When we met Jean, she showed us Crystal, one of her twenty colony cats. Crystal’s left ear looked completely eaten away.
Jean trapped Crystal, and Joann rushed her to our vet, Elmhurst Animal Care Center. They ruled out bite wounds, and said her ear was either caused by frostbite or cancer. They sent out a sample for a biopsy, with results taking 3-5 days.
In the meantime Crystal was hospitalized there. She had such low blood pressure they could not get a blood sample. She had a high fever, so they gave her an injection to lower it. The vet performed surgery and cleaned her ear. She was put on medication for the pain, and on antibiotics for infection. They discovered she did not have any teeth left. She tested positive for FIV. She was estimated to be about 9-10 years old.
Crystal was feral and outdoors her whole life. She was TNR’d in 2013. This new environment was very alien to her, and she was completely terrified. Her physical pain was hopefully eased by medicine, but she was still suffering. She did not react or respond to anyone. She refused to eat.
But she was bonded to Jean, so Joann brought Jean to visit her. Crystal recognized her, and let Jean pet and even hold her a little bit. Jean was also able to feed her.
A few days later the biopsy results came back: Crystal had squamous cell carcinoma. Crystal fit the profile for cats most susceptible to this type of skin cancer – she was a white cat, of about the right age, and was outside exposed to the sun. Also, her immune system was further compromised because she was FIV+.
It is a very invasive cancer, and obviously this diagnosis was not early. Crystal’s entire ear was almost gone. The cancer would have continued to spread, and she would’ve required vigilant observation and continued care, most likely chemotherapy.
Joann brought Jean to our vet, Dr. Harris, where he carefully explained everything. Euthanasia was the most humane answer in this case. Crystal died surrounded by their love and kindness.
We are also so grateful to all of you for your love and kindness, and for all of your donations. The costs of $501.40 was covered. Jean could not believe it, even though I told her right when I saw Crystal that whatever happened, we would take care of it, included financially. Jean is extremely grateful for all that was done, but is grieving now. I’d also like to especially thank Joann, who was with Jean every step of the way. The cat community is truly inspiring.