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.