State of the Blackjack

So the Thursday before we went off to Hawaii Blackjack had his last chemo treatment for his cancer. So seven months of weekly or bi-weekly vet visits for treatment came to an end for him. The last treatment was one of the rough ones, and he got 4 days of strong anti-nausea meds, and then off we went on vacation. We had four friends lined up as cat-sitters to give him (and Newton) their pills, in addition to the usual cat-sitting events.

Wednesday he had a check-up with the vet, who said he looks great (including his blood work), and he’ll have another re-check in six weeks. We’re also winding down the cortical steroid pills he’s been taking, which makes us all happy.

That all sounds good, but not all is good with our black guy.

We noticed over the first two days that he’d stopped jumping up on things. Specifically on the kitchen counters, where he could often be found before we left. He still jumped up on couches, but he had trouble jumping up on our bed, which is higher than the couches. He learned that if he jumped up and couldn’t make it, then he could come around to my side of the bed and meow and I’d pick him up.

He’s also been sleeping a lot, and sleeping hard. Now, Debbi’s still home on her sabbatical, so she sees him sleeping most of the day, but then, she sees Newton and Roulette sleeping most of the day, too. So, is this normal?

He also seems a little wobbly on his feet, which might be related to him not jumping.

Debbi asked the vet about it at his check-up, and they said he might have hit his head, or missed making a jump and is a little gun-shy about jumping now, or maybe he has a cold which is throwing off his balance. We don’t know.

So we’ve been keeping an eye on him, and trying to make his life easier while we decide whether he needs further examination. For instance, I brought one of the ottomans up and put it at the foot of the bed, and he’s learned to use it to get up to sleep with us. (He’s also decided that when he does get in bed with us he needs to announce his presence with a couple of loud meows. Thanks, guy.)

We also noticed that not a lot of food is being eaten – by anyone. We wondered if the food in their container is stale, so I tossed out the stuff in the bowls, cleaned out the bowls, and opened a new bag of food for them. And they seem to be eating more today, so maybe that’s part of it. I also gave them all some wet cat food yesterday morning, and Blackjack chowed that down. So maybe he’s been hungry? (Then again, I think the cats always eat a little less as winter approaches.)

Last night we had a rain storm, with some pretty strong wind. It’s the first significant storm we’ve had in the new house, and all three cats were pretty wound up about it. Blackjack decided he would complain by sitting in the hallway and yowling. But I’m pretty sure it was the storm, since Newton and Roulette were also trotting around trying to figure out where they felt safe.

In other ways he’s been fairly normal. He’s played a few times, he pounced on his sister this morning because he wanted to lie where she was, he’s been eating bits of cheese that we give him after giving him his pill, and he still loves eating human food. Last night he was chowing down on bits of rice from stuffed peppers Debbi baked, and I had to keep him from pulling more off my plate with his paw.

But he’s not quite right. We’re hoping he’ll get better, and we’re making sure he doesn’t get worse. But if he keeps on like this, I’m not sure what we’ll do. Give it another week or two and then take him in for another exam, I guess.

We’ve always known there are no guarantees about Blackjack since he was diagnosed with lymphoma. My hope has been that we’d have another 2 or 3 good years with him. I’m hoping that this is just lingering reaction to six months of chemo, and that he’ll bounce back and be a little more energetic soon. But I worry that he won’t.

3 thoughts on “State of the Blackjack”

  1. I didn’t realize that it was an issue, but one of the evenings when I was over, he tried to jump onto something (the couch, I think) and missed. I hadn’t realized he was going for it until I heard the thump and looked up to see him on the floor looking frustrated. I admit, I laughed. That might have also been the night I discovered he was deaf, poor kitty. He must have been asleep when I came in. He could tell there was someone in the house, but didn’t know where I was. I came around to the kitchen from the living room, and he was sitting in the hallway looking at the front door. I called him and snapped my fingers, nothing. After about a minute of me calling to him, he turned around and saw me and jumped nearly a foot. It took about 15 minutes before he wanted me anywhere near him. You can’t trust people who teleport.

  2. Bex: When I read your comment, my first reaction was, “Deaf? Blackjack isn’t deaf…” But last night we ran some informal tests on him, and sure enough, it seems like he can’t hear us.

    This is a very recent development, as he was certainly able to hear us as recently as August. I’m not sure it explains him not jumping onto the counter anymore, but it could explain a number of other things.

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