A Tribute to Pumpkin
Found as a stray, petite Pumpkin arrived at the Sanctuary and quickly became a newbie favorite! You’d often find her in her room already purring, waiting on the couch for her friends to stop by for some cuddles! She had the softest fur and would go back and forth from your lap to the couch, finding the perfect spot to “make biscuits” and receive plenty of pets. It was estimated she was around 2 years old prior to her arrival and it was clear she preferred to be the only Pumpkin in the patch in a home. After she quickly settled in, she was ready to be put up for adoption.
However, after a couple of months, staff noticed the scratch on Pumpkin’s nose that she had upon arrival wasn’t healing and was getting bigger. During our next vet visit, she was on the roster to be seen to investigate what the scratch/bump was. Our vet wasn’t too sure what exactly it could be, and to make sure we checked off all of our boxes, she recommended a biopsy. After the biopsy, we sadly received the news that the bump was indeed a nasal carcinoma. At this time, we took Pumpkin down from adoption to focus on her the care and rehabilitation.
Weighing out all of our vet’s recommendations and options for Pumpkin, we decided to move forward with radiation given the size, localization, and type of carcinoma. She was taken to a specialist over the course of a week as she received her radiation treatment. One thing that we discovered, much to our surprise, was that her original estimated age was very off. The cancer specialists said she was certainly not 2 years old, like previously recorded. Instead, they estimated she was about 10 to 12 years old! Though it didn’t matter to us how old our Pumpkin was, it made sense as to how she developed cancer at this age.
The treatments certainly took a toll on this sweet girl, but she proved how much of a tough cookie she was with each session. She did become more tired and her appetite wasn’t the greatest, but she was still the sweet, affectionate girl we knew and loved. Once treatment was over, she did have some hair loss around her nose and inflammation in her sinuses that caused her to be congested every so often. Along with medication, staff gave Pumpkin daily nebulizer treatments and had a humidifier in her room to help. As she recovered, Pumpkin’s fur was slowly growing back and we waited for further follow up appointments to ensure the cancer did not come back. After these appointments and an “all clear”, we decided to post Pumpkin back up for adoption, hopeful that this senior sweetie would have another chance at a forever home.
Yet as the months rolled by, Pumpkin’s health was never quite the same and our once social, sweet girl became very subdued. Her appetite became even more irregular.. She slept all day and all night, rarely lifting her head when her friends stopped by. She became more congested and was having difficulty breathing through her nose on some days. Staff knew something wasn’t right and further evaluation was indeed in order. Though we weren’t shocked by the news, we were still deeply saddened to find that her cancer did come back, even more ferocious than the first time. It had spread to her mouth at a faster pace than we expected. As much as we wanted to fight again, we knew poor Pumpkin wanted to rest easy and suffer no more. We’re grateful we had those last few moments with Pumpkin, telling her how sweet, kind, and amazing she was. We let her know she was a truly remarkable cat and how we would never forget the fighter that was inside. We let her know how much we loved her, as she gently passed away in our arms. As sad as it was to lose our lovely girl, we’re happy we gave her a second chance at life and an opportunity to say goodbye around the people that truly loved her. We find peace in knowing she’s resting, suffering no more, sleeping peacefully in our hearts.