Some of you may remember Seymour, who came to us last year after turning up at one of our managed feral colonies. He was a friendly, declawed cat, and he was a hot mess. Sick with upper respiratory infection, underweight, and his mouth was full of rotten teeth.
We got him well enough to undergo surgery, then took him to our dental specialist, Dr. Juriga, in Oswego. We thought Seymour was going in for routine dental work, some cleaning and polishing, a few extractions. But then Dr. Juriga did an exam, took some x-rays, and gave us the news no one wants to hear. He said Seymour almost certainly had oral cancer that had invaded his jaw bone. He advised a bone biopsy and removal of only the most urgent, painful teeth, until the biopsy results came back.
Photos of Seymour’s mouth on surgery day, pen pointing to the jaw tumor.
For 3 days we anxiously waited for the biopsy results and when Dr. Juriga called with them, it was our worst fear: the lab results indicated squamous cell carcinoma. Dr. Juriga explained that there was no successful treatment, this was a very aggressive cancer, he advised strong pain killers and hospice care, and gave Seymour a very grim “2 weeks to 3 months” estimate on his remaining time. It was devastating. Seymour was an amazing cat who everyone adored.
We got a hospice protocol set up for Seymour and started him on his pain medication, determined that he would never suffer under our watch. However, after 4 days, Seymour seemed to be acting like his normal self so we decided to take him off the pain drugs and put him back on them when he started to decline. 4 days turned into 4 weeks and Seymour still seemed fine. Maybe he was just a tough old tom cat?
Around this time a wonderful family came along who wanted to adopt a special needs cat. We talked to them at length about Seymour and, proving that they are really angels in disguise, they opened their hearts and home to Seymour as a hospice foster, fully knowing that any time he had left would be very short.
Seymour goes home.
For months now, Seymour has been thriving in his foster home. He eats with gusto, he seems to have zero pain. Many times we have all remarked “If this cat has cancer, I will eat my shoe.” But we all walked on eggshells, careful not to say too much about it, lest we rock the boat and jinx Seymour’s good health.
Finally we could not stand it any longer and Seymour had FAR exceeded his time sentence, so on Monday we all took Seymour back to see Dr. Juriga, who was both floored and happy to see Seymour back in his office! After a full exam, Dr. Juriga confirmed that there was no swelling in the jaw any longer (originally thought to be a tumor), he confirmed that Seymour’s lymph nodes were normal, and he said quite simply, there is no way Seymour has cancer. All signs pointed to cancer when the lab sent their diagnosis last year, but THEY WERE WRONG. We must have asked Dr. Juriga 100 times to make absolutely certain, but the official word is that SEYMOUR IS CANCER-FREE!
Seymour at the vet Monday.
We could not have received better news. No one saw this coming. Even Dr. Juriga said this is only the second time he’s seen anything like this. As it seems, Seymour is going to go on to live a full, happy, healthy life and as he has earned a spot in their hearts, he will stay with his foster family where he sleeps in bed with them, goes for car rides through the drive-thru to get snacks, and supervises the other cats.
He has one small hurdle to jump, and that’s the removal of all the rest of his teeth, the nasty ones we didn’t remove last year because it wouldn’t have been fair to put a terminal cat through so much dental work. He will be toothless, but he will be alive!
Congratulations to Seymour and his foster family, who never gave up on him. We are so grateful to have found Amy and Allie who took him in and loved him, thinking he might only have a week or two left, maybe a couple of months at best. If it’s true that love can heal, I know exactly why Seymour has beat cancer. It’s because of the love of his forever family. Thank you so much Amy and Allie, for giving Seymour the gift of life.
Seymour and his BFF, Allie.