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R.I.P., Leo

You might remember Leo as an elegant tabby cat with his cute bowties—the fashion model can pose with his sushi, pizza, star and stripe flag, and plaid patterned ribbons.

Leanne and Michael, Leo’s dearest mom and dad, have been documenting his growth since the first day Leo arrived in his new home. Unique as every cat to its owner, Leo has been an “emotional support kitty” to the family. During the past year, he has outgrown his favorite toy, Mr. Koala, and gathered more than 6k followers!

To everyone’s surprise, last Monday, September 12th, 26 hours after Leanne and Michael rushed to the emergency vet hospital with Leo, they walked out of the hospital without their sweetest and most wonderful cat. He was only one year and four months old.

Everything happened too fast and unexpectedly. The sudden news shocked everyone since there was almost no sign of illness on Leo before the day he was sent to the vet hospital. He didn’t show any pain until the final days. It was heartbreaking news for his parents.

“Leo was completely normal — he was eating his normal meals throughout the day, but he was still the same weight. I weighed him once a month because I noticed he put on some pounds with his new pooch hanging. And he was not lethargic at all. I would have never known—he hid it so well. I even have a video of him on Friday playing like the feisty playful cat that he was.” Leanne and Michael told us.

“But that Saturday morning around 4:30 am, he threw up the food that he ate for dinner, then constantly threw up multiple times of clear foamy liquid, up until 8 am. The last one was made up of yellow bile. He wasn’t being himself because he started hiding from me that morning. So I rushed him to the emergency vet. I thought he was just constipated because he kept hunching his back like he was going to use the bathroom, but couldn’t… They thought it was a urinary blockage, which is apparently common in males and can be fatal if not treated right away. They gave him pain meds and said to monitor, I came back the following morning, and they thought it was a GI infection, ran diagnostics, bloodwork, and abdominal ultrasound, then found cancer—he had minimal lining in his intestines which was very abnormal, enlarged lymph nodes, high fever of 107 °F, and had sepsis.”

Lymphoma is common cancer among cats, and it mostly affects the intestines. Indeed, symptoms of Lymphoma can be difficult to be noticed. If any, the most common ones include weight loss, lethargy, and poor appetite, though cat parents can’t be blamed if they ignore these early symptoms as innocuous and think the cats can cure without any intervention. While older cats are most often affected, lymphoma can happen at any age.

Lymphoma cancer is usually treated with chemotherapy, for both low-grade and high-grade symptoms. Unlike human beings, felines tolerate chemotherapy better, and side effects are rare. But in Leo’s case, he was suffering from both cancer and other complications, thus his parents decided to let him go…

Another piece of sad news is that lymphoma can’t be prevented, but its likelihood can be decreased by preventing feline leukemia virus infection. If your cat likes to go outdoors, it’s wiser to get it vaccinated against this virus to prevent feline leukemia infection.

We hope our information can help you pay more attention to your cat's behaviors and most importantly, get them the essential vaccination to prevent infection.

And dear Leo, we hope heaven is filled with love, and you have countless cute bowties and another Mr. Koala with you.

You can check out their instagram page @thiscatsnameisleo for more cute pictures of Leo, of course!

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