Update for Bandit

Update for Bandit

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Legend has it that leprechauns hide their pots of gold at the end of rainbows, and that these little guys will lead anyone who is fortunate (and energetic) enough to chase them right to his wealth. Perhaps our Bandit is Irish at heart, as over the past few visits, he has spent 100% of his time chasing whatever he could get his paws on: toy mice, strings, shoelaces — you name it!

Leprechauns are supposed to be too tricky to catch, but Bandit is so talented, he would no doubt find it a snap (and what would his pot of gold look like? Lots of toys and tuna?).

I must admit, given Bandit’s recent diagnosis of lymphoma and how tired he has seemed, I was nervous about what I would see once he started his chemotherapy. Would he be up for a visit? Would he lose his fur, as humans lose their hair when they begin a chemotherapy regimen? (Interesting fact: cats on chemo do not lose their hair. The purpose of chemotherapy is to destroy the patient’s fastest growing cells, because cancer cells typically grow very rapidly. A person’s hair cells are also some of these fast-growing cells, which is why the hair itself is affected by the treatment. A cat’s hair cells are much more stable and slower to grow, so it’s very rare for a cat to lose its fur. A cat may often, however, lose its whiskers!)

The staff at Tabby’s Place has reported that overall, Bandit is doing very well with the treatment. An earlier dose was skipped when they noticed that Bandit wasn’t feeling as energetic or eating as much, though he’s been doing much better since.

His complete blood count (CBC, which might sound familiar to all those “ER” or “Grey’s Anatomy” fans out there), a critical value for cats who are undergoing chemotherapy, has been steady, which means that Bandit’s tolerating the treatment well. In both felines and humans, a CBC measures how well the patient’s immune system and bone marrow (which is often affected by the chemo) is doing, so a steady level is great news for sweet Bandit.

The medicine therapy, along with all the loving thoughts and prayers that have been sent his way must have worked, for Bandit looked terrific — not just for a special-needs kitty, but for any cat! His eyes were bright and clear, and his energy level was sky-high. When you hug him (as you can’t help but doing), he feels a bit thin and frail, but maybe it’s all those calories he’s burning off as he chases the toys around. He was all over the place, running after mice, batting them with his deft paws, and then stuffing them in his mouth.

He was a bit perplexed — and then utterly fascinated — when he couldn’t quite seem to do the same with the laser pointer I’d brought in for him to play with. What was this infernal red animal that couldn’t be swatted or eaten? Even Sneakers woke from a nap to try to catch it (though only if the dot happened to land right where he was sitting. Otherwise, it was “out of sight, out of mind.”).

Though Bandit was completely taken with the toy, the interest proved to be short-lived, but only because he’s so smart: he figured out rather quickly that the laser was controlled by my hand, and so he went right to the source, grabbing my fingers with his big furry paws. Even shoelaces tempted him, and they held a particular allure for new suitemate Jan as well. This gorgeous, shy girl hid under the sofa for a while, but eventually came out to investigate said shoelaces and then to receive many pets of her glorious patchwork fur. Bandit patiently waited while she was snuggled, and then when she retreated to the sofa’s underbelly once again, he came back for more playtime.

Please continue sending Bandit lots of good wishes and love, and hopefully our boy will continue to feel well and to heal well. Here’s wishing a warm, wonderful spring to you all!