The Zoo

Poor Lily

cone head

Poor Lily. She has to wear a cone.

If you know Lily at all, you know why this is particularly horrible for her. She’s a licking sort of cat. Always licking licking licking. When she was a kitten she would lick us constantly and sometimes lick up whole big long pieces of string. She gives herself baths all day long. Thankfully she usually seems pretty healthy. She doesn’t lick one spot and lick herself bare like some pets I’ve known.

hanging out with Dad and Lily

So anyway, she had a tuuuuuumor (say that with your best Arnold Swartzenegger accent). She had it for a long time. Like a year or so. I know, we are horrible pet owners. But seriously, she seemed fine. It didn’t seem to bother her so we didn’t really worry about it.

It got bigger and bigger and after a while it seemed like she was growing a fifth leg so we took her to the fancy schmancy cat vet. That was a bad idea. They wanted $1000 to do surgery. Toby didn’t think that was necessary. He thought he could remove it himself with a syringe. Toby worked in a free medical clinic during college and removed tumors from humans… so he’s not completely full of hot air. He probably could do it. But who wants to? Gross! Tumor! Yuck!

We decided that we needed to find a cheaper vet. That was easier said than done. Everything is so expensive where we live. You can’t just open the phone book and look for an ad that says, “cheap”. In fact, most of them advertise silly things like “brass beds for your pampered pet”. Oh please. My cat does not need a brass bed. She likes sleeping in cardboard just fine. Not that I don’t love my cat and enjoy spoiling her, I do. I just don’t trust vets.

I know there are “free clinics” for spaying and neutering. It was just a matter of finding one. After some sleuthing (and a field trip or two) I finally found an adoption agency that gave me the low down scoop for affordable vets. Sure enough, just a little trip to Little Mexico (aka Santa Ana) and I found a vet that was excellent.

They were really great. I’m going there again. It was clean and neat and organized. There was a separate entrance for cats and dogs. The girls behind the counter were quicker and more organized than Baby Bug’s pediatrician office. (Which doesn’t say much since I think the girls at Baby Bug’s doctor’s office are all on Valium or something.) They were more on top of it than Starbucks. I think they have to be because they were very busy.

But that wasn’t all. Everyone was cheerful. There were animals coming and going all the time and no horrible yowling or yipping. You didn’t hear yowls of pain coming from down the hall. The pet owners seemed really happy too. Probably because they weren’t thinking about how they would have to sell their first born so they could pay their vet bill.

Lily has a "hat" and a "big owie"

It could be a facade. They could just sedate everyone. But I don’t think they do. When I went in to talk to the doctor about Lily, he was very kind. I expressed my concern about anesthesia because once I had a pet go into surgery and never come out. He reassured me that Lily was very strong and would be fine. He said they’d never lost an animal during surgery. He would also make sure she wasn’t in pain, which relieved me some because part of me always wonders if they cut corners on pain blockers since it’s not like the animal is going to tattle on them.

boing! boing!

We had to leave her there for the whole day. That was a bit rough. Baby Bug cried her eyes out. The girls in the office of course thought that was adorable. We love Lily a lot and it shows, even if we don’t take her to the vet to get her tumor removed for a whole year.

changing the sheets

Lily is home and totally fine. She purrs up a storm the second we scratch her head. She doesn’t like her cone too much. She bumps into things and eating out of her food bowl has been a bit of a challenge but it hasn’t stopped her.


In two weeks we will take Lily back to the vet to get her sutures removed and her cone off. In meantime we are having fun wearing lampshades on our heads to commiserate.


  • The Chatty Housewife

    That photo of Baby Bug with the cone on her forehead is hilarious. Stinking hilarious. He he. I am so glad Lily got her tumor removed safely, she looks like such a nice cat. I’m glad you had a pleasant vet experience. Is that pink wallaby sweater from Aunt Knittery?

    SAJ says: Yes, it is! I love it and so does BB. So cute and soft and pink!

  • Erin

    I’m happy to hear that Lilly is doing well and on the mend. The photo ov BB with the lampshade is priceless:) Facing a pet’s mortality is such a hard thing – I hated leaving both my pups at the vet for the day for the spay/neuter. They’re family! The up-side? While pets and cones are a sad site, they’re also particularly funny – especially since you know they’re almost better!

  • meg

    Actually, could you tell us the name of the vet? All the local vets charge an arm and a leg — a HUMAN arm and leg — and I have been unsuccessful finding a cheaper, as-good vet the next time Voiceover comes out at the wrong end of a fight. Santa Ana isn’t that far away, as long as it’s not rush hour.

  • betty

    Was this a cancerous tumor? Surely you wouldn’t wait a year to have something done about a malignancy would you? I hope Lily is recovering and that the delay did not cause a more extensive surgery to be necessary due to greater tissue involvement.

    SAJ says: Yes, that is a possibility and we are getting it biopsied (sp?) to make sure. And yes, I do feel guilty.

  • Jummy

    I hope the two weeks go by quickly for Lily! My friend’s dog wasn’t so good about having a cone on so I’m glad Lily isn’t too disturbed—must be the commiserating she’s getting from you guys!

