It has been a little over two months since Rusty was diagnosed with HSA cancer causing us to amputate his leg.
In general cancer is an unknown. There are no timelines, no scripts to follow because cancer does not follow any of that. HSA is more common in dogs and can be very aggressive. As this is a rarer form of cancer in cats, we were very nervous about our two month follow-up with the vet. Everything is fine so far! The oncologist working with Rusty believes it is slower moving in cats, at least in Rusty. It was contained to his removed leg and he currently has no signs that it spread to the organs as it would in the more aggressive cases. The rate of metastasizing as shown in his labs on his removed leg was low. Our next appt will be in 2-4 months!
So how has life been since the amputation? Simply put, an adventure! My house could not pass a photo shoot for Better Homes and Garden magazine but Jackson Galaxy would be proud. Rusty needs help going up to his favorite perches so we have pet stairs going to the couch, his favorite chair, the window, the bed… with one set that is moved around as needed. For example, he wanted to help wrap Christmas presents this past week and stood looking at the chair that was at the end of the table. We moved his steps there and he jumped up onto the chair, then the table and laid down right in the middle of the wrapping paper. SO HELPFUL!
Our floors are covered with the foam tiles used for exercising as well as area rugs and runners. Litter boxes have lower sides which means a lot more cleanup around the box as the litter is kicked out. We have area rugs under the boxes so we can wash or vacuum as needed. I also have a hand vac that stays in that room since that is our new reality.
I do need to explore different types of litter. I haven’t changed his litter because I wanted to keep as much of his world “normal” as possible. Going into this, I was using the light weight clumping litter. While great for the daily/multiple times a day scooping that happens, it will have a tendency to stick to him. He will clean himself but if I can help avoid this, I will try. Maybe if there is a litter that isn’t a fast acting clumping litter it would be better. I will experiment.
If anything, Rusty has become even more loving and cuddly since the surgery. He will often be sleeping in our bed (whether or not he leaves room for others is a different blog entirely!)
I am very grateful for the support that has been given by the Tripawd Community throughout this process. If anyone reading this wants any information on what I have done in this process, please reach out!