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Vet Talks: Frederico My Star in The Sky – A Vet’s Personal Tale of Feline Lymphoma

Inspiring Pet Tails 3 min read
Vet Talks: Frederico My Star in The Sky – A Vet’s Personal Tale of Feline Lymphoma

During my practical in veterinary school, I saw so many animals fighting cancer. Dogs, cats, rodents, birds, horses, cows. Each and every time, it was heartbreaking. But with my cancer cat Frederico, who suffered from feline lymphoma, it was especially difficult.

He was beautiful to me though. I took him home and loved him fully.

Frederico appeared in my life at a time when I probably needed him most. I had just lost one of my other kitties and found Frederico while I was still grieving. Frederico and his siblings were left in the vet clinic simply because they were mixed breed cats. Out of all his siblings, he was the last one left. The receptionist at the vet clinic told me he was still waiting for a home because he was not as ‘beautiful’ as his brothers and sisters.

He was beautiful to me though. I took him home and loved him fully. Then again, he was so easy to love. I can remember as clear as the day when Frederico came home. He was so happy to have so much space. I’ve always rescued pets, so he was now part of the menagerie of furry misfit love.

dr amanda vet talks frederico the cat with lymphoma

He was amazing with people too. I would sometimes need to save him from the children that would come by, scared that they were being too rough with him. His docile personality allowed him to put up with a lot. Even the most ardent non-cat people (is there such a thing?), fell in love with Frederico. He was so calm that even vet visits, which can be difficult for so many cats, were simple for my easy-going little guy.

dr amanda from NHV with her cats

On one of these vet visits when Frederico was 13 years old he was diagnosed with lymphoma. I felt my heart sink to my knees that day. As a veterinarian, I knew that the life expectancy of a cat with lymphoma was not very long. I made the very personal decision to not do chemotherapy. It can be so difficult, and as hard as these decisions are, I felt like the best thing for Frederico was to give him the best quality of life possible while he fought his battle with feline lymphoma.

My holistic cancer treatment plan for Frederico was as comprehensive as I could make it. I gave him supplements, changed his diet—which included introducing more wet food, and medication to help him manage the discomfort. After the initial diagnosis, Frederico lived for more than 3 years, more than the date appointed in the literature.

As much as I wanted him too, Frederico didn’t live forever. Eventually, cancer and old age took its toll and even day-to-day tasks had become uncomfortable for him. He was not himself anymore. I was in Canada away from my home in Brazil and away from Frederico when one morning my mother told me that he woke up very weak. They did some lab work and sent it to me. I saw that there was not a lot that could be done for him. He was suffering too much. He no longer had the quality of life a senior cat enjoys.  So I made one of the most difficult decisions in my life. I let my Frederico go…to sleep… to pass peacefully from this world.

dr amanda vet talks frederico the cat with lymphoma 2

I cried a lot. Frederico had been a part of my life for 16 years. I didn’t know how to explain to my 2-year-old daughter that her sweet cat was no longer there. But she shared her 2-year-old wisdom with me: “Mamie, don’t cry,” she said, “Frederico is now a star in the sky. We can talk with him every night”.

It’s never easy with a cat suffering from feline lymphoma. I’m putting a few resources here for you for holistic cat cancer treatments, like what to feed a cancer pet, supplements, and other tips for lymphoma in cats. We’re all pet parents here, so if there is anything I can do for you as part of NHV, I hope you reach out.

Dr. Amanda Nascimento DVM, MVSc, PhD

Dr. Amanda Nascimento DVM, MVSc, PhD

Dr. Amanda completed her undergraduate degree in veterinary medicine in 2010 and graduate studies in veterinary pathology (MVSc. 2012 and PhD 2016) at the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of São Paulo. She completed her post-doctoral training at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine – University of Saskatchewan in 2018. Dr. Nascimento will be hosting her own blog series and sharing her knowledge with our extended NHV family.

Published: February 1, 2019

2 replies

  1. Juliet Farmer says:

    Thank you for sharing this story, Dr. Amanda. I have a soft spot for the orange tabbies. I can’t recall how I found NHV to begin with, but your products helped give my orange tabby Flynn some really good, quality time before we had to say goodbye.

    Our Flynn may have been the night to Frederico’s day. I’m convinced Flynn was feral–the day we adopted him, he was in a LARGE room by himself practically bouncing off the walls. And his “name” was Rowdy. (We later learned he had been adopted at one of our two local shelters, kept for less than a week and then surrendered at the other shelter–the one we happened to choose to check out first.) My husband was set on an orange cat, and I wanted a black cat, so we brought Rowdy/Flynn and Jackie/Moxie home. It just happened to be Mother’s Day.

    Flynn was trouble from day one. I was going through chemo at the time, so I was extra cautious of him. He was wild, but my husband was patient with him and eventually Flynn mellowed out just enough to be allowed to roam the house. But I stayed away.

    The pair were about a year old when we went on our first vacation, and when we came home our cat sitter mentioned the dreaded, “Flynn has been in and out of the box a lot in the past 24 hours.” That night he completely blocked. One emergency vet visit later and he lasted less than 24 hours before blocking again. This time we didn’t even take him home from the vet, and when he blocked AGAIN within a few hours of the last one, we ok’d the PU surgery.

    I had lots of time on my hands recovering from my cancer, so I spent 24/7 with Flynn during his recovery. I slept in “his” room, napped with him, etc. for the week-ish it took him to recover.

    Ever since, we we had a tight bond. Flynn HATED everyone except for us and maybe two other people, detested children, and he was so bad at the vet that they usually had to sedate him just to be able to handle him. But with me and my husband, he was the biggest love bug.

    Flynn was a few months from his 14th birthday when he passed away, and we were fortunate enough to be able to schedule the euthanasia for at home and it was really sad but also really lovely.

    His “sister” Moxie passed away last year, so right now we’re empty nesters (we’re waiting for spring/kitten season, Mother’s Day, to be exact). I think Flynn and Moxie would approve, and I’m hoping they will be there in spirit to nudge a pair of kittens as amazing as they were our way.

    1. NHV Natural Pet Products says:

      Hi Juliet,

      Such a special story. Thank you so much for sharing it with us. Looks like Flynn was waiting for the perfect parents to come along and he chose you! It feels really special when a cat chooses you as the ones who get to love him, pick him up and take care of him…until the very end. It’s a very unexplainable emotion. Very much like a mother getting privilege from her child. It’s very special that you got to experience this bond with little Flynn.

      You were parents to two beautiful kitties. We remember Moxie really well. And now maybe it’s time to open your arms to another fur kid.

      I hope you are doing well. Please take good care of yourself. Sending love to the little angels.

      Yours in wellness,
      Dr. Amanda
      Team NHV Natural Pet

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