True, I shut my door and grinched out with my hoard of snack-sized M&M bags when the troupe of kids came through the office this morning begging for candy, but let no one say that I didn't celebrate Halloween up right.
A very docile Henry-zilla chewed on his green mouse and refused to even stomp a little bit on the miniature village of cat-toys that I created especially for his destruction. If that's not holiday spirit, I don't know what is.
Originally this costume was intended for Max's humiliation, but since he didn't look very scary pedaling around the room in reverse trying to back out of his monster suit... well, sorry Henry. Momma has a reputation to protect, and no self-respecting Cat Lady passes up a chance to dress her kitties up in costumes. We can think of this as a happy birthday present to Max, since poor Maxwell turned 10 this month and received no fanfare to mark the occasion.
Other than having his birthday ignored and being forced to wear a costume (which was intended, of course, for dogs) (SIZE MEDIUM DOGS) for a few minutes, Sir Maxwell is still doing just fine. When the vet first mentioned chemotherapy as an option back in April, I told her hell to the N-O. I had visions of Max slinking miserably around the house, a trail of fallen-out hair left in his wake. I'd mop up after him with a steady supply of hundred-dollar bills while calling various hospitals in Mexico to see who would bid the highest for my kidneys and first-born children. Just for fun, I'd flush a little more money down the toilet every evening to assuage the guilt of looking Max's miserable face.
So, no, I said! No chemo for us! How ridiculous do you think I am, anyway? Chemotherapy for a cat, whoever heard of such a thing? No, no. We'll just put him on that special sensitive-stomach food and throw in a prednisone pill twice a day and I'm sure everything will be fine.
Except everything was not fine. Max lost more weight, dropping down to nearly 11lbs (from his previous 16.4) and was totally uninterested in any food for the first time in his fat life. He patiently took his kitty paxil and his prednisone twice a day, but he wouldn't even look at the smorgasbord of treats I offered. He looked and acted sick pretty much all the time. I worried. And when we took him back to the vet a month later and found out that he'd lost ever MORE weight, I found myself asking what exactly that whole chemotherapy thing would mean.
As it turned out, chemotherapy for a cat is practically nothing. Well, at least it seems like nothing when you're already used to giving your cat pills twice a day. I was imagining scary radiation contraptions and hair falling out and needles everywhere. But I was promised that chemotherapy for animals is given in such low doses that none of those horrible side effects that immediately come to mind when you hear the word "chemo" are a problem. No nausea, no hair loss, nada. And get this: chemo comes in pill form. Who knew? (Probably everyone but me, so don't answer that.) So we added a chemo pill three times a week to his medication regime, and let's be honest: when your cat is already taking four pills a day, what's one extra thrown in every Monday/Wednesday/Friday? Although the chemo pills are expensive, I'm ashamed to tell you that they cost less than the kitty paxil per month. So, really, not so bad.
We started Max on the chemo three times a week in June, and what do you know: it worked. He went back up to 14 lbs (which, coincidentally, was Max's "goal weight" back when he used to be "obese"), he's begging for bites of our sandwiches again and everything is hunky-dory. In fact, now he's down to taking the chemo only twice a week. It's very easy for me to forget that he does still have cancer, and that eventually he will get sick again... but for now, we're happy with what we've got.
And as for Madison... well, things are OK, too. We're not sure if he actually has cancer or if it might be something else; namely Irritable Bowel Syndrome. (Yes.) (Seriously.) Since Madison doesn't do medicine, the treatment for both cancer and IBS is the same for him: special diet. And what do you know, it's the same special diet that Max is already on, meaning it's the same special diet that all of our cats are on because I do feel like monitoring who eats out of which bowl of food all day. So... that was kind of easy. We did take Madison in for an x-ray, just to make sure a gigantic hairball (or a half-eaten plastic bag, knowing him) lodged in his stomach wasn't the real problem, and here's a surprise: Madison behaved like a complete asshole at the vet! He scratched, he hissed, he broke out his patented cobra-strike... and this is all before he made it out of the carrier. So, yet again, he had to be put under general anesthesia for a simple and painless procedure. While the vet tech was getting ready to shave his belly, I asked if they could possibly just shave ALL of his fluffy, shed-tastic, hairball-mania fur. And they did! And man, was he pissed. But we were blissfully hairball-free until it had almost all grown back, and I'd do it again in a second (especially because the insurance I bought in a fit of panic ended up paying for everything BUT the shave-down, which was the cheapest item on the bill).
And Henry... he's still just a sweetie. A crazy, cracked-out, not-so-smart sweetie.