Last Updated: 2/6/14
Photos and Videos
There is a video of Gino on my video page!
I love Gino! Here are a bunch of photos and just two videos! They are from newest to oldest.
Gino's Gravesite on 2/1/14, one year after his death. I bought him flowers.
Gino's Tombstone - taken 4/24/13 (it took that long to arrive).
Gino on 1/23/13 sleeping on his favorite spot in the basement. This is the last photo of him. He died 2/1/13.
Video of Tinkie and Gino in December of 2012.
On 10/15/12, I was playing with all four indoor cats (although I did not get photos of Tinkie with
the others who was standing nearby). Gino is the orange and white cat.
Gino and Emmy
Barney, Gino, and Emmy
Gino and Emmy
Gino and Emmy
Gino and Emmy
Video of Barney, Emmy, Gino, and Tinkerbelle playing on 10/15/12.
These photos are from 9/18/12, the same day as Gino's surgery. His eyes were still bleary from
Gino with the horrible E-collar.
Gino - close-up of his surgery site
Video of Gino Doing His Tricks on 9/17/12, the day before his surgery.
Here are three photos of Gino (on the right) and Barney (on the left) together on 4/10/12.
Gino and Barney
Gino and Barney
Gino and Barney - Barney is yawning in this one
Gino on 10/15/11.
Gino on 5/26/11, asleep in the window.
Gino on 1/1/11.
Gino on 5/26/10.
Gino, Tinkie, and Barney on 9/6/09.
Gino, Tinkie, and Barney on 9/6/09, left to right.
I had to take this photo of Gino, Barney, and Tinkie all on my bed on 1/6/09:
Gino, Barney, and Tinkie
I got these rare photos of three of the cats together at the same spot on 10/6/08:
Tinkie, Elvisina, and Gino
Tinkie, Elvisina, and Gino
Gino on my bed, 1/13/08. He looked away
but I got him to look into the camera in the next photo!
Gino on my bed, 1/13/08.
Gino on 3/2/07.
Gino on 1/1/07.
Gino on 3/18/06.
Here are three photos of Gino in the laundry tub in early December, 2005:
Gino in the sink
Gino in the sink
Gino in the sink
Gino on a chair on 11/13/05.
Gino on 11/13/05, big close-up of the previous photo.
Gino on my bed on 2/19/05.
Picture of Gino on top of Einy's cage on 1/25/04.
Picture of Gino posing to be the banner for the main page on this web site on 8/25/03!
My brother took these with his digital camera in 4/03 (also the one shown above): Gino on the beam, before the close-up shown above (Gino loves to walk on the house's beam!); Gino and his reflection; and Gino on my bed.
Picture of Gino perched on a rabbit table with
carrot legs on 3/26/02.
Picture of Gino enjoying a night on my lap with my two guinea pigs in March of 2001.
Picture of Gino in my bedroom on 10/2/99.
Picture of Gino in the living room with pond out the window, 8/21/99.
Picture of Gino resting with stuffed animals, 5/23/99.
Picture of Gino's brother (named Dudley and later Sunny by my aunt's mother-in-law who adopted him), Gino's sister, Gino, and Gino's other sister, April 16, 1999.
Pictures of one of Gino's sisters at about 3 months old.
My brother's sister-in-law took in a stray queen; a small, short-haired, orange tabby with white. She had four kittens. We agreed to take one. I picked out a male orange tabby with white and named him Gino. I wanted a boy since our only male cat (Tommy was feral and did not count), Tootsy, would not live much longer. Gino was born on 2/19/99. I picked Gino up on 4/16/99 and took him right to the vet. He tested negative for fleas, ear mites, worms, FeLV, FIV, etc. but since his nose had some caking, the vet told me to put him in quarantine for a week. He was the sweetest kitten I have ever met. He rubbed, purred, squealed, and played perfectly. Of course, he also bit some and got the "crazies" where he runs around fifty miles per hour. He was only partially litter trained but I got him using our litter within a day. Gino had not started eating any solid food before joining us. He was eight weeks old and should have been eating solid food for a few weeks already. He drank mostly KMR for the first month I took care of him. Even at four months old, he still preferred milk to cat food. It took a month and a half for Gino and Schmoo (our dog) to get along. The dog would chase him, and Gino was scared. Eventually, he rolled over and batted at Schmoo's face with his claws. Gino chased poor Polky (or Doodally as I actually called her) all over and bit her. Doodally seemed to like it since she did not try to hide. Gino ran around with a Santa beard of her fur hanging out of his mouth.
