A little over a week ago, my blog post included a worry I had about Cosmos’s oral health. He was getting ready to go in for a second biopsy due mysterious mouth swelling and ulcers. Over the last few days, several readers and friends have asked for an update on Cosmo’s condition. I’m finally ready to write about it.
The vet called me last Friday and said she’d gotten the results of the biopsy. They’d taken three large pieces to test — just to make sure they were thorough. After conferring with a couple of specialists, she told me he has a malignant spindle tumor in his mouth and it’s aggressive. This is why every time they’d treat him for something else — hoping it was something else — the swelling and other symptoms would return.
She told me that if they were to try and remove the all the cancerous tissue, they’d have to surgically remove his entire upper right jaw. It’s that bad. He’s an anxious 16-year-old cat who’s gotten progressively more fragile and I can’t imagine putting him through that procedure. He’s gone through so many tests, vet visits, and medications over the past couple of months, and we can tell he’s winding down.
He’s had an excellent life, full of adoration and free of health concerns until now. At this point, we’re keeping him on pain meds and a low dose of steroids to manage the swelling. He seems happy, has a good appetite, and is grooming himself. We are loving him, watching him, and waiting.
Obviously I’m heartbroken. I felt like a zombie all of Friday, and chose to spend the afternoon snuggled with Cosmo on the sofa. He’s my soul cat. Ever since he was a tiny kitten, he’d targeted me as his person. My little tuxie shadow acted — and still acts — as my bodyguard, following me, and then running ahead, making my safety his highest priority. When I left my marriage in 2015 and moved into a small apartment — my first time ever living alone as an adult — he was the only one who came with me. Cosmo was my constant comfort and I believe I was his.
I find it difficult to really capture what he means to me, so I thought I’d link to a blog post I’d written about him in 2012. It’s from my old blog, Catladyland, and it won an award at the Cat Writers’ Association Awards Banquet the following year. It truly encapsulates our relationship.
Please keep my boy in your thoughts and I’ll keep you updated.
Angie: So sorry to hear this news about Cosmo/Mittens. It is always so difficult when you have a senior kitty with any type of illness. Our 15.5 year old Sealpoint Siamese has kidney disease .. for 15 months we have been giving him IV fluids once a week. It’s been a challenge at times, but he seems to be doing well. I cannot imagine a better cat-Mom than you have been with Cosmo. Sending you hugs.
Thank you so much.
He is so sweet its heartbreaking and I’m so glad we got to know him. He will be over the rainbow bridge with Phil and Saffy. You’re in my prayers
Thank you, Sally. It means a lot. <3
I’m so sorry 🙁 I hope you have more time with him than you expect.
Me too. <3
Oh Angie…..I am so very sorry. I wish I had the perfect words, but please know we are all thinking about you and sending purrs
Thank you. We’re feeling the thoughts and purrs over here.
Sending hugs to you both xx
I’m so sorry, Angie. We’re keeping Cosmo and you in our thoughts and sending big purrs of comfort.
Thank you so much.
Truly sorry to hear this. It’s a very sad prognosis. Your furry boy will let you know when it is time, they always do. In the mean time, enjoy every second you have with him. He’s been your buddy through thick and thin, a loyal companion. You just can’t ask for a better friend than that. Ear scritches and chin rubs to Cosmo and a virtual hug to you.
Thank you, Laura. He’s the most loyal companion I’ve ever met. <3
I have been so in love with Cosmo for so long, even though I’ve never actually met him. There’s just something about that boy. I’d always hoped to meet him one day. My heart is breaking and I’m sitting here at my desk crying. My love goes out to the both of you.
Thank you, Susan. I was thinking about how many people have known him over the years. You were one of the first. I’ll give him an extra snuggle from you.
So, so sorry to hear this. Having just gone through it with my 15 yo best friend and constant shadow, Spot, I can imagine what you’re going through. Making the hard decisions is heartbreaking,
Thank you for your support and kind words.
I understand you’re pain and heart break only too well. We Lost our eldest so suddenly last march he was 2 months shy of 15. And then our youngest last august he fought hard for 10 weeks battling diabetes but the vet couldn’t bring it under control he had turned 14 in june his 2 last weeks were spent being spoilt rotten and loved.we lost his blood brother at 8 and half again suddenly . Will never get over their losses or be able to replace them but after much coaxing we’re now opening and making space in our hearts for little furbaby rescue. You are and have given your gorgeous boy the best in life and he thanks you every day just by being him. Thank you for sharing him with us. Thinking of you. lots of love.xx
Thank you, Linda. Your thoughts and words mean a lot. <3
Dear Angie, this is devastating! I do wish you enough time together with your furry soul mate so you can part from each other in a somewhat consoling way – as far as this is possible. Ever since I discovered Texts from Mittens about a year ago, I’ve been a silent but avid reader and eagerly awaiting your (week)daily updates. This little addiction also helped me a little to cope with the loss of our beloved rescue cat that died from kidney failure in February after 3.5 blissful years together. I do wish you that you will get a little help by the virtual cat community, too. Love and hugs from Switzerland, Stephanie
Thank you for the kind message, Stephanie.