  • Jamie

    haha. The last photo made me laugh. Honestly I have a hard time when I think about paying the vet bills when our dog has something wrong. Crazy expensive!! Hope your cat is 100% soon. :)

  • SmockLady

    When you find a vet you like, stick with him. The cutting corners thing? After having worked at a vet clinic for a number of years I can tell you a thing or two. I am so glad I worked for the vet I worked for. He is awesome!!! For the most part though, I find myself questioning what they do to/for my pet that is unnecessary just so they can charge me more. And the way you described the place says so much for how they run things and treat the animals.

  • Sara

    Poor kitty! Our older cat has a growth that we need to have looked at, but I’m afraid it might be Something Bad, so we haven’t gone in. She seems fine…but this is reminding me she needs to go. Sigh. I love the picture of BB with the lampshade. So cute! (And, by the way, your carved bed is beautiful!)

  • Dori

    Speedy healing to Lily. It’s so sad when they have to wear The Cone. I hate to laugh about it, but your photos are pretty funny.

  • K

    I love the picture where you can see Toby yawning in the background! Too funny! ;) My sister just graduated with a veterinary degree (do you know I psyched I am that I can get free vet care for the rest of my life as long I bring my pet to wherever she is – right now 8 hours away!). Anyway, if anyone else find themselves looking for decent, cheaper vets, try a vet school. They often have clinics where the vet students are supervised by very experienced teachers and are sometimes a little more reasonable. So glad Lily is getting good care now and too funny with the lampshade. :)

  • Kuky

    The thought of a vet not giving pain blocker has never ever entered my mind. Yikes did you ever hear of that happening before?

    And that lampshade picture with baby bug is so cute, gave me a giggle. :)

  • jac

    awwwww….. lily looks so sweet and baby bug is so adorable trying to wear her own “cone”. i can completely related to your need to find a vet that is affordable, pleasant, and honest. i’ve been extremely blessed in the past with some AWESOME vets and i’ve just scoped out a “new” vet who i think i will like just as much as the previous ones.
    give lily a nice little head scratch from me & ainsley!

  • OMSH

    Can you imagine having to wear a cone around? I get frustrated with a turtleneck on … a cone? They’d have to put me on Valium.

    Lily, I am wishing you well.

    BB, you are entirely too adorable in your commiseration.

  • Christina (in mo)

    oh my.. I had forgotten about Santa Ana.. (**shiver**) I went to school there for Pharmacy Technician.

    My kitties have all had to wear buster collars at one time or another. It’s so sad to see them like that. My Sachi kitty used to sit on my chest when I was sleeping and put the cone over my face then purr.. she was such a rotten little beast. Getting even with mommy for not taking it off I’m sure.

    I hope Miss Lily’s biopsy comes through with no worries.
    gentle ear scratches

  • darcie

    Our poor kitty also had to have a tumor removed (from his leg) and wear a sad, sad cone. However, we did find out that the tumor could have been caused by his rabies vaccination, when it developed at the sight of the injection. It ended up not being malignant, just a bad reaction that developed within six months of the vaccination. Our vet told us that something like one in ten thousand cats will have the bad reaction and grow a tumor, half the time or more, cancerous. This seemed awful to us, since that sort of outcome for a human medical procedure would never be allowed.

    The vet said they now give the vaccinations at the leg because it is easier to operate on or amputate, and the normal/older injection site (the scruffy, cute necks of cats) is nearly impossible to treat (amputate), if the cancer comes back after the initial removal of the tumor. A friend’s cat died from this, when a tumor developed at the injection sight on his neck. Very sad.

    Sorry, for my hijacking comment. It’s just something I can’t believe no one (our original vet) told us before our cats were vaccinated as young cats.

    ps. BB’s cone-sympathy truly gave me a giggle! :)

  • Uncle George

    Poor Lily Kitty. Just the last time I visited, she jumped in my lap and let me pet her, while purring…After knowing her for 10 years, she’d never done that before. She’s strong and will be OK!

    Especially since you all are wearing your own cones, too!

  • Oopsy Daisy

    Poor Lily. I have to say, in that first pic she looks pretty ticked off. I guess I would be too, LOL.

    Our 11 year old mutt (shepard/chow/lab mix) has multiple tumors. I took him to the vet in Oct 07 because I saw a lump and he kept licking himself to the point of getting sores and raw spots. Found out he had anal sac carcinoma. A rather deadly form of cancer and had tumors all thorughout his body because of it. The vet said “we have to operate now”! Lots of $$$$$ too. We refused and went home to research. Found out that h would die anyway and the surgery would only buy him a few extra months. I asked the vet and she admitted it. We decicded in his case it would be better to let him pass without the aid of multiple operations. It’s sad. But his last days are happy ones (except the day he tracked mud on my new carpet).

    I am glad Lily’s problem was operable. I am sure Baby Bug is glad too.

  • B

    We had the same experience with a cat not making it through anesthesia, so I understand your concern. Glad to hear that Lily is okay.

  • betty

    I hope there is nothing but good news when you get the results of Lily’s biopsy. Regardless of what happens you have provided a Lily a much better life than most cats can ever even dream possible.