How old is Jill?
She is 9 years old
How did she come to live with you?
I was looking for a friend for Jack and my mom knew someone who fosters kittens. She asked her if she had any and she happened to have what she described as the “sweetest little bottle baby”. Jill was found in someones driveway under a car at 2 days old and was bottle fed by her foster mom. I adopted her at 8 weeks old. She is truly the sweetest little snuggly baby.
Where did her name come from?
I had Jack first, so naturally Jill just fit
When was the cancer first detected in her toes?
Her story is a little complicated…She developed a large ulcerous mass on a toe in her right hind leg in June 2012. I took her to the vet as the mass didn’t get any better or smaller after a few days. She treated it with antibiotics and a soak for a week, but told me to bring her back immediately if it didn’t get better. When it only got worse, I brought her back and upon x-raying her foot, we saw that her toe bone was completely destroyed. Her toe was then amputated and the biopsy came back as Osteosarcoma (bone cancer) but she had good margins. We met with an oncologist and decided with good margins I should just keep an eye on her. Unfortunately, 6 months later (December 2012) I felt a lump in her leg (same leg as the toe). They took a sample of fluid from the lump and it appeared to be a metastasis. We then determined along with her oncologist she would need her leg amputated followed by 4 rounds of chemotherapy.
May I ask if amputation was the last resort?
Yes. It wasn’t at first after her toe amputation, but after the cancer had spread in her leg, it was determined that she had a pretty aggressive case. Osteosarcoma is less aggressive in cats than in dogs, but it appeared Jill’s case was quite aggressive.
How long did it take for her to learn to balance on three legs?
Not long at all!! I would say about 3-4 days. It’s truly amazing!
Is she able to run and jump?
Absolutely! She runs like the wind! Jumping down is no problem at all, even from the day I brought her home after her amputation. As a rear leg amputee, jumping up is a bit more of a problem. We use a big pillow next to the bed for her to jump on first as a boost.
Did Jack and Belle know there was something different about her when she first came back from the amputation?
Not at all. They just noticed she smelled a little funny from being at the hospital for three nights.
How is she doing now?
Wonderfully!! It’s been 21 months since her diagnosis and almost 15 since her amputation and she remains cancer free! She has handled everything, both surgeries, the chemo, all the vet visits, like a CHAMP.
Jack, really was the cutest kitten (ever), can you share a bit about him?
Oh Jack is my funny guy. I got Jack in college and he just makes me laugh every single day. Whereas Jill is my sweet little girl, Jack is my comedian. He’s very chatty and loves to lay in the most interesting, hysterically funny positions. He’s been my comic relief throughout this whole ordeal.
How do him and Jill get along?
Great! I got Jill as a friend for Jack as the vet told me Jack was anxious and needed a friend when he began to rip his fur out. From the day I brought Jill home, he stopped doing that. Jack absolutely loves his little sister. He is always kneading her.
I won’t forget Belle, can you tell me about her?
Belle is actually a frequent visitor. She is my parents dog, but she is here VERY often. My parents go on vacation a few times a year for about 4 weeks and Belle comes to stay with us. She is a 3 pound teacup poodle and a little ball of energy. She loves to snuggle up to Jill for some warmth, but also likes to put Jill’s tail in her mouth. Jill’s pretty patient with her and lets her get away with just about anything.
Is there anything else you would like to say about cancer or your furry family?
Regarding cancer – always watch and feel for lumps and bumps! I have had pets my whole life and really never even thought about a pet getting cancer. When I got Jill’s diagnosis, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I have gotten quite the education since then. If you feel or see a bump and it does’nt go away after a week get it checked out! Also, if you have specialists available to you where you live, consult an oncologist. I am lucky enough to live somewhere where that was an option. If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation having a pet with cancer and you are lucky enough to live near an oncologist, definitely take your pet there. If you don’t, ask your general vet to consult with one.
Regarding my furry family – I just cant say enough about how inspiring Jill is to me. She has been through so much, lost a toe, then a limb, then chemotherapy and not once has she lost her sweetness. There’s nothing that makes me more proud than going to the vet and all the receptionists, vet techs and vets say “oh JILLS here! the hugging cat!”
Thank you again for writing Jill’s story! It is my hope her story can give others out there hope!
Author’s Note: Many thanks to Jack & Jill’s mom for letting bug her to death with questions about Jill (and JackO . Pictures were used with permission. You can find Jill on facebook page Jill the Tripawd Cancer Fighting Kitty or on her blog – Jill’s Journey.
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