Saturday, October 15, 2016

My spirit animal and another kind of awareness

My son and his wife have a very special cat.  I have had many cats in my life, but this one has more personality than any feline I've ever seen or owned.  I used to suggest they video their cat and put it on YouTube - I thought that it would become famous. It would be Happy Cat, the counterpart to Grumpy Cat. They never took my advice being busy young people, but she is my special grandcat.  Animals are so important to our lives.  My own cat is sitting on my lap as I type.

Sadly, my grandcat turned into my spirit animal.  Here is why: 

This is Dax 
by Alexandria Silberman

This is Dax. Dax enjoys things. Things like cuddling, sleeping on pizza boxes, and face smooshing.

So much face smooshing.
Dax also dislikes things. Things like baths, vacuums, and vet offices.

Nasty, scary, vet offices       
This is a story about Dax, and about a dumb kid who didn't know any better.
Dax was adopted in 2006. She was abandoned in a box at a pet store that my friend worked at. Said friend took the kittens in and bottle fed them until she could find them homes. When I got her, Dax was named “Pinky” because she had an eye infection and it was swollen shut. I took her in, fixed the eye, and with a new home, came a new (super nerdy) name: Dax. I was 19 at the time, and really excited to have this fluffy ball of fluff in my life.

The excitement is hidden behind face smoosh.

Dax was really excited about keeping me up all night, sucking on blankets, and generally raising hell. But… …*sigh* You know what?

I can’t do this.

I’m not the writer Ann is. She could spin a yarn about the ups and downs of my little pain in the ass and endear her to you. Maybe it’s because I’m more wrapped up in it, but I just can’t do that. So I’m just going to come out and say it: Dax was diagnosed earlier this year with mammary gland cancer. I’m sure there’s a fancy name for it, but I honestly can’t remember what it is.

Essentially, Dax has Kitty Breast Cancer. 

I would tell you her opinion on pink, but she’s never deemed it necessary to tell me one way or another. 

We noticed two little lumps on her belly about a year ago now. She’s always gotten little lumps here and there, but they would go away after a few weeks. Since these were on her belly, we weren’t exactly able to keep a steady eye on them. She’s a fluffy little smoosh and doesn’t exactly let us do thorough physical exams whenever we feel like it. Sometime in February 2016 she wanted a belly rub, and we noticed that her random belly bump had.. doubled in size. Oh, and there were two now. 

Well… shit. 

Cue vet visit, biopsy, anxiety. 


“Hello, Alexandria… Results from Dax’s biopsy… malignant mammary gland tumor… surgery…” 

Anxiety. Dread. Face smooshes. 

"No, Dax, I’m tryi-mmph. ...hrr krrterrr.. Drrx…" *sigh.. cuddle*

Yesss… Cuddle me like one of your French girls..
Surgery. Wedding. Stress stress stress.
Dax also dislikes e-collars. And conventional sleeping spots.
Vet is pretty sure they got everything, but recommends scans in a month or so to make sure. This was in May 2016. We had just gotten married and had approximately negative monies for vet bills. So we never went back, and we hoped. And saved. And hoped.

And oh god there’s another lump.

And another lump.
And up and up and up the belly they went, all the mammary glands, all the kitty boobs. Right in a row, like tidy little tumor soldiers, lining up in a firing squad to kill my cat.

Vet. Scans. Tears. Stress. Anxiety. Waiting.

“Hi Alexandria… Results from scans… cancer has spread up mammary system… possible lymph node… right lung…”

Lung. Her lung. Little smoosh.

“Coughing, shortness of breath… A few weeks."

Happy kitty, sleepy kitty, purr.. purr.. purr.

Cough. Cough. Purr.

We took her to an Oncologist. Chemo would buy her 6 months, optimistically. She would have 2 months without treatment. $830+ for the initial visit. $430 every 3 weeks for IV chemo.

We decided against treatment. We didn’t want the rest of our little slut’s life to be discomfort, and sick, and stress.

Don’t worry, little smoosh. No more vets.

Mammary cancer is the third most common cancer in cats. If you spay your cat before her 3rd heat, you can decrease the chances of them developing it by 40-60%. Forty to Sixty percent. That’s insane.

Dax was born in 2006. Dax was spayed in 2010, when I had funds. Dax developed mammary cancer in 2015. She was nine years old when we first found a lump.

Right now, Dax is exhibiting no signs of discomfort, shortness of breath… Really, no indication that anything is out of the ordinary. She’s still our little pain in the ass slutty face smoosh. But it’s only a matter of time before her kitty boobs kill her with kitty cancer.

So in our favorite pink-themed-awareness month, be aware of a different breast cancer. Please spay and neuter your pets early on in their lives. It prevents so many diseases and issues and sadnesses. There are low-cost clinics all over the place; many shelters offer free services for low-income families. There’s no excuse to not do it, other than sheer laziness. I was a lazy dumb kid who had no idea what my delay could lead to. I don’t want you to go through this.

No one should go through this.

Save the kitty boobs, spay your kitty. ...No, that’s dumb, how do I finiSMOOSH.

"...Hi Dax." *cuddle*


  1. Wow. I didn't know that this was even possible for cats, but of course, they are mammals like us. Alexandria, I am so very, very sorry. There's no easy way to lose a pet and knowing what's ahead for Dax has to be heartbreaking. Plus your life and Chris's has been marked profoundly enough already by breast cancer before this. I wish both of you much peace and healing going forward. We are all living miracles - because we choose to love, knowing that we may not get that happy ending, but choosing love anyway.

  2. I had a wonderful cat that looked this when I was a kid. We named him Rabbit because he was like a soft black and white bunny. So sorry about your kitty.


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