Gino was neutered on 8/19/99 without much incidence. Doodally missed him (she must have liked being attacked) and was abnormally sweet while he was gone. Gino did well. His nickname was Pistachio or Pistach or even Stach for short (I got it from Pinnochio which is similar (to me anyway) since he took interest in the video). By the new millenium, I began calling him Stachley Buttons, P-Stach, and Mr. Pistachley-o-e-o-e. Do not ask me why! It just came out of my mouth. In 2000 and 2001, I also called him simply Tach or G-G. Gino was the most active and attentive cat we have ever had. He liked to sit on my lap and seeked out all members of the household for petting. He really loved high places. He mastered all of them in the house, including a beam that was 8 feet off the ground! He got up there and squealed. New names for late 2001 for Gino included Mr. Gummy, Gummie-Beans, and Gummer. I seemed to change the names all the time (later by 2007 I sometimes called him Love Monkey, Love Nugget, Bunny, still Stach a lot, and Gummy which my niece called him in 2007)! I guess that is why most people think I am crazy! Gino greeted me when I got home and rubbed on me, purring, meowing, screaming for some lovin'. Gino loved to drink from the rabbits' bowls when I filled them, so I also called him Mr. Bunny. My brother suggested that Beany get his own web site, at gummyland.com since I always consulted him for major decisions.
I loved my Gummy so much!! He was the only cat that I have ever had who would lick my legs. Perhaps he just liked the salty taste, or maybe he thought that I needed to be groomed as well.
My poor baby started having more asthma attacks. For example, on 2/14/04, in the morning, he started wheezing. His eyes were producing tears, and I could see the fear in his eyes as he tried to catch his breath. He would dart a few feet, heave, and then dart some more, really scared. I petted him and talked sweet to him telling him to calm down, and I think it helped to calm him. As you know, if you are not calm, it is hard to stop an asthma attack. If he kept having them, he would have to go on medication like his biological brother that my aunt's mother-in-law had (as it turns out, his asthma was pretty much gone by his death in 2013).
Gino had his yearly appointment on 5/25/04. He was up to 12.0 pounds. He was 9.8 pounds on 6/5/03.
Giny went missing one day. I had last seen him at 5 pm on 12/11/04 and could not find him to put him to bed. He always came running. Doodles (Polky) was also missing! I searched and finally went to bed myself, getting one hour of sleep. In the morning, Samantha (cat) went back behind Einy's cage (lizard), and I heard a bashing. I went to look. Gino was there, all wrapped up in a plastic bag! He could not move and could have suffocated. Instead of crying out or making noise, he had just stayed quite for the half day he was missing. I was SO happy to find him. Doodles finally just appeared at 9:30 pm that night, 29 hours after I had last seen her. This may not seem like much to others but Doodles had never hid for more than half a day before! My mother thought seeing Gino in a bag was so traumatizing that she had to hide. Four people searched our house and outside top to bottom and could not find her!
I had Gino microchipped on 3/13/05 at a clinic.
On 3/24/05, Gino had his yearly checkup. Gino was up to 12.4 pounds from 12.0 pounds the year before! He got an exam, distemper, and blood work which came back normal. His heart murmur was now a Grade 3 so I planned to take him to a cardiologist. The vet thought he might have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. A sonogram would show if he had it, and medication could prolong his life. Without it, if he had that problem, one day he would just keel over. That is what happened to his biological mother (who was with someone else) a year ago or so. I was very worried.
On 6/23/05, Gino saw the cardiologist and had an ecocardiogram. It showed he did not have cardiomyopathy! Hurray! He just had "mild mitral valve regurgitation" which meant his valves did not shut all the way (they leaked). It was not bad enough for medication so we just had to monitor it. It did mean he was more apt to have a heart attack than a cat without this problem.
