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RIP Gnarla the cat 1994-2009

February 12, 2009
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narlaGnarla finally used the last of her 9 lives today.  We got Gnarla and her brother The Kitty when they were just 6 weeks old.  They had been found by someone I used to work with.

Gnarla was the type of cat  that hissed and growled but never actually did anything. She made it known to each of the succession of dogs and cats who joined the household that she wanted nothing to do with them, period.

About 6 years ago just before Christmas, I found Gnarla on the living room floor, lying on her side.  She was unable to move.  She had no pedal reflexes in either of her hind legs.  Jeremy and I took her to the veterinary hospital where our dog, Major, had been treated for Cushings disease.  There were a few possible diagnoses including spinal cord damage and thrombosis.  After undergoing a number of tests, it was narrowed down to either a slipped disc or tumor at the location of the C7 vertebra.  The MRI findings were sent to two vet schools as well as my dad, a radiologist (human medicine).  It was a split decision between the vets, and my dad felt confident that it was a slipped disc.

We decided to go ahead with surgery to determine the final diagnosis.  If it was a slipped disc, it would be corrected. If it was a tumor, she would be euthanized.

As it turned out, it was the disc, which was removed and the vertebra fused together.  Recovery took about 3 months during which time Gnarla slowly began to walk again. She ended up with her right front paw frozen in a curled under postion – she walked on her knuckles.  She slowly returned to her old self, hissing and growling at anyone who encroached on her space.

Last year, I noticed that the fur over her eye had been rubbed off.  The vet could not find any reason for the alopecia.  About six months ago, I noticed that her left eye looked larger than her right one.  It was at this point that we suspected a tumor.  We decided not to treat it, but rather provide palliative care.  Last weekend, it was becoming clear that it was time to make a decision.  Darryl wanted to give Gnarla one more chance and so we set up an appointment for her to have the eye removed.  We knew it would not cure the cancer, but it might give her some more time.

During surgery today, the vet found that the cancer had spread from inside the orbital socket through the maxillæ and into the mouth.  It was decided not to wake Gnarla from the anesthesia.

She was a tough old bird who loved to cuddle and purr real loud.  She will be missed.

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