I recently learned that my cat, D.J. has squamous cell carcinoma (an oral tumor) in his right nasal cavity/mouth. Since he’s 17 years-old, I’ve made the decision not to put him through surgery, chemo, etc. If he was half his age or younger, I’d consider aggressive treatment. But D.J.’s had a long, wonderful, pampered life. I want him to spend the rest of his time enjoying every minute to the fullest, not in pain from treatments, not dreading going to the vet, and certainly not, at any time, missing me.

I don’t normally use the SNAP Cats social media pages for personal use, but I thought our story might inspire those who are now, or will be, faced with this situation. You see, I made D.J. a bucket list. He’s going to get everything and anything he wants. It’s a partial list right now (I keep adding to it), but so far, D.J. gets:

#1. All the tuna he can eat whenever he wants
#2. Sushi with dad (okay, this is more for me than him!)
#3. Fresh catnip every day (I will grow it in my spring garden)
#4. Full body massage by dad as often as possible
#5. Walks around our house every night (he loves this!)
#6. Peanut butter every morning (honestly, he LOVES peanut butter)
#7. To sleep as much as he wants
#8. Riding in the car without restraint
#9. A selfie with dad
#10. Breakfast in dad’s bed every day (’cause that’s where he likes to eat!)
#11. Walk on roof (explanation forthcoming)

I’m making D.J. as comfortable as possible. In addition to western medical meds, he’s also getting a little eastern medicine as well. I’m not going to get into the specifics because I know people will complain I’m not giving him something else as well. The main western med is Prednisone. This will keep the swelling down, hopefully slow or stagnate the growth of the tumor, and probably make him a little euphoric (I may take some myself!).

None of this will cure D.J.’s cancer. He’s going to die. So he will do so with dignity, with compassion, in comfort, and in knowing that I love him very, very much. The best thing about this is he doesn’t know. And he never will. I’m glad I know, though. It gives me this opportunity to make the rest of his life very special.

I’ll share our bucket list experiences with you here, posting pictures and text as we make our way through. I hope you follow our story.

If you’re wondering what “D.J.” stands for, it’s Darryl Junior. Honestly. He was given to me, as a 10 week-old kitten, by a friend, who had already named him.

Please keep D.J. in your thoughts. Thank you.

D.J. with his (late) sister, Blanche.


BUCKET LIST #1:

All the tuna he can eat whenever he wants. Check!


BUCKET LIST #2:

Sushi with dad (I’m eating off camera). Check!

Sushi with dad


BUCKET LIST #3:

(just planted) Fresh catnip every day. Check!


BUCKET LIST #6 & #10:

Breakfast in dad’s bed every morning WITH peanut butter. Check!


BUCKET LIST #8

Riding in the car without restraint. Check!


BUCKET LIST #11

Going for a walk on the roof. Check!

DJ on the roof


April 2, 1997 – May 31, 2014

4 thoughts on “DJ

  1. I remember when my mini-Maine Coon, Fluffy, was diagnosed with lung cancer. This was eight years ago. She was 18 years old, and was the mellowest cat I’d ever known. The vet wanted to euthanize her the next day, but she loved life and seemed fine. She lived another 8 months with zero issues, and then started violently dry heaving. The vet said it wasn’t the cancer that would kill her, but when her lung filled up, she would not be able to breathe. She went through 3 weeks of this, before I finally made the dreaded appointment. Even then, she did not want to leave me. All of my other cats, at the end of their lives, wanted their suffering to end. But not my Fluffy. She wanted to stay. I miss her every day. I’m trying to be as good as possible so that I can go to the same place that Fluffy and all of my other cats went to. I know they’re all in heaven. I miss them all so much.

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