On 2/23/06, I noticed something was not right with Gino. The previous few days, I had noticed a lot of cat litter spread around the pan and lots of tiny pees. That morning, while working in the laundry room to feed the animals, I noticed Gino was in the litter pan continually. I checked on what he was doing. He was straining to pee over and over but not much was happening. He would get out and lick his privates and then do it over again. I feared he had a blockage in his urethra and took him to the vet. I left him there while I went to work. They pumped him full of subcutaneous fluids to see if he could pee. After filling him up, he finally peed quite a lot, all over himself. Gino was super sweet at home but petrified of strangers. When visitors came at home, he vanished, often up in to the box springs of an old bed or couch. At the vet, he cowered in the corner and refused to do anything. They pumped him full of more fluids and tried to get a sample from his bladder via catheter but with no luck. After his first big pee, he kept making tiny ones all over himself. I finally got him at 6 pm and took him home. That night, I put glass beads in an empty litter pan and locked Gino in the laundry room by himself (normally Dude joined him). He provided plenty of sample for urinalysis. The results did not come back until 2/25/06. The vet said he had just a few white blood cells, a ton of red blood cells, no bacteria, a slightly high pH (she did not give me the actual value), and a few triple phosphate (struvite) crystals. So, he had a lot of blood in his urine. She called the problem cystitis which is inflammation of the bladder. She thought he had a bladder infection or other irritation in his system. She said bladder infections do not always shed bacteria into the urine. She said the crystals were not much of a concern as of yet and a diet change was not really needed. That would be hard since Gino only ate dry food, and there were five cats running in the house. Eating dry food without much water like Gino predisposed him to this sort of problem. I looked into ideas to help him. I tried to give him some subcutaneous fluids on 2/25/06. As soon as he felt the prick of the needle, he cried out and ran off. It is not easy to restrain a healthy 13 pound cat. I was used to my half-dead 6 pound cat who got 100 mL of fluids every day without any problem. I added a section on cystitis to my cat health page that you should read if you are interested. I finally got Gino antibiotics on 2/27/06. He got 1 mL twice a day of liquid Clavamox which is mostly amoxicillin (amoxicillin trihydate and clavulanate potassium to be exact). This should help with any associated infection. Getting him to eat a controlled diet, drink more water, and exercise was not going to be very possible. He used to be very active, climbing on the high beams in our house even but, about a year ago, he got lazy. As of 3/3/06, a week later, Gino was still making a lot of small pees. He sure could put up a fight when I gave him his medication but he was getting it.
Gino finished his medication barely a week after I started it. They did not give us much. I bought some Eukenuba Low pH/S dry food and Veterinarian's Best Cat Care No F.U.S. Feline Urinary Support which is a supplement to help with cystitis. It has cranberries and ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) to lower the pH of the urine as well as herbs that help the urinary system. Gino actually ate those treats right up! They were mostly dried chicken. The other cats liked them too. Gino also ate the Eukenuba but I wish it were natural instead of corn and by-products! I do not know which was worse for him, going back to non-natural crap food or not having a diet made just for cats with his problem. So, I offered both. I would have another urinalysis done on 3/20/06 to see if things were the same or not.
The urinalysis on 3/20/06 showed Gino's urine was full of blood (which I could see) and a lot of crystals. The pH was 7.5, down from 8.4 last time (I had to ask since they did not tell me details otherwise.). The pH needed to go acidic, maybe 6.5 to dissolve the crystals. Since he was much worse, the vet said I had no choice but to offer him only vet diet food. I hated that the food was disgusting but Gino did eat it. So, now, I had to sequester feed the cats. What this meant was that at night, Gino had to be locked up by himself with his special food while the other cats could then have access to the natural dry cat foods. Because Gino did not eat canned food, I could still put out the canned foods all the time for Samantha, Elvisina, and GK who ate those. Dude only ate dry too so she would only get to eat at night when Gino was up. She wanted to eat his special food but it can be dangerous for some cats. As far as I knew, Dude was fine (blood work March 2005 was normal) but you never know. I would probably get some of the Science Diet low pH food too to see if he liked the corn/by-product/pig fat in that. I just learned today, 3/21/06, that Wysong makes a vet diet for struvite crystals. I looked into that although it is a sort of freeze-dried meat thing that Gino may or may not eat as is or reconstituted. If I could have gotten him to eat wetter foods, it would have helped his problem. We went back in a few weeks for another urinalysis to see if the restricted diet helped.
On 3/24/06, I picked up some Hill's Prescription Diet C/D for Gino. I mixed it with the Eukenuba 50/50. The Hill's food is yellow while the other is brown. On 3/25/06, I caught Dude, Elvi, and GK eating some of Gino's food. I hoped it would not hurt them. Gino's fur was shedding more than normal. I hoped this was not due to him no longer getting all the good stuff in his all natural food with all the herbs, probiotics, essential fatty acids, etc. Now, he was eating crap but it was his only chance. In a week, we would see if his urinalysis was any better. He was so precious, sitting next to me as I type (better than on me as usual).