Angie, I am so sorry. I know how hard this is and much it hurts when our little ones suffer and we know their time is near. Sending you our love and hugs and know we are keeping you both in our prayers.
Thank you, Joanne.
I’m so sorry to hear about Cosmo. You are both in my prayers. I know how hard it is to go through these things with our fur babies. Sending you hugs!
We’ll take those hugs! Thanks, Barb.
My heart breaks for you. My 18 year old Siamese Tinker died of the same thing. She too was my soul kitty. I miss her still and it’s been three years. The hardest part about having pets is they don’t stay here with us as much as we would like. However while they are here they give us their everything. Cosmo is an amazing kitty and so is his mama. Love to you.
Oh, Angie, I’m so sorry. Cancer sucks in so many ways. Cosmo’s lucky to have a mama like you, who takes such good care of him and gives him everything he needs. Please feel free to talk to me if you need anything.
Thanks JaneA. He’s in my lap right now and I’m soaking up every bit of love I can! <3
I’m so sorry to read this. Like so many who follow your posts I have been there & it’s crushing. Reading Mittens’ antics made me smile during that time. You share your love & the joy that cats can bring with so many. Please know that we are all sending love back to you & Cosmo now x
I’m sitting here crying. I’m so sorry
Ohhh, thank you. <3
Angie, I am so deeply sorry to hear your devastating news. I lost my 14 year old Peachy Pie in February after a year and a half fight with kidney disease. My heart breaks for Cosmo and you. I hope the meds manage it well and give you much more time together. I’ll keep you both in my thoughts and prayers. Sending an ear scratch out to your beautiful boy and hugs to his soulmate. 💕😿
Thank you so much. They’re never with us quite long enough, are they?
I’m so very sorry, Angie. My heart is heavy as I know yours is breaking. Enjoy your time with Cosmo and cherish all the little moments. Bless you both. ❤️
Thank you so much, Deb. Your kind words mean a lot. <3
Angie, I am so sorry to read this…. It is never ever easy to watch the ones we love and care about so much go through such things… Cosmo is a lucky lucky boy to have you in his life, and you are just as fortunate that he has been in yours! As much as that love is unconditional it is immeasurable as well… May the Universe take the both of you in her arms and cradle you with comfort…
I was wondering why I had not seen posts about him on FB much, and it’s understandable why. I’m happy you have chosen to respect Cosmo and not put him through exasperating processes. It’s best to manage pain even including your own. Please love on him for all of us who have had our hearts captured by such a handsome man in a tuxedo! He’s one lucky boy to have you as his mom lady!
Thanks, Kat. He’s getting LOTS on love both in person and online through kind hearts like yours.
I’ve been through this with both of our cats over the past two years. The only thing to do is love on them as long as you can. My thoughts are with you all.
Oh, I’m loving on him big time!
I’m so sorry I really am. However….
My friends dog had a similar diagnosis for an oral tumour. He was given a couple of months. He stayed around seven so get on with his fabulous bucket list. I say I’ve cream daily and fresh tuna Tuesday. 🐱🐱💗💗💗💗💗💗💗💗💗💗
Thanks, Sue. Yes, I’m holding out for the best and he’s getting treats galore!
This is just heartbreaking! I’m so very sorry you have to go through this. Although we all know it is inevitable, it is no less horrible to face. Sending you all so much love and all the good thoughts. He is such a beauty, and obviously a very special boy, and I know everyone just loves him. Wishing you all peace and strength and comfort. There just aren’t enough words for these times. Much love to you all!
Thank you, Lisa. We happily accept your love and send it right back! <3
You have made the choice, an eventful outcome every kitty will experience but now you can grieve and make the choice for when. Bravery comes when we need it. Love up your buddy as his purpose on this earth is obvious. Hugs!
Thank you, and hugs back to you. <3
Cosmo/Mittens was the first internet animal crush I ever had. I remember how delighted I was when I got my copy of the book and have re-read it over and over. Sometimes I pull it out just to look at the texts that end with “…I love you Mama”. It warms my heart to see the special relationship you have with him. When it’s time to go, he’ll let you know. It’ll be hard, but wrap yourself in memories, knowing how much your readers have loved him. Love to you and Cosmo.
Thanks for the kind message. If it helps any, Cosmo and Mittens are two different cats. Cosmo’s my real-life cat and Mittens is a character. I use another cat’s photos for him online. Mittens will live forever. <3
Cosmo brought tears and memories of my past kitties, all of whom were very special! I hope Cosmo continues to be comfortable and happy! I share your heartache and will keep dear Cosmo in my thoughts! May God bless you both! :'( <3
Thank you, Tomi! Hugs!
