Saturday, September 08, 2007


Kristen and I got Sylvia as a kitten, not more than 6 weeks old, one month before we were engaged. Born to a stray, she came into in our lives by luck, joining Malcom--the cat I had from my bachelor days in Arizona. She stole our hearts instantly and we loved her from day one. Well, maybe not Malcom, but he grew to love her as evidenced by his constant grooming of her and his protection of her from other animals. For the first months that we had Bella (our yellow lab), Malcom wouldn’t let Bella get too close to or too playful with Sylvia.

While Malcom is shy and hesitant around strangers and friends, Sylvia is always friendly and curious, making quick friends of any visitor. There is nothing as inviting and loving as the yellow wide-eyes of Sylvia as her tail flickers behind her.

On Friday, we were told by our veterinarian that Sylvia has lymphoma. She had lost a lot of weight in the last few months and had been throwing up. Her symptoms fluctuated, whenever we thought that maybe we should take her in to the vet, she would appear to get better. We also thought the weight loss was from the stress of the move to IL. But the last few weeks, she lost more weight and was throwing up more than ever. The vet took x-rays and her kidneys were twice the size they should be. After more testing this past week with results that were initially inconclusive, the final terrible results from the pathologist came back on Friday.

The news, as anyone can imagine, is devastating. There are some treatment options, and we will be exploring those, but the outlook is grim no matter what. Apparently, renal lymphoma in cats is one of the least responses types of cancer. Successful treatment might give us another year at best.

If Sylvia can have a decent quality life, relatively pain-free and happy, in that year(or less), it will be worth it. In the last 6.5 years, she has brought joy and happiness into our lives every single day. The mornings waking up with Sylvia sleeping on my chest. Her widened paws and big eyes when she wanted to be pet. The little cry when I would playfully pinch the tip of her tail. Her little pink nose and grey ‘goatie’. How small she gets when she curls up in my lap when I am at the computer. Her white paws so gracefully pushed together as she sits in her ‘paperweight’ position. And, of course, her flirty leg. Nearly impossible to describe, but Sylvia, when she wants to be pet, will stretch herself out against a wall, and push out one of her back legs and hold it there. Once performed, it is irresistible: one must pet her.

We don’t know how we are going to proceed or what will happen. We don’t know what to expect or how to deal with this. But we know one thing for sure: we will always love Sylvia. By sharing our lives, she has made them infinitely better.


John Enright said...

I'm sorry.

Shawn Klein said...

Thanks John.