RIP Limbo 12/28/10


LIMBO moved in with with me two years and four months ago.

She was the ultimate lap cat, and PERFECT COMPANION for this older, single person.  She always greeted me happily with her tail stuck up like a flagpole, snuggled on the couch and in bed with her purring head stuck right in my face, loved to rub noses, had the softest fur, mellowest demeanor, and never tried to bite me - even after stepping on her tail twice. Chasing a laser pen was her passion.

For the past year, I’ve been leaving her home alone five days a week because my duties at work have me TRAVELLING ALL THE TIME.

That’s where this sad story starts.

And ends.


Limbo’s fall from good health started unexpectedly about eight months ago - maybe from seperation anxiety.

I got home from another weeklong business trip to find some kind of growth on her right thigh, and vomit all over the house. 

Thank goodness the vet’s opened on Saturday.  Her doctor diagnosed it as an allergic reaction, gave her a shot of VETALOG, and explained that the steroid would slow down her immune system’s over-response to the (alleged) allergy.

For a while I thought the medicine was working.

During Limbo’s yearly exam a couple of months later, the vet found and removed a benign tumor, and assured me she’s in good health.

While home for a weekend, I noticed another uglier looking growth, or maybe the first one got worse.  Thank goodness the vet’s still opened on Saturday. Another shot of Vetalog, and another assurance from her doctor that she’s fine and her body is simply having an allergic reaction.

I asked “An allergic reaction to what?”

The doctor didn’t know, but wasn’t alarmed, and sent us home.

The second shot of Vetalog may have been a mistake.

In a couple of months the mass turned into a horrible blob that looked liked guts hanging outside her body.

“Allergy my ass,” I mumbled to myself.

Not open for a third shot of Vetalog or sent home with more empty assurances of good heath from her regular vet, I took a week vacation from work, then brought Limbo to my favorite holistic vet whose only open weekdays.  Limbo got a penicillin shot, 21 days worth of antibiotics, acupuncture, a new hypoallergenic diet, and instructions and solutions for me to bathe the spot twice a day.

After a few days vacation ended, and I went away on more business trips, leaving Limbo home alone sick, putting my job in front of her wellness.

The horrible looking spot got worse.

The next month I had more vacation time off from work, and able to be home for the holidays. I made a commitment to Limbo and myself to forget flying up north to see my elderly mom for Christmas, and do whatever I can to make up for skirting my responsibility as her caregiver.

We went back to the holistic vet who referred me to another doctor who ordered a bunch of tests that cost a small fortune, found a parasite called CAPILLARIA PLICA, gave Limbo a shot to kill it, more pills to take home, and two laser treatments.

Then the rest of the test results came in.

The news was shattering - melanoma cancer found on all three biopsy samples.

Further laser treatment was abandoned as something that can aggravate the cancer, and the doctor now referred me to an animal hospital for CHEMOTHERAPY. The success rate is small, and treatment expensive ($5k - $10K). Chemo poisons the whole body, killing off everything - including - hopefully - the cancer.

I decided against it.

I brought Limbo back to the holistic vet who read the reports, then referred me to another doctor with a slick hi-tech ANTI-CANCER MACHINE just made for us new agers.

Another small fortune worth of tests, and this latest doctor was anxious to get Limbo on a treatment plan right away.

So was I, before having to abandon her again to go on more business trips away from home.

The guy almost sold me a package of 12 cancer treatments for a couple of thousand dollars using his cancer-killing machine’s GLORIFIED HEATING PAD.  I love the idea of heat therapy and promoting self-healing much better than destructive chemotherapy.  At least until the next doctor comes along and convinces me his bottle of super duper SNAKE OIL will fix the cat right up.

Then I saw the chest x-rays, and shook my head in disbelief.

A fluid called CHYLE filled Limbo’s insides so bad that her whole chest cavity was almost whited out on the film.  How/why was she NOT SHOWING any pain, and not gasping for breath?

Now the vet explained she needs the fluid drained, cancer treatments, has lymph node trouble that may or may not be fixable, a foreign object in her abdomen that needs surgery to get out, and who knows what else.

And he seemed to light up with some other thoughts of things we can try with his anti-cancer machine eating away my wallet, if not the cat’s cancer.  The guy that sold me my last used car couldn’t have given a better sales pitch.

The salesman doctor did a procedure right away that drained the fluid (210ml worth), and sent me home with a bag of stuff to do at home, which necessitates me being around, not away on endless business trips.


Limbo went to her eternal rest about 4PM today.

She was young - about five.

It was MY CHOICE to END HER LIFE now - by lethal injection - and be with her AT THE END - not COME HOME from SOME BUSINESS TRIP to FIND HER DEAD, or spend every cent I got and RISK LOSING MY JOB taking more time off from work to nurse her, and run her to more doctors trying to prolong her life.

When Patches lived and died - things were much easier for both of us.  Besides living to a ripe old age, and having the MOST BEAUTIFUL DEATH one can hope for their pet, I didn’t have a bunch of doctors marketing their particular brand of allergy medicine, laser treatment, heat therapy, or whatever, and forced to discern between them. My boss let me sneak out from work whenever needed to bring her to doctors, and I found it in my heart to do whatever it took - like when she got cancer - to keep her alive and well. Now - like a cold-blooded, stone-hearted, selfish PSYCHOPATH - I’m concerned about how much treatment costs, and WHAT WOULD HAPPEN AT WORK if I asked the boss to cut down my business travel to attend to this personal matter.

For that, I hate myself.

How dare I compare the life of this precious creature with MONEY and a JOB.


“There is no refuge from memory and remorse in this world. The spirits of our foolish deeds haunt us, with or without repentance.”
- Gilbert Parker

“True compassion is not just an emotional response but a firm commitment founded on reason. Because of this firm foundation, a truly compassionate attitude toward others does not change even if they behave negatively. Genuine compassion is based not on our own projections and expectations, but rather on the needs of the other: irrespective of whether another person is a close friend or an enemy, as long as that person wishes for peace and happiness and wishes to overcome suffering, then on that basis we develop genuine concern for their problem. This is genuine compassion. For a Buddhist practitioner, the goal is to develop this genuine compassion, this genuine wish for the well-being of another, in fact for every living being throughout the universe.”
- Dalai Lama, The Compassionate Life