Sunday, June 23, 2024
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A Resolution of Sorts

Giuseppe, full of love.

Mr. Sunshine had a veterinary appointment this week, which I will catch up on after all the test results are back, but I finally had the chance to talk to my regular veterinarian about Giuseppe. I hadn’t had the chance to talk to her in the brief time between his visit with the neurologist and when he had that final seizure. Just before the holidays she was very busy and I was still in shock and didn’t even know what questions I had for her. And I knew even if I had had a chance to talk to her then, I’d still have questions later. So I decided to just let some time pass, heal a part of my grief, start to accept what happened, and talk to her later.

I will list all the questions I had in another post because I also want to include more information about his treatments, those last few days and the decision-making. But I looked at the timing, how he had only shown any neurological symptoms at all right at the end of October, though I wasn’t aware what was happening then. I had noticed his odd wandering and a lack of the focus he had had in September and begun trying to capture it in photos and videos at the very end of October, and it was just a week later that it was noticeable enough indoors that I took him to Rivers, a week after that that he had his first neural incident which more likely was a cardiac event called a syncope than a seizure, then a few days later I had the referrals to neurological specialists in the area, got him to our regular veterinarian, then a week later he started head pressing and I got him to the neurologist through emergency one day prior to our scheduled appointment, treatment worked very well at first but quickly faded, and then he had that final seizure two days later. Four weeks.

I knew the first time I took him to Rivers, before any neural incidents and discovered he’d lost some vision in his right eye, that something was wrong and was likely a brain tumor. If I had been able to move faster in all that process, would that have made a difference? That was my basic question.

Reading about this condition, a meningioma is not all that rare in older cats, surgery is nearly always successful with no recurrence. I was convinced I could raise the thousands of dollars to get the tests done and the surgery. But the neurologist was cautious even though Giuseppe had responded well to reducing the pressure in his skull—he still needed serious tests to be able to see exactly what was happening. She may have also thought, as our regular veterinarian had originally diagnosed, that he had underlying heart disease, and both of them wanted him to see the cardiologist before even an MRI because he’d have to be anesthetized. Even though Giuseppe was in good physical shape, the neurologist was skeptical that we could have done brain surgery with possible heart disease and with how advanced his tumor was, and my regular veterinarian said she probably would not have chosen surgery for her own cat in this case, with all the risks and recovery.

I remember at our visit to PetWellClinic on October 24 to take blood for T4 tests and Mimi’s senior panel, I was surprised at how Giuseppe reacted, a little scared, even hiding, not at all his congenial self, and oddly weak too, lying sternal with his head down under the exam table with Mr. Sunshine purring loudly and comforting him. Heart disease, neural effects, who would know right then, and only I knew how he normally acted in situations like this because they’d never met him or Mimi, only Mr. Sunshine.

two black cats
Mr. Sunshine purrs loudly and licks Giuseppe to comfort him.

He had done well later at PVSEC as he moved through emergency and neurology, but the neurologist’s hesitation about surgery and even testing may have been because she’d seen a similar reaction as at PetWellClinic.

His incident in May when we discovered high blood pressure was likely caused by this, because of the suspected position of the tumor. The immediate dosing of Amlodipine for high blood pressure probably bought some time.

I will just be happy that he had a good summer, even after losing Mewsette and his best buddy Jelly Bean. In late August as the renovations were finishing he and Mr. Sunshine teamed up and it was the brothers all the time, getting back into old habits like sleeping on my feet every night. On September 1 a new adventure, going out in the back yard, every day, for the rest of Giuseppe’s days. And it was an awesome autumn, little rain, warm temperatures, lots of sunshine, and the three of us spent a really magical time together that I know I will never forget, and I know it was special for them too. On through September and into October—it was October 23, the day before we went to PetWellClinic for their appointment, that I took this unforgettable photo that just encapsulates those wonderful two months:

three black cats on fence
All three doing their thing.

Even though I can see now that things were developing with Giuseppe before that, the serious symptoms started about a week after this and even then were mild. Even December 2 when he was at our regular vet he was circling rooms a good bit of the time but still affectionate and social and responsive, chasing treats across the floor. During the week after that his condition really escalated with his constant pacing and circling, being unsafe around stairs, not stopping to eat or drink, then head pressing, and three days after that the final seizure. What could have been years of suffering came down to just a week of the worst of it, a month of anything obvious. With a critical condition like a brain tumor, he could have suffered horribly even as we tried to diagnose and help him. But we had the time of our lives and just a brief time of suffering at the end of it, where we were all together, we had veterinarians who offered treatment and relief, and we could keep him from suffering the worst of it until it was his time to go. And I will always think he chose it that way.

So I can finally stop staying up too late, wandering around the house not getting much done some days, not getting to any artwork, just letting myself take all of this in and understand, and start resolving my grief at suddenly losing Giuseppe. He did not suffer, and though I’ll always think he and Mewsette and Jelly Bean were cheated out of years at the end of their lives, he did not live a day longer than his quality of life persisted.

It’s been good to start posting again this past week, getting back in touch in person and on social media, enjoy my new glasses, and start working out future activities. A lot has been up in the air for weeks and months, even years. Thanks for sticking with me.

And I was finally able to create an image to dedicate to him and add it to the sidebar so, like the ones I made for Mewsette and Jelly Bean, you can click this and see all the stories in the category Giuseppe’s Journey.

Giuseppe, full of love.

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“Rolling Around” framed.

Giuseppe was having a really good roll around on the floor, for no apparent reason except that it made him happy. I think we should all do that each day! Read more and order.


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Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life

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And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!




From health and welfare to rescue and adoption stories, advocacy and art, factual articles and fictional stories, "The Creative Cat" offers both visual and verbal education and entertainment about cats for people who love cats, pets and animals of all species.

6 thoughts on “A Resolution of Sorts

  • Giuseppe, your photo is awesome buddy ~~~~ as you start your tenth life, please
    tell everyone you meet, that we all said HI, and send loves ♥♥♥

    • I’m sure he’s been very busy, and probably finding some kittens to help socialize or adult cats deal with trauma or seniors who need a little youthful energy.

  • 15andmeowing

    Beautiful post about your sweet boy. XO

  • The hardest part of having cats is that their life is shorter than ours.
    Giuseppe lived a wonderful life with you
    Sending you lots of hugs as I know you will miss that sweet kitty.
    Thank you for sharing him with us.
    Nancy and Winnie(my newest black cat)

    • Thank you, Nancy and Winnie. I found your blog again and read all about Julie last night. She had a wonderful life with you too. We will miss those special housepanthers, they did so much for us, and they introduced us to each other too!


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