a lot happier and more comfortable now, which is good. I’ll update after her appointment at VSG tomorrow.

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Cuddly girl with a dirty wee eye in the morning.

I mentioned before that D’arcy was under the weather. Apparently, he came in from outside on the weekend with his back feet folded under him. Mum and Dad were scared something had happened to his legs or spine, so they took him to the vet. It turned out that he was severely constipated. A bit of stool softener and a vet’s finger up his bum, and he’s a-OK now.

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More chemo

Maggie went to the vet last week, and she’d gained 110g since the time she was there before that. She had another dose of chemo at VSG on Thursday. Poor thing. It’s a six hour day out for her when she has it.

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“I don’t wanna…”

After our chat with the vet specialist, Maggie was taken to have her bloods done to make sure she was still a good candidate for chemo. After about 20 minutes, a nurse came out and asked if we would mind if they sedated her because she was being a bit ‘ferocious’ (actual words LOL). Poor little bubbie. Luckily, she’d have to be sedated for her chemo so we decided it was OK.

Around half an hour after that, the vet specialist came out and told us her blood results were pretty good, and that her kidney function hadn’t deteriorated since the previous time she had her chemo. Maggie was given her chemo at that point.

We had left it a bit later than the three weeks we were meant to give her her chemo because the first time took a lot out of her. She was extremely subdued and quiet and we weren’t sure if it was a good idea to do it again. We brought that up in our consultation, and she’s been given a slightly smaller dosage this time in the hopes it won’t knock her so hard.

Once she got home, she was still under the effects of the anaesthetic, and was a bit wobbly on her feet. She was also a bit tired. I brought my blanket off my bed down and put it on the floor for her so she could cuddle up on it if she wanted to. We had to separate her from the other two for two days, so she couldn’t go up to my room like she usually does during that time.

We left for work for a couple of hours (at that point, it was around 3:30pm). When we came home, she was still a little bit wobbly on her feet, but boy, was she vocal! She was prowling around and meowing, almost monotonously. She would go out into the hallway and yowl when she couldn’t see us anymore. She’d follow us around too. She followed Dad up to the toilet and yelled at him the whole way.


Eventually, she tired herself out and started falling asleep on her feet. She had a quick nap on my blanket, then bullied Dad off his seat. She looked quite peaceful, although her breathing was a bit laboured and noisy.

She’s still pretty knackered. She’s integrated with the other two again and is able to sleep up with me at night. She tends to toggle between wanting under the covers and wanting to be up at the head of the bed. She’s generally very quiet at night when she gets settled.

We’re still syringe-feeding her. She’s still refusing to eat. We’ve been given an anti-nausea pill that we give to her once or twice a day, and she’s still taking her anti-inflammatory. A few days before her chemo, she had a long acting antibiotic administered to her to thin the discharge from her nose in the hopes that it would make breathing a little easier.

In talking to the vet specialist, she said that Maggie looked pretty happy and comfortable (albeit stressed because she was at the vet). She didn’t think Mags was in any pain, although she thought that she might have been frustrated with her nose being blocked, which is fair. I have a cold at the moment, and I can tell you I get super pissed off when my nose is blocked. Maggie still has a lot of strength in her, and although the nurse called her ‘ferocious’, we take that as being quite a positive thing.

I’ve had all three cats on my bed this morning. I don’t know where I’m expected to sleep…

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Going downhill again

We’re on the downward slide again. Maggie has stopped eating again even with the anti-nausea pill, so we’re going to start syringe-feeding her. She’s snorting again and her lymph nodes are quite inflamed. Either that, or she’s growing another tumour in her neck. This seems to be making mouth-breathing slightly difficult and she’s also finding it hard to get comfy to sleep. She gets a lot of discharge out of her nose and Dad has to clean it several times a day. I brought her up to sleep in with me the other night (little shit decided the middle of my single bed was the perfect spot for her) and she did relax and stop snorting after a while. We’re going to take her to the vet tomorrow, and then to VSG for her chemo. Hopefully things perk up a little bit a few days after her next chemo.

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Whipped

Maggie’s still eating moderately well, yelling at us to get the hell off her seats, and being cuddly. She’s started snorting a tiny bit again though.

All of the cats have been super smoochy over the last couple of weeks. Maggie has started cuddling up with Mum on the couch in the evenings, which is something she used to do when she was well. She still boots Dad off the chair and has him sitting on the floor, but Mum’s become the flavour of the week. Maggie’s even been sleeping under the covers with Mum lately.

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“Cuddling up with Mummy…”

Earlier yesterday, Rosie discovered Maggie’s spot in the sun behind the TV. Poor Mags was banished to in front of the TV in the cold to sulk. She did finally get her way in the end, once Rosie deemed the spot too hot.

I wanted to tidy my bedroom yesterday, because it looked like a bomb had gone off. It got messy while I was studying for exams at the end of last year, and became too overwhelming to deal with. I usually take all of my crap and sort it out on my bed. Maggie and D’arcy didn’t agree with this. I ended up lying down between them because I had nothing else to do. I made sure the heater was on, but the windows were open so that Maggie stayed warm but also had fresh air. I don’t know if this has any substance, but I feel like she might be able to breathe better with fresh air.

At some point this week in between graduation, Maori graduation, a black tie event, photoshoots, and about six stand-up comedy shows, we have to take Maggie back to VSG for her chemo… hmmmmm…

Yeah… we’re not owned by our cats… right?