The last week of March, Gino decided he no longer wanted to eat the FUS pills when he used to love them so much! The other cats were stealing the pills. Hopefully the food would be enough to lower his pH. His urine would be re-tested on 4/3/06.
[After Gino died on 2/1/12, I started reading through his page and putting all the verbs in the past tense. I have only gotten this far so far so that the following verb tenses may be all over the place.]
Overnight from 4/2/06 to 4/5/06, Gino would not go in the litter pan of beads. So, the morning of 4/5/06, I locked him up with it, food, water, and a bed in the bathroom. When I went to use the toilet myself, I explained the situation to him, and he made a huge pee in front of me. The results showed that he only has a trace of blood in there but that there was still a lot of struvite crystals. The pH was down to 7.0 but it still needed to go down further. The vet said he rated the crystals as 4+ before and now they were 3+, whatever that means. He would be tested in two weeks again. If that failed, the vet said I had to try feeding just one of the vet foods and not mixing them. If that failed, there were short term acids the vet could give him but that are usually for cats with known blockages or something he said.
On 4/20/06, I wanted to get a pee sample from Gino again. He did not use the beads overnight or in the morning. I decided to let him out (I had to go to work) and followed him to the basement litter pan where he really needed to pee. I collected it right from the source. The results showed his urine pH was still 7.0 but there were no crystals or blood! He said to re-test in 6 months but I thought I would do it in a few months as I was still worried about this. The vet worried that the FUS pills could harm him (lower the pH too much) but I did not see that that had happened.
Gino had his yearly check up on 5/17/06. He was up to 14.5 pounds, having gained 1.3 pounds on his new vet diet! I sure wished there were an all natural diet that would work for his urinary problems. He also got a rabies shot. His heart murmur was still a Grade 3.
Beginning in early June, Gino's behavior changed. I had always locked him into the laundry room at night since I had had him. He never complained. All of a sudden, he meowed all night, starting as early as midnight and would not stop until I let him out. When he got out, the only thing he seemed to really want was fresh, cold water. He was overheated from crying all night. I had to lock him up because I cannot sleep with my door open. The sounds from my mother's TV, father's snoring, clock, rabbit Harry digging around, etc. kept me from falling or staying asleep. If I closed my door, and the cat(s) were out, they knocked on my door which woke me up and then they wanted to crawl on me. I kick violently when asleep which could also kill any animals nice enough to want to spend the night with me. Anyway, I wanted to rule out diabetes, kidney failure, thyroid malfunction, a urinary tract infection, and so forth so I took Gino to the vet on 6/27/06 where they extracted blood and urine for testing. Gino was up another half pound to 15 pounds! That vet food was really bad for him but they said I had no choice. I tried to get some pee from Gino the night before but he did not cooperate. At the vet, they did a cystocentesis which is where they stick a needle through the body wall to dry urine directly from the bladder. Poor Gino! Gino also had an asthma attack or something on 6/21/06.
The $200 in tests revealed that Gino was perfectly normal! He just did not want me to sleep! The only abnormal thing about his results was a slightly elevated cholesterol level. His urine pH was down to 6.0! The night of 6/28/06, my mother said I had to stop Gino from crying so she could sleep. I took him to bed with me. But, then I could not sleep because I could not move for fear of kicking him. He fell asleep. I did not. By midnight, when my father's snoring started bad, there was no way I was going to sleep with the door open so I put Gino in GK's cage in the basement. It was punishment for him when all he was doing was sleeping like an angel. He did not meow but, in the morning, the litter and food in there were strewn all over. I would try closing him up as usual but with Dude (Polky) to see if she distracted him. If he started meowing, into the cage he would go. I only got 3 hours of sleep that night and could barely type this.
The night of 6/29/06, I let Polky stay with Gino. This also meant Gino had access to his old organic dry food but I thought he only wanted the pig fat/corn yuck food anyway. I opened a homeopathic calming remedy on it for pets that have trouble traveling, going to vets, and separation anxiety which was probably why Gino cried. He wanted to be with me for some unknown reason. Anyway, he stopped crying all night. You would think this would mean I would catch up on sleep but the night of 6/30/06, I was up half the night wondering what happened to Samantha, my dying cat that my mother let outside. I did find her the next morning (more on her page if you care to read).
