Pets can be an incredibly big part of our lives, and the thought of losing them is just as devastating to some people as if they lost a friend or relative.


I had an experience with my cat Max seven or eight years back when, without warning, he suddenly became extremely sick. 

Now Max is a very active cat, always running around the house, pestering my mom (who is his favourite and vice versa), and getting into everything he's not supposed to. His favourite place to lie was on top of the Comcast cable box that sits on top of the TV. Probably because it was like a heating pad built especially for him. Part of the reason he loved this spot so much was that it was right in the centre of everything.

My family was saving at the time to go to Disneyland and had just about enough money to provide us with an awesome trip. We were in the planning stages when we noticed that Max wasn't his usual self. The realization went something like, "Alright, Disneyland, here we co---- What's wrong with the cat?"

Max, for some reason, was choosing to hide himself away. He had the most pitiful look on his face, which is odd, as his usual expression is that of regal smugness.


A trip to the vet revealed that Max's problem was a softball-sized tumour in his stomach that would kill him very quickly, if we didn't do anything. Even worse, the cost to operate would be -- and of course the irony is wonderful -- about the cost of our Disneyland trip.

To make things even more difficult, the veterinarian told us that the likelihood of survival after a tumour this size, assuming it was cancerous, would be six months to a year at most. We made the tough decision and sent Max in to get better, saying gently to him, "Max, you better be as fun as Disneyland."

He came out of surgery quickly, but upon getting a biopsy on the tumour, we learned that it was indeed cancerous. Max was given chemo pills and sent home with that dreaded "six months to a year" prognosis.

We figured we'd only have a short time left with this ridiculous cat. But he didn't seem to notice since he went right back to pestering my mom and sleeping on the Comcast cable box.

Something very peculiar happened by the time he went in for his one-year check up. The vet looked him over and said, "This isn't the same cat you brought in a year ago."

"No, that's him alright," we said.

"Well he's perfectly healthy; there's not a trace of cancer in his blood. And that's pretty much impossible."

My theory is that Max heard someone tell him something and decided just not to listen, as usual. "One year? Feh, I'll do what I want." He's still pestering my mom to this very day.

Even if he is a stink, he's been a great and loving cat. He even helped when we brought in a new kitten that needed a home and desperately needed an older brother.

Max, being the tough cat that he is, has acted like the sweetest older brother in the world, going so far as to teach her all of his lesser-enjoyed habits, such as things to scratch and horrible times to caterwaul.

Max has floored our family and taught us that sometimes, yes, you can beat the odds if you just don't listen to the bad news and choose your own path instead.


Chris Pranger is a writer and editor for where he helps provide a resource for cat lovers everywhere to learn more about their favourite felines.


Max or Disneyland by Chris Pranger appeared in a recent issue and Chris kindly gave me permission to put this lovely story on my website.

I do urge you to visit Chris’s website because it’s an excellent resource if you want to know anything about the many and varied breeds of cats:

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  • Reduces fighting, injury and noise
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  • Much less likely to wander and get lost
  • Safer from diseases like feline AIDS, mammary tumours and feline leukaemia
  • Reduces the number of unwanted kittens

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