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Weeks or Days Left :(

Sorry for the lapse in posts. I’ve been super busy with work, family stuff, and of course, taking care of Maggie.

Here’s what you’ve missed.

And of course, several vet visits and weigh-ins.

Maggie has started snuffling. We noticed it around the end of March, and it’s gotten progressively worse. We were scared a fistula might have formed somewhere. We took her to one of her usually scheduled vet appointments and asked for their advice, which was to take her over to VSG. We managed to make her an appointment to go over on the 4th, and were told that it was unlikely a fistula had formed, as she didn’t meet the criteria for it. Things to look out for are:

  1. Loss of appetite; at that stage, she was eating less, but not much less
  2. A high temperature; Maggie’s temperature was within the healthy range
  3. Foul-smelling discharge from the nose; although Maggie did have a lot of nasal discharge, it was her breath that smelt fouler

We went away happy that it was likely not a fistula causing the issue, but also none the wiser as to what was causing the issue. We ended up taking her back to VSG a few days later. We couldn’t see our usual vets so we saw another one. We left her at VSG so she could have a CT scan and some blood work done.

We had to leave her overnight as it wasn’t until after 4pm that she could get in to have the scan done. We went to collect her the following morning. At the appointment, the vet showed us the scan. The tumour has been resistant to the Palladia with Maggie, has come back, and has invaded her nasal cavity, and part of the left side of her face (the good side). She’s currently breathing through a tube around 5% of what she should be breathing through. That’s why she’s been snorting. It’s also why she’s stopped eating; when Mum puts food out every morning, she runs into the kitchen, takes a sniff of the food, and walks away. She can’t smell. We’ve been syringe feeding her. When we take her to her vet appointments now, they’ve also been syringe feeding her. She has cancer cachexia, so regardless of how much she was eating prior to this, she’s lost a lot of weight. As of today, she’s 3.31kg which is 70g above her lowest.

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She’s also been put on a different chemo drug. We’ve been told that this is pretty much the last option for her. The particular drug is harsh on her kidneys and attacks both cancer and white blood cells, so VSG has to administer it once every 3 weeks to allow time for the white blood cells to regenerate. Maggie has kidney failure, so it really is a last ditch effort. There is another drug that could have been tried, but if this one doesn’t work, the earliest she could safely be given it is 10 days after the dose of the one she’s currently on. It’s excreted in urine and faeces, so we have to segregate her from the other two cats for the first two days after it’s administered with a separate dirtbox. None of the cats have enjoyed that. D’arcy cries during the night, and Rosie has been incredibly worried whenever we have to feed her, as Maggie doesn’t tolerate it well.

Mum has been sleeping on the floor with her in the lounge at night, and Dad lies on the floor in the kitchen trying to coax her to eat on her own.

The most heartbreaking thing about it is that, although she’s struggling and is incredibly uncomfortable, she still seems happy. Maybe ‘happy’ isn’t the right word… perhaps ‘loyal’ would be more apt. She still purrs as loud (and snuffly) as ever. She loves brushies and face scratchies. When Dad sits down, she runs to him to give him loves. She gives us so much affection. I was home from work yesterday and I set myself up on the lounge floor with my duvet and laptop, and I put the TV on for us, and she spent the day sitting with me on the floor. She cried whenever I left her to go down the hallway to get something. She knows we’re upset and I feel like she’s trying to be extra affectionate to try and comfort us. She doesn’t like us being upset as much as we don’t like her being uncomfortable.

The vet said that if the drug is going to work, we should see very quickly. Unfortunately, we’re not seeing those changes. I’m afraid she has weeks or even days left.

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VSG Appointment

Maggie had another appointment at VSG today. She cried literally the entire way in the cage.

We got there about half an hour early. We usually leave super early because it could take us half an hour to get over to Mt Albert, but it could also take us two hours, depending on the traffic. We went through the Mt Albert McDonald’s drive-thru to grab some breakfast before heading to VSG. This is about the fourth or fifth time we’ve done that with Maggie in the car, and she is always interested in all the different food-smells.

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“What’s this??”

We had a bit of a wait in the waiting area, despite being there right on time. That was fine, as we got to meet a few of the other patients while we waited.

Maggie was 3.64kg, which was a little less than what she weighed on Tuesday. VSG’s scales seem to weigh her less, and she also hadn’t had a chance to have anything to eat before going this morning. The oncologist was happy with her weight regardless.

I brought up with the oncologist that I’d found a lump in her throat, around double the size of a pea. It just sits there and moves around under the skin when you feel it. She had a feel and could feel it too. She said that it’s possibly just a lymph node that’s still inflamed after her surgery, but that we should definitely keep an eye on it in case it isn’t. I’m happy she’s aware of it in any case.

Maggie obviously fought the vets today while being given her medication. They’ve added Metacam onto the list because we said that Maggie had been out of sorts each time she has her Palladia, now that she’s up to 3 a week. Since her blood work was excellent again, we’re going to need to manage the side effect of her going off her food a bit. She frothed at the mouth again today. This is pretty normal when she gets stressed out taking her meds.

She had a little bandage on her back leg from where they took her blood again. I took it off this evening because she always gets a bit irritated having them on. It was green with little black paw prints on it ^_^

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