I took Gino back to the vet for another cystocentesis for urinalysis on 8/29/06. His weight went up further to 15.8 pounds! He gained 0.8 pounds in the last few months and 3 pounds since he had been on his yucky vet food! It was making him way too fat! When I got home, I found Gino covered in isopropanol (rubbing alcohol) and urine. They kind of made a mess! It was not good for him to lick that off. The next day, the results showed still no crystals or other problems but his urinary pH was up to 7. Apparently eating maybe a third of a cup of all natural food with the rest being the corn/by-products/pig lard was still too much good food to keep his pH down. So, I again separated Gino and Dude. The first night was fine. Then at 5:30 am on 9/1/06, I was awakened by Gino's plaintive cries. Oh well, Plan B. I would have to let the two cats together. I wanted Dude to eat the good food but could not stop her from eating the yucky vet food that Gino needed. During the day, all the cats snatched a few bites of the gunk. I tried to close Dude in the bathroom first thing in the morning for about a half hour with her food so she could eat that. Overnight just would not work.
Gino had another cystocentesis on 10/9/06. His urine pH was down to 6! But, the food was still packing on weight. He was up to 16.1 pounds. The vet suggested mixing some Science Diet WD in with the CD but I was worried then his pH would go back up.
Gino had cystocentesis on 12/19/06. His urine pH was 6 so it had been stable! He had "rare" crystals and no white or red blood cells in his urine. His weight went down half a pound to 15.6 pounds. Yeah! I would be mixing in more of the WD with the CD. He did not have to go back for 4 to 6 months.
I brought Gino to the vet on 4/30/07 for cystocentesis to check his urine. Since he was due a few weeks later for his yearly checkup, I also had that done then. They charged $18 just for an office visit and $55 for the "wellness exam" which consisted of a minute of feeling up the cat and listening to his heart. That was about all for a ton of money. By doing it early, I saved $18. The vet could not hear his heart murmur this time! He had a strong murmur so either he was cured, or the vet was deaf. Despite being on yucky Science Diet WD to control his weight mixed in with the CD, he was up to 16 pounds! Since Gino was scared, his ears turned red, and he shed a ton of fur while there. The bill for the day: $116 for Gino, $355.15 total (Elvi also went in). Gino's urinalysis results all came back normal.
On 11/14/07, I took Gino to have his urine tested again. They were not able to get any urine. The vet stuck the needle in him but could not find his bladder. He said Gino was just too obese now! He was up to 16.7 pounds!! I would increase his WD over CD but those foods were just so nasty; I did not think they were helping him. In order to get urine to test, I would have to try to put the spare litter pan with plastic beads in it when he was in the laundry room overnight on the nights I could not catch Doodally. Eventually, he would have to make a "donation?" It would take a while though.
Gino finally peed in the beads overnight, and a sample got to the vet on 12/7/07. The results came back normal. His urine pH was 6.0. There were no crystals, bacteria, white or red blood cells. His urine was very concentrated because he did not drink much and only ate dry food. I have talked to him about that but he decided that the only non-dry food he would eat was human chicken baby food (my mother taught him to do tricks using that like stand, sit, shake paw, turn, etc.).
Poor Gino! Gino was to have his yearly checkup on 5/14/08 so I confined him the night before with a litter pan of beads. By morning, there was no pee sample so I confined him to a metal dog cage. By the time I took him to the vet at 4:50 pm, he had not peed (or pooped). At the vet, he said his bladder was full so they were able to get a pee sample. Then, when they put him back in the carrier, he exploded from all three openings - pee, poop, and foamy vomit. He got pretty yucky. His blood work came back normal except his BUN was a little high at 43. I dread him getting sick; most of my cats get kidney failure. He suggested re-testing in three months. His urine was fine with a pH of 6.0 and no crystals. His weight was down to 15.3 pounds (from 16.7) which I am pretty sure was due to the new kitten, Tinkie, who liked to jump on him. He then had to run, and she also would not always let him feed. The Tinkie diet works! His heart murmur was the same as before.
On 8/21/08, I took Gino to the vet to re-test his BUN and creatinine. The BUN was down to 34, and the creatinine was 1.6. Yay! Gino did not have chronic renal failure yet! The vet thought his BUN was high last time because he was dehydrated. That was likely since I had him caged so long to try to get a urine sample which stressed him (he refused to eat, drink, or use the litter pan for a full day). The vet sent in a pre-operation test because it was actually cheaper but gave us some more test data beyond the kidney values. The only other thing a little off was the clotting factor was low but that was probably because they did not submit enough blood in that vial according to the vet. I never did get a urine sample.
