I still don’t know what to do.

My regular vet (at Greenwich Village Animal Hospital), who I trust completely, thinks I should do the amputation. She thinks there’s a good shot at getting two years of good life. I didn’t think the surgeon (at Blue Pearl) thought there was. What I took from my consultation with him was the cancer is very aggressive and whether or not we have a good outcome is a crap shoot. I asked my vet to call him. Maybe I was hearing what I wanted to hear, because I am very reluctant to put Finney through an amputation.

I made this video for the surgeon, so he could see how well Finney could walk (he was cowering at the vet). The surgeon couldn’t really tell me how he thought Finney would do on three legs, given his age and his arthritis, without seeing how he walks on four legs. He probably also still needs a ct scan to see how extensive Finney’s arthritis is.

He’s walking very well in this video (I tempted him with catnip, which he loves). Normally he’s slower and seems more unstable but this shows he can walk well when he wants to.

Stacy Horn

I've written six non-fiction books, the most recent is Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York.

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4 thoughts on “I still don’t know what to do.

  1. We faced a similar situation with one of our cats a couple of years ago when he got a sudden and very aggressive cancer. Its very, very difficult, plus with different doctors saying different things, there isn’t a clear recommendation to go forward with. I know for me at the time, my mind was taking in what the vet was telling me but my heart wasn’t ready to hear it.

    Its very heartbreaking. Perhaps the hardest part of being a pet owner is that we’re called to make these decisions, because we understand what’s happening when they don’t.

    There’s isn’t really a right or wrong way – you’ve loved him and provided a wonderful life for him, and won’t let him suffer when it becomes obvious he’s in pain (for us, it was when he started hiding all the time and not eating). Sometimes, life just gives us bad and worse options, and it sucks, that’s all there is to it.

  2. I think if you thought amputation was the best way to go, you would know it. The fact that you are still expressing reluctance means to me, that you don’t think it will be right for Finney. Only you can know and decide. Imagine if you were able to pass that responsibility to someone and then did, and they said, “Go ahead and amputate,” would you follow what they said? If the answer is ‘no’ then you have your answer.

    Again, so sorry about this all happening.

  3. I agree with Julia. YOU know Finney better than anyone, and you love Finney more than anyone, and I think this knowledge and this love is what is telling you to spare surgery to make the handsome dude as comfortable as possible until he becomes too tired to chase catnip.

    I have faced similar quality-of-life calls for my cats, and I’ve always been comfortable in giving them quality, not quantity. They don’t need two extra years to finish their novel, achieve a bucket list, walk a daughter down the aisle, etc — all the things that give people reason to hold regardless of the pain. Finley needs a soft place to nap in a sunbeam, scratches under his chin whenever he wants them, and a cat nip buzz 24/7.

  4. One of the vets at the place where I take Finney had a cat in the same condition and she went with the amputation and she agreed to talk to me about it, so I’m waiting to have that conversation.

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