Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Our Little Mancat - Remembering Beignet

We're being reflective today because we want to remember our little brother, Beignet, who left for the Rainbow Bridge 5 years ago.  He was the only littermate to Truffle and was scheduled to come live with Truffle and Mom Paula, but he left for the Bridge at 11 weeks of age due to cancer.  The photo below was taken when Mom Paula went to visit Beignet on August 20, 2011; three days later, he was gone.
Beignet August 20, 2011
Beignet on August 20, 2016

Mom Paula:  What can I say about the little mancat that wasn't meant to come home with me except that he was loved as much as if he had lived with me 20 years.  I'd lost Sweet Praline due to cancer in April that same year and had decided to get two Persian kittens a few months later.  I knew I wanted two kittens this time, but I was convinced I wanted two females.  When I first went to visit the kittens, Truffle chose me immediately.  When I left that first day, I didn't know who the second kitten would be.
Beignet - 2 days old - June 3, 2011

I'd received several photos of all the kittens (2 different litters) from Mom Terri those first six weeks. It was difficult to know which kittens would be my new fur children based on their photo.  At about 3 weeks old, Beignet's personality began emerging in the photos I received.
Photo courtesy Terri Rogers
Beignet - 3 weeks old

By the time I went to Mt. Pleasant, SC for my first visit, I already knew Truffle was coming to live with me.  She had such an outgoing personality and she immediately showed me I was her new mom. Beignet was a little slower in choosing me, but it was probably because of Truffle taking up all of my attention.  I had debated for over 6 weeks which kittens would live with me, but both Beignet and Truffle chose me that day.  It was so nice to hold kittens in my arms again and I couldn't wait until they would come to live with me in about 6 more weeks.
Truffle (left) and Beignet (right) - July 21, 2011

Once Truffle and Beignet chose me on July 21, 2011, I eagerly awaited photos and videos of the siblings.  Their dark coats were beginning to get lighter with the silver shading and their personalities were definitely developing.  My job took me to Charleston a few times that summer, so I always asked Terri if I could come visit the kittens and she always agreed.  My second visit with Truffle and Beignet happened on August 4, 2011 and Beignet had come out of his shell.  In the video below, Truffle is the kitten sleeping on the left and Beignet is the kitten playing with my hand on the right.




Terri was able to finally get some photos of both Truffle and Brulee together for my weekly photo shoot.  Truffle was the first-born and she acted like it, but I believe she was also protective of her little brother.  One of the photos I received showed Beignet snuggling up next to his big sister and I knew then that I made the right decision by selecting these two siblings.
Photo courtesy Terri Rogers
Beignet snuggling underneath Truffle's chin - 10 weeks

The kittens had their first vaccinations that week and everything was going well until I received an email from Terri several days later, saying she was taking Beignet to the vet because she found a little bump on his side.   At first she thought it may be related to the kittens playing a little rough, but it was growing, so she thought it best to take him  to the vet. The vet recommended its removal immediately since it was growing so fast.  The lump was about 3 cm in diameter and it was near the surface of the skin.  The vet felt everything was okay and it was nothing serious, but Terri insisted the tissue be sent off for testing.  Terri sent me a video of Beignet later that day and said he was doing great.  I think I had a knot the size of a basketball in my stomach, waiting to hear the results.  I asked Terri if I could come visit that weekend to see how he was doing.
Mom Paula holding Beignet with Chloe (Truffle and Beignet's mom kitty), August 20, 2011

Even though Beignet had a large incision on his left side, he was doing great.  He was out with the other kittens and playing.  He tired a little easier, but the surgery had been a few days earlier, but if you didn't see the incision/stitches, you'd never know he'd just had surgery.  I left that Saturday feeling better about both coming home with me in another week.  A couple of days later, Terri sent me the 11-week old photos of Truffle and Beignet and he looked great.  You can see the incision on his left side in the photo below.
Photo courtesy Terri Rogers
Beignet - 11 weeks old

My heart dropped to the floor when I received a message from Terri that Monday morning that the pathology result came back and Beignet had cancer.  The diagnosis was a Vaccine Associated Sarcoma (VAS).  There has been more research about this type of cancer and because scientists have found these type of tumors can occur with almost any type of injection, the name was changed to Feline Injection Site –Associated Sarcomas (FISS). This type of cancer is rare in cats (about 1% of cats), but unfortunately, Beignet fell into that small percentage and needed immediate surgery to remove the tissue areas around the original lump.  I made the hard decision to not bring Beignet home with me because most of the research I'd read said that this type of tumor recurred throughout their lives and it would be an ongoing problem with treatments and surgeries.  I'd just lost Praline a few months earlier to cancer and my finances were tight because surgeries I recently had.  Terri and I both cried that night on the phone and she assured me that Beignet would have a quality life with her as long as he was on earth.  I felt so guilty with this choice and it still haunts me.
Photo courtesy Terri Rogers
Truffle (left) and Beignet (right), 11 weeks old

Beignet was taken to the vet the morning of August 23, 2011. Terri told me the vet said before the surgery that Beignet was going to be fine and that I should still bring him home. Unfortunately, Beignet didn't make it.  He died half-way through the surgery.  We think it was because his body was so little and he couldn't handle the long surgery.  I felt so sorry for Terri because she was the vet technician who was doing the anesthesia.  We were both heartbroken!  It's still hard to talk about it five years later.  I'm sitting here crying the past couple of hours as I write this post and remember.  I posted a short video the day after he died.  You can click on the link to visit the webpage from 2011 or the tab above.  Terri insisted on sending biopsies to feline oncologists and other labs.  The company who made the vaccination paid for all of the tests because they didn't understand why this happened. All of the specialists had the same conclusion:  they didn't know why it happened to Beignet at such a young age and so quickly after the vaccination.  Terri sent me copies of the lab results and I gave them to Truffle's vet to keep on file.  Some of the recent research is showing this type