Gino developed conjunctivitis in his right eye and got triple antibiotic on 1/5/09 from the vet for it. His weight was down to 14.4 pounds from 15.3 pounds on 5/14/08.
Gino went to the vet on 2/18/09. His weight was down to 13.9 pounds. I had urine and blood taken. His albumin was slightly high. Kidney values and T4 were normal. The red blood cells were slightly high. The urine showed the specific gravity was a little high (slight dehydration possible). His urine pH was 7.5, a bit high but he had few crystals and no white or red blood cells in the urine. So, the vet suggested we could give him supplements to lower the urine pH. I already had some homeopathic pills to do that that I stopped giving the cats but I would start making powder from those and coating the food with them again. I just did not want to adversely affect the other cats in the process who stole Gino's food.
The first week of March 2009, I noticed that Gino's chin had lots of tiny black things on it. I thought they may be scabs that came off from cat acne which is a pretty common problem. My first cat, Bootsy, had more obvious acne with black and white heads that I used to try to express even. I looked on-line, and many claim that plastic bowls make cat acne worse so I bought some new stainless steel bowls. I also wiped his chin with a wash cloth with hydrogen peroxide and then some Neosporin once a day for a while to see if that made things better. He hated when I did it but seemed to like the chin scratching part.
Gino went to the vet on 5/19/09. His weight was up to 14.7 pounds! He got his rabies shot. The vet gave us some Benzoyl Peroxide shampoo for his chin. As for his asthma attacks, he said we could look in to an aerosol when he had attacks. The web site is aerokat.com. It would cost about $120, and I did not think Gino would allow me to give it to him when he was having an attack because the attack itself freaked him out alone without me involved. So, I would wait for now.
Gino went to the vet on 8/26/09. He was up to 15.1 pounds. He was supposed to just have a cystocentesis but they did a senior exam (without asking, tag on $59!). His urine pH was 7.0. He did have a moderate amount of crystals though so the vet said I should feed more CD versus WD vet foods.
Gino had a senior exam on 2/24/10. He was up to 15.5 pounds, so heavy. His urinalysis came back with some small crystals and pH of 7.0 so the vet was not too concerned. His blood work was normal.
Gino had a senior exam on 8/17/10. He was down to 15.1 pounds. They could not get any urine. His blood work was normal. The vet said his heart was skipping a beat, and he maybe should see the cardiologist again. We were going to check again in three months.
Gino was back at the vet on 11/30/10. His weight was up to 16.6 pounds. I thought he had lost weight! They were able to get urine to be tested. She listened to his heart and did not hear an irregular heart beat this time, yay! She did hear the murmur this time but rated it as a 3 which was the same level it was when he saw the cardiologist in 2005. So, at least he did not have to go back there for now. I got Gino's results on 12/2/10. His urinary pH was 6.5. He had no crystals at all and no infection. So, he was good for now.
Gino had a vet check on 5/31/11. His weight was down to 14.9 pounds. His heart murmur sounded the same. His blood work was all normal. His bladder was empty. He would not use the beads so I would try to put a cup under him if I came upon him while he was peeing.
I found a lump on Gino's right rib in late September. I took him to the vet on 10/4/11. The vet said the lump was on the outside of the ribs (it felt inside to me so that was good). She aspirated it and mostly got blood. On a slide, she only saw red and white blood cells. She did not find fatty cells (from a fatty tumor) or abnormal cells (from a cancerous tumor). The white blood cell level was higher than she expected so it might have been a local infection even though the lump did not seem at all like say an abscess. It did not leak, and it was semi-hard. She told me to just keep an eye on it so I would feel it every day and see if it changed. His weight was still 14.9 pounds. His bladder was empty so no cystocentesis. He had been drinking a lot lately, and I would really like to check his urinary pH and for a urinary tract infection. The vet's only solution was to confine him at the vet's for at least a day in an empty cage with wire floor to catch the pee. Unless and until he really needed it, I would not put him through that.
I tried to measure Gino's tumor and got about 3 cm by 3 cm. I thought it was growing.
Gino went to the vet on 1/10/12. His weight was down to 14.5 pounds. They took blood but could not get urine from him. I saw him pee in the litter pan an hour before the appointment and could not get to him fast enough to collect any. The vet had trouble finding his lump on his ribs so I guess that meant that it was getting smaller. His blood work showed the following abnormal results: albumin 4.0 (should be 2.5 to 3.9 g/dL), triglycerides 172 (should be 25 to 160 mg/dL), red blood cells 10.04 (should be 5.92 to 9.93; I have never heard of high RBC's!), and platelets and differential were not readable due to platelet clumping. He was in good shape as far as no problems with BUN, creatinine, liver enzymes, cholesterol, T4, white blood cells, and so on!
