My cat, Tabby Korkor, was a roaming stray alpha male cat whom I got to know in 2011/2012. He didn’t use to like humans very much until one day, I won him over with food. Since then, he’s been very close to me. He’s a very special cat and took it upon himself to ‘protect’ me from other cats. If the other cats nipped at me or scratched me, he would rush forward and smack them or just go scare them off with his aura since he’s the alpha male of the area. Once, a cat bit me really hard and refused to let go, Tabby Korkor appeared out of nowhere and started smacking the cat really hard to try to get that cat off me. When the cat eventually released her bite, Tabby Korkor chased after her and stopped mid chase, turned and looked at me as if to check if I was all right, before continuing his chase. In 2013, during the very bad haze period, I brought him home and he’s been with me ever since.
This year in February, I noticed a bump above his left eye which grew very rapidly, like right before our very eyes. It pressed against his left eye and caused him to tear from that eye. On 14 Feb 2019, I brought him to the vet. Tried antibiotics, nope, not working so ruled out bacteria infection. Did fungi antigen test, nope, not fungal infection. Eventually, we did a biopsy and sent it to a histology lab and it was found to be cancer, B-cell lymphoma. Paid for the vet to consult an oncologist from Australia to work out a chemotherapy protocol. We quickly started on the chemotherapy and the bump went down.
However, on the third week of chemotherapy, a drug that was used didn’t seem to agree with Tabby Korkor. A day after he took that jab, he started to drool a lot, and was very quiet. He started to lose his appetite and didn’t eat. He lost a lot of weight (Before cancer, he was a 6.9kg cat. During the first two weeks of chemotherapy, he was 6.6kg. After this episode, he went down to around 5.8kg and now with very regular syringe feeding, we managed to get him to about 6kg.).
Two days after the third week of chemotherapy, we brought him back to the vet. A full blood count and biochemistry test were done. They couldn’t tell what was wrong except that he was very nauseated.
On the fourth week (a rest week), we went back and a full blood count was done. Tabby Korkor was still drooling a lot, not eating and basically very reserved, but still they couldn’t tell what was wrong.
On the fifth week (another rest week) on 11 April 2019, his regular vet was back. That was when the biochemistry blood test results showed abnormalities. Creatinine values were high and vet heard a heart murmur. They did an ultrasound and found that the left side of the heart was thickened and the left kidney was enlarged. Tabby Korkor was hospitalised for IV fluids to support his kidneys, for a week.
During hospitalisation, creatinine values went from 300+ to 900+ in two days (the ceiling of normal creatinine values is 212), then went down to about 500+. On the first two days of IV fluids, Tabby Korkor was clinically better. He was able to eat and was more active. However, on the last day of his hospitalisation, he became more reserved again. But, we had to bring him home cause the clinic was not opened on a public holiday (Good Friday). He was sent home with subcutaneous fluids. At this point, chemotherapy was halted. He went back to the vet each week for 3 weeks to test for his blood creatinine values. At home, Tabby Korkor wasn’t doing very well, he refused to eat and basically was very lethargic and sleepy all the time. I started to syringe feed him his prescription renal pouches and K/D cans in order to get some food into him (prior to this, I was against prescription diets cause I believe cats should eat their natural diet - the Frankenprey diet). Throughout the 3 weeks, the creatinine values just kept creeping up until on 02 May 2019, it got to about 900+, his vet said that at this point we should intervene already. She suggested hospitalisation with IV fluids again and a feeding tube. However, I didn’t hospitalise him that day cause it’s very expensive to hospitalise him there and I declined the feeding tube. It costs roughly $250 on average per day stay.
On 04 May 2019, I did an animal communication session with Tabby Korkor. I didn’t mention anything about feeding tube to the animal communicator cause I didn’t even consider it an option, but Tabby Korkor went ahead and told the animal communicator that he did not want a feeding tube and was quite adamant about it. Well, knowing him, alpha male and all, I would’ve known even if he didn’t mention, which was why I declined the vet’s suggestion in the first place.
On 05 May 2019, on the advice of someone experienced, I brought Tabby Korkor to another vet clinic for a second opinion.
By 06 May 2019, I finally decided that I should hospitalise him despite the costs so that he could have a chance to flush out the nitrogenous waste in his blood. Moreover, the lymphoma seems to be coming back cause the bump on his head is starting to swell again and I discussed with his vet to restart chemotherapy with a revised protocol from the oncologist using only the first two drugs that worked which didn’t affect him much. I did read up about the the two drugs, their mechanisms and stuff, and I feel comfortable enough that these two drugs that we’re gonna be using again theoretically shouldn’t affect his kidneys further.
Tabby Korkor is fighting, he was an alpha male of the neighbourhood and it’s ingrained in his character to fight. As his vet said, “If he keeps going, we’ll keep going.”. However, my resources to help him fight is running very low. To date, I estimate that I’ve spent close to 10k in these three months. I have posted most of the invoices from the vet’s. I haven’t received the email for the invoices starting from his hospitalisation on 06 May 2019 yet, but I had placed a $300 deposit on 06 May 2019, topped up another $1k on 15 May 2019 and paid up the outstanding of $1935.95 on 16 May 2019. This is really the last that I have and to be honest, some are borrowed money which I’ll have to work very hard to return. We would have to go back for a review on 20 May 2019 and his next dose of chemotherapy would be on 23 May 2019. Each session of chemotherapy costs roughly $300 for administration and miscellaneous stuff, and this doesn’t include the price of the chemotherapy drugs, which I usually get from the National Cancer Centre (NCC) with the vet’s script. Each of the two drugs that are used in the protocol costs around $80ish and the NCC charges a dispensing fee of $80 each time. And because of the kidney issues (failure), he has to receive darbepoetin (a synthetic erythropoietin) jabs every week to stimulate the bone marrow to produce red blood cells, else he’ll be anemic. The vet usually gives me a script and I’ll go and get them myself. For the first dose, I went to a vet clinic recommended by his vet to get a syringe and it costed me around $160. However, I’ve since learned that I could get a similar or identical product from NUH at around $48. Each syringe can be used for two weeks. The costs just build up like this.
The invoices shown mostly exclude the prescription renal pouches which he has to be on (not cheap and he goes through 3-4 pouches per day for syringe feeding), the Hartmann’s solution and butterfly needles for his subcutaneous fluids at home, and the syringes to syringe feed him, because I could find all these elsewhere for a lower price as compared to the vet’s.
I don’t know how much more money he’d need but it’s not hard to know that it’s gonna be a lot a lot, I can foresee a fair bit of future hospitalisations to pull him back when he strays. When it was just the chemotherapy, I could afford it with a bit of scrimping and saving. But now, with the kidneys complications, it really is hard to sustain. One episode of hospitalisation can easily run up to over $2k-$3k.
Tabby Korkor once took it upon himself to ‘protect’ me from other cats. Now, it’s only right for me to protect and watch over him. But, to do it with my own strength alone is not quite possible. Tabby Korkor needs some help from you