Thay may be sweet as maple syrup, but make no mistake: the old ladies of Tabby’s Place are no strangers to tough stuff. Matter of fact, they’re as tough as six little Hummers.
Who knew that such Hummers apparently come in grey, with an optional (but highly recommended) crumply-ear feature? It’s true. Lady Grey, one-time under-couch dweller, now full-time highest-perch hopper, is made of sugar, spice and steel. The same 6-pound sweetheart who overcame her terror of humans has a new battle to fight. But, if history is any indication, our little dame is fixing to win.
You may recall that, once upon a time, Lady Grey lived exclusively under the couch of the Little Old Ladies’ Suite (hereafter referred to as the LOLS). Nosy human beans who just had to see Her Ladyship would invariably find a face full of fear, quivering from her whiskers to her crumply little ear.
The times, they are a-changin’.
Now, Lady Grey isn’t exactly dancing on the ceiling while singing “Like a G6” in Pig Latin (that’s more roommate Lola’s style)…but she’s definitely feeling at ease, at home and at peace with her world these days. A kind somebody donated a set of wall stairs (which are stairs, mounted on, um, the wall) leading up to a darling little perch. We installed them in the LOLS, unsure whether any of our old girls would be interested. We needn’t have worried: the little grey Hummer was the first to scramble up to the very top, overlooking her kingdom from the highest height. Around the same time, Lady Grey opted to allow affection. You have to be slow and gentle about it, and 54% of the time she’ll still shrink, as though you were wiggling lifelike rubber vomit in her face. But, wonder of wonders, our Lady will now let us human beans love her. (And, oh, how we do!) The score is now set at Fear 0, Lady Grey 1.
It’s that sort of victory that bodes well for Lady Grey’s future. And she’s going to need all the courage, victory, prayer and peace she can get, because there’s a new villain in town. Lady Grey has cancer.
It seemed to happen all of a sudden. One day, all was calm and perfectly old-ladylike in the LOLS. The next day, there was a bloodbath. (No, not quite that kind of bloodbath. But plenty disturbing nonetheless.) Who was bleeding all over the place, and from where? It took quite a bit of poking, prodding and old-lady-cat-inspecting, but our crack team of CSI: Ringoes finally found the culprit: Lady Grey’s ear.
Here’s the funny thing: it wasn’t the little grey Hummer’s famous ear, the crumply one. No, this time it was her perfectly ordinary “normal” ear that was aching. Or, more to the point, bleeding…a lot. Our vet biopsied the angry area in Lady Grey’s ear, and we all hoped and prayed that it might be a big benign blob. We got “big” right, and “blob”…but not benign.
Ear cancer. Who knew there was such a thing? (Answer: lots of people, who know lots more than I do.)
Next Tuesday, Lady Grey meets with a specialist we’ll call Dr. Fantastic, at the emergency and specialty care center we use and love heavily here at Tabby’s Place. (Let’s call it the Center for Cured Cats.) More than likely, Dr. Fantastic will want to do an MRI to see if Lady Grey’s cancer has spread beyond that ear. If not, we’ll be considering something a little scary but a lot hopeful: a total ear canal ablation, or TECA (note that some of the photos at that link are graphic surgical stuff). In laywoman’s terms, that’s the complete removal of the ear canal. We’ve done this for Tabby’s Place cats before, namely Socks and Lillian, and it’s sometimes just what the doctor ordered for chronic ear infections…or cancer. As long as the cancer is isolated to Lady Grey’s ear, this may have a great chance at buying her a total cure – and many more years of sugar-and-steel, love-and-LOL’ing life.
Felis Catus family, I know I don’t even have to ask. But would you please keep our much-loved Lady in your prayers?
PS: Bonus points to everyone who caught the Grateful Dead reference in this blog post’s title. I’ve heard that Jerry Garcia penned “Touch of Grey” after his unexpected, triumphant recovery from a diabetic coma c. 1986. The refrain “I will get by/I will survive” was a victorious response to those who’d expected him to be a goner. Lady Grey, may this be your rallying cry in the days to come.