We’re sending many warm thoughts and purrayers your way. I’ve always said, no matter how long our furbabies are worth us, it’s never long enough. Linda, Pepper, and Dublin
Thank you, Linda, Pepper, and Dublin. <3
This breaks my heart. I lost my Mittens last year to an aggressive leg cancer and it still hurts. Hugs and snuggles to you and Cosmo. And P.S., sometimes kitten formula is great for those days when nothing else works.
Thank you, and I appreciate your P.S. tip. <3
A day…a year…a decade…a lifetime is never enough. Your cats antics and your obvious love for him have lightened many a tough work day or rescue weekend. Thank you for loving him and bringing him, from his perspective, a lifetime of love, laughter and happiness. As QE2 said “Grief is the price we pay for love.” he feels only the love and you as his greatest champion ensure that he never feels that grief . . . As those who love him it is our burden to bear. Enjoy every millisecond you have with him. I am so sorry he and you are going through this. Facebook.com/amoebathecat
It never is enough, is it? We just have to love them the best we can, while we can. Thank you for the nice message.
I just hate hearing this. Love and prayers to you and Cosmos!
Thank you, Jill. <3
My heart is breaking for you. I lost my 16 year old tabby girl a little while ago. She was my constant through the hardest times also. Prayers for you and Cosmo
We’ll gladly accept those prayers! Thanks for the nice message.
I’m so very sorry. There aren’t words. Been there. Done that. Never easy. You’ve made the right decision for him. I made the same one for one of mine a few years ago. The time that was left was quality.
Quality is what it’s all about these days. Lots of love going around! Thank you for the kind words. <3
my heart aches for you. xoxo
Thank you, Stacy.
Angie, I am absolutely heartbroken about Cosmo. And for you!! There is NO DOUBT the love that is shared between the two of you!! As hard and sad as it will be when God takes Cosmo Home to The Bridge, remember that he will never really be gone. Because he will be in your heart, mind, and soul FOREVER….. UNTIL YOU MEET AGAIN!!!!! Much love, prayers, and head bonks from My Gracie Mae and me!!! We love love love you!!!!
Thank you, Lori!
I am so sorry to hear about Cosmo. Our 15 1/2 year old tuxedo cat, Louie, passed away a little over a year ago from renal disease. When I see pictures of Cosmo, I think of Louie. Cosmo has had a wonderful life with you. You will have him with you forever in your memories and in your heart.
Thank you, LuAnn!
So very sorry to read this. You two have brightened my life as I went (go?) Through my own losses. Be strong for each other. Sending hugs and love .
Thanks for the love and hugs!
I’m so sorry, Angie. They are never here with us long enough. Hugs for you both.
Thanks for the hugs and we’re sending some right back to you. <3
I hope you don’t think this is silly but I can’t stop my tears for you. There is a bond, a knowing, and an unconditional love with our babies and especially that one special one that is impossible to put into words. My heart hurts for you but one thing that is comforting, in my humble opinion, is knowing that he couldn’t have had a better life with any more love than the one he has now because of YOU. For us lucky ones that are smart enough to realize what a gift they are, realize we get to experience a little slice of heaven when we have them. Sending thoughts and a big hug your way… 😓
Not silly at all! Thank you for your kind words and virtual hugs. They really are a gift. <3
Angie, and Cosmo
You have brought so much happiness and joy to many thousands of people for many years. Reading the comments and sentiment shared by others shows how much you are loved, and also how much our cats mean to us, and do for us. My thoughts, heart and prayers are with you.
Thank you for the kind words, Jane. <3
Treasure every minute with Cosmo. He will let you know when it is time. Love him like there is no tomorrow and we hope there are many, many tomorrows! Hugs to you both.
Thanks, Peggy. Hugs back to you. <3
Thinking of you both honey. I am happy to hear that he is not in pain and that his spirits are good ❤️🙏
Thanks, Tamar. Thanks for the love. <3
I am heartbroken to hear this news about Cosmo. We love our fur babies and they give us so much in return. He has had a good life with you and will continue to be loved forever. We’ll be thinking of you and Cosmo. Hugs to you!
Thank you, Bonnie. Your thoughts and virtual hugs mean a lot. <3
My husband – why are you crying? Cuz Mittens/Cosmo – You’ve touched us all deeply I hope you know your humor and love for him are so evident. Positive thoughts, love and energy. <3
Thank you, Jennifer. If it makes you feel any better, Cosmo and Mittens are different cats. Cosmo’s my cat and Mittens is a character — I use a friend’s cat for the photos. Mittens will live forever.
Thank you for the kind words. <3
This makes me very sad. But, you are right, you and Cosmo have been very good for each other and you will always have that to carry with you. I grieve more over animal companions that have passed into their next life than I do about people. I do love my kitties and I miss the ones who are gone every single day. I know you will treasure each day you have with Cosmo going forward. Know that our thoughts and prayers are with you always.
Thank you, Brett. There’s a lot of love happening over here! Your thoughts and prayers mean a lot.