03 June 2014


About seven years ago three adorable kittens came into our home.  Tiny, tiny.  All three could fit in my left hand.  Charly, Maxie, and Freddie were between 6-8 weeks old.

Charly was the runt and had his eyes were running constantly. But Charly grew up into a prince’s body: tall, elegant, and lean.

Unlike boisterous and talkative Maxie, or powerful and energetic Freddie, Charly was very laid back, gentle, and affectionate.

About two and a half years ago Charly developed stomatitis, the bane of our household, which is a painful inflammation of the gums and throat. The initial treatment is teeth cleaning, and if that does not work, long lasting steroids. When that does not work, the recommended treatment is removing all the cats teeth except the canines.  We delayed that treatment because of cost. Cat dentistry today is enormously expensive now, at least in Los Angeles, with X-rays, anesthesia, surgery, etc., just getting the teeth cleaned can cost $500-$700 at the better vet clinics and higher with a specialist.

Four weeks ago we decided we had to get Charly’s teeth removed, the inflammation was terrible and he had been losing weight from the pain of eating for 6 months or more.

We took him to Dr. Tsugawa of Culver City, the most highly recommended dentist-specialist in Los Angeles.  All of Charlys non-canines were removed uneventfully. And we were right to be concerned about the cost: $1,879!

Two weeks later we brought him back for a recheck.  Unfortunately Charley had a major swelling on the left side lower jaw and a bit of swelling on his left cheek area.  He was started on two weeks of Clavamox to fight a possible infection. Dr. Tsugawa said he had never encountered a case like this where swelling developed after surgery.  He gave Charley another two weeks of Clavamox. 

Two weeks later we brought Charly back.  The swelling on the lower jaw, a lymph node, was smaller, but the cheek was puffier. Tsugawa warned us to watch the left eye, whether it bagan to water. Tsugawa gave another two weeks of Clavamox. Total antibiotic cost was $140 for four weeks.

About 10 days later, Charley’s left eye began to water and we brought Charley back the next available appointment.

Tsugawa’s guess was that it was cancer, a carcinoma.  He second-guessed himself for not being more suspicious of the swelling when we brought him for the first follow up and performed a needle aspirate biopsy to the tune of $807.  We are awaiting the results, but cancer is almost certain. Dr. Tsugawa was certain the tumor was extensive and had already gone behind the eye and was inoperable.

Tsugawa speculated that the cancer developed within the stomatitis inflammation, and surgery disturbed the statis quo, allowing the cancer to grow aggressively.

Without further treatment, Charley would have three months to live.  With aggressive treatment, meaning removing the left eye and extensive radiation treatment costing maybe $4,000 for both, he might have a year to live!

Charly at age 2
We have been faced with such critical decisions before and always opted the expensive, extensive treatment way.  But this time, though we have scheduled an appointment with a radiation oncologist, we will have extensive second thoughts about getting it for Charley.  The treatment will be invasive, painful, and really only give him an extra nine months of life and an even more extensive emotional investment.  For me, when I am working with a terminal cat, my heart gets totally invested in their health, and when they die, I go numb for a long time.

Is it better for Charly and for us to give him the best three months of his life and then put him to sleep when the pain gets too bad, or to operate and irradiate, and out his death off another nine months but also with constant treatment?

When Satchi died the same year as Robert Adams, I went into a three year depression.  When Gopi died in 2008, again a depression and angst.

Since then so many died including Gracie, Dustin, his sister, and Lakshmi.  Each death takes a toll on me.

What  do you think?

Charly at age 4


  1. Very difficult to decide, i think the second variant would be too painful for me and for cat. On the other hand it is difficult to put to sleep, so a third variant would be to choose either variant but do not put to sleep, just give everything in Gods hand. Sometimes miracles happen and healing happens. I was brought up in environment where it is said "it is not for you to decide whether pet should be put to sleep", it may sound stupid and arguable, but i did not create life therefore i cannot take it away. I can only help in any possible way to live for that cat or dog or any other family member.

  2. I think the Golden Rule might be a good guide, Edji. Do for the kitty what you would want done if you were in that situation. All the sophisticated procedures might give him a few more months but at what cost in prolonged suffering? If he were one of my ten kitties, I would probably ask the vet for palliative care, if possible. Then he can curl up in his usual resting place, and you can hold him and give him love and healing energies, and he can release the body naturally. I had an adorable mother cat once who had an inoperable cancer on her face. It was getting larger and larger and more and more awful. There was a hole where her nose used to be. I would make appointments to put her to sleep, then not keep them. Strangely she didn't seem to be in terrible pain. But her head was being eaten away. I just couldn't let it go on. The night before the final appointment I prayed to the Universe to help me and her. When I went heartbroken to get her the next morning, she was in her final sleep in her own bed. Serena

  3. Thank you Edji for allowing us to be part of your family. My wife and I had to let our beautiful Morgan go a couple of weeks ago. All of a sudden she just lost most of her life force and was not eating for a week. At the Vet the prognosis was very bad. So when we asked her she said she was ready. My wife reads to all our pets and fish Robert Adams writings on a daily basis and we give them all-everyone of them fish included your teachings also. We told Morgan since she was a baby that she would never die and that her spirit would live and has lived forever. She knew this and was quite ready to leave the body. The Vet gave her some gas to put her to sleep as we didn't want her moved at all as moving her was very painful and this way she didn't get poked with a needle either as the gas just put her to sleep then the Vet could give her a shot. When she left the body (we gave her all the instructions before hand) she was so thrilled and happy to be out of that sick body she just came right into my wife and I immediately and we took her home that way. We also took her body home and buried it in her special blanket and some flowers. She stayed very close to us for a week as I asked her to stick around and her Deva sister who passed before also came back and stayed with her. Edji, with your teachings our animals know that they are not limited to the body. Such a great blessing for them for them to have the wisdom of an Self Realized being. It is such a blessing to have other beings living and sharing with us...we are all on the same path.