On 3/5/12, Gino was peeing as I walked by when I remembered I needed a sample from him! I only got the end of his pee, about 1 mL but it was enough. His pH was high at 8.0. He had a moderate amount of struvite cystals. There were no bacteria in the urine. I ordered two new dry cat foods that are both more natural than corn and lard and also are supposed to maintain a low pH. Since I could not confine Gino away from the other cats for feeding, I had to find a middle ground where they all got the best food but Gino's urinary pH would go down some. I hoped this change would improve the health of all the cats. The vet agreed that, unless Gino were locked away separate for feedings (I doubt I could even catch him when needed and then he would just cry and cry), there was not really a point in feeding all the cats the yucky vet food (corn gluten and pig lard) when they still have access to normal natural cat foods and treats. I thought a more natural food had got to be better for him. As long as he showed no symptoms (he had not been straining to pee), I would stick with this plan before trying to separate the cats.
Gino had a senior exam, blood work, and a rabies shot on 5/23/12. His weight was down to 14.1 pounds. The vet said his heart murmur had increased to a 3 to 4 out of 6 (6 being the worst). We both agreed that the growth on his ribs was also a little bigger. Except for very high triglycerides, Gino's blood test results were pretty much in the normal ranges. He did not have kidney problems, hyperthyroidism, or diabetes.
I took Gino back to the vet on 8/21/12 because I thought his tumor was growing too fast and strange and needed to be removed. His weight was down to 13.4 pounds. The vet said a needle biopsy would show nothing again most likely, and if she saw something, it would have to be sent out anyway. We both agreed that the lump did not seem like a fatty tumor and was probably something bad. The cost of surgery was about $1000 which I was willing to pay even though I had no income. The problem was Gino's heart condition. He was at much higher risk of dying from anesthesia than most cats. The vet suggested x-rays. For over $200 in x-rays, we confirmed that there was no evidence that the tumor had spread elsewhere in his body. They also showed no other problems and that his heart was just slightly enlarged but within normal ranges. The two vets and I thought the benefits of surgery (for removing the tumor and also cleaning his teeth while under if he was doing okay) outweighed the risk but my mother was sure he would die. My mother agreed that he could have the surgery if I knew that if something bad happened to him, it was all my fault, and I should be punished. The date was set for 9/18/12.
I picked up some antibiotics for Gino on 9/10/12 to begin on 9/17/12 (I was there with another cat). I had to reconstitute the Clavamox myself because it would not last otherwise. As a former chemist, that was an easy task. He would get 1.5 mL starting on Monday for five days. The vet would let me know the day of the surgery if he needed more than that.
Gino's operation was on 9/18/12. There was no problem with the operation itself. The vet thought the tumor was carcinoma, and the biopsy results should come by Friday. The vet thought he got all the tumor but did have to remove some muscle. He cleaned his teeth but did not have to remove any so they were pretty good. His wound was huge though, some 5 inches long and perpendicular to the ground. I got him to eat some baby food from a spoon with his Elizabethan collar off. I kept him in a cage until the morning. In the morning, he tried to run to my bedroom but hit his collar on the steps, walls, etc. He finally got there and was able to eat some treats in a bowl. He then rested on my bed but seemed to have trouble falling asleep. He seemed to be very uncomfortable and in pain. I did not know why they did not assume that he would be in pain! I called to the vets', and after a few hours, they were finally able to get him some Buprenex which I mixed with chicken baby food and fed to him at 2 pm. I planned to try to give him 100 mL of lactated ringers subcutaneously about an hour after that to see if I could re-hydrate him. He really could not drink with the collar on, and, since he drank too little to begin with, he would not drink in front of me if I confined him so I could watch him without the collar. It was hard to move him without harming his surgery area as well so I was touching him as little as possible.
Update on 9/22/12. Gino still would not eat from bowls. I had not seem him drink water either. I spoon fed him baby food three or four times a day; he was eating a few jars a day. I also got him to eat tuna yesterday but not much. I took the collar off during feedings but, as soon as he was done eating, he would go for his wound so I had to put it back on. He just sulked. I was giving him subcutaneous fluids around 3 pm each day, anywhere from 50 to 80 mL (I could not tell how much went in without releasing him so I was basing when to stop on his fluid lump). Tonight, he finally came upstairs and went to his favorite bed. He walked with his head down and seemed very depressed. On the good side, his huge wound was healing nicely. Only 10 more days!
Gino's biopsy results finally came back on 9/25/12. It was very bad news.
"The adipose tissue with skeletal muscle contains an infiltrative mass, at least 2.5 cm diameter, of atypical spindle and polyhedral cells forming capillary and cavernous, angular blood-filled spaces. Mitotic rate is 0-4/hpf. There is intralesional hemorrhage and necrosis. The lesion extends to a portion of the margin."
"Hemangiosarcoma (poorly differentiated)"
"Prognosis is guarded due to significant potential for local recurrence and metastasis of this high grade sarcoma. Consultation with an oncologist may be helpful."
It might have been helpful but it would also be extremely expensive and probably not extend Gino's life. I had no income and had already spent $2000 on Gino this year. I would spend it all if I could but my animals were living off my savings. Basically, the biopsy said that Gino had a cancer of the blood vessels that was likely to come back and/or spread within the next year. He would not be around much longer, and I would lose my only true friend.
Update 9/26/12. Not much had changed. Gino would eat turkey and tuna off a plate with his hat off. He decided that he was tired of baby food. I had yet to see him drink so I was still giving her fluids under the skin. He protested a bit more each day which was a good sign I thought that he was doing better. His wound was healing nicely. He was still sulking and stayed in the basement. Only 6 more days!
Gino had his stitches out and his e-collar off at 11 am on 10/2/12. He was SO much happier! Things were getting back to normal for him. The vet said it was highly likely that he left cancer cells in there as it had grown through his rib cage, and he could not dig around in there. He cut off some muscle and did what he could. It would regrow, perhaps in, perhaps out but the vet said he would not operate further. All we could wish for was that the growth was slow, and we would get a lot more time with him. He told me to look for signs of anemia (from internal bleeding or ruptured internal hemangiosarcomas) such as white gums and gasping for air. For now, Gino seemed well. I could not kiss him enough.
Gino went to the vet on 12/11/12. Like me, she did not know if the lumps regrowing at the bottom of his surgery site were of concern yet. In the last few weeks, a few distinct balls developed there. After surgery, there was a fatty area there (a pocket the vet called it) so it was always kind of clumpy. The tumors were at the mid-section of the incision so the vet thought it would be unusual for the tumor to regrow at the bottom. So, we waited to see if it grew (which it already had). Gino's weight was down to 12.5 pounds; he was losing weight. His heart murmur was the same. He had not been eating his favorite treats half the time that he begged for them. He was spending more time away from me but, when he was near me, he was very needy, even more than usual (demanded to be held, given treats, etc.). His generic blood work came back normal so that was good. I will be devastated when I lose him.
I tried to weigh Gino regularly. Using our human scale, he was 12.5 pounds on 12/15/12. On 12/26/12, his weight was down to 12.0 pounds. He was getting more skinny and tired. His tumors were definitely markedly growing. I felt so powerless. Whether or not I had any income, it did not seem to matter as this was fatal, and the vet basically would not treat it. Gino begged a lot for his treats but only ate them half the time.
On 1/23/13, my angel was down to 11.5 pounds. He was noticeably skinnier, and his coat was more oily (he was not grooming enough). He slept more but still wanted to cuddle. His tumors were all up and down his suture line. The largest at the bottom could be seen as purple through his skin and could have ruptured. There is no worse cruelty than cancer.
Gino spent 1/31/13 all day on my bed. I hugged and kissed him half a dozen times during the day, stayed with him for about 10 minutes twice, and cried over him. His breathing was starting to become labored. I carried him to the cats' beds in the laundry room at 10 pm. I tried to put him in a heated bed but he wanted to go his own way. He started to gasp. I knew this was my last moment with him alive. He was gone by dawn. He died on the same bed in the same spot as my first cat, Bootsy. I have never been closer to any animals than Bootsy and Gino. It was bitter cold so I had to put Gino in the freezer until the ground thawed. I am still in shock that my best friend is gone. While it was all too fast, I am glad that he only suffered the last few days. He ate his favorite CET chew his last morning and spent his day free. He chose to sleep on my bed. I hope that means that he really did love me because I loved him more than myself.
Gino was buried on 2/6/13 even though it was still cold because the freezer was thawing too much. My father had no problem digging the hole even though it was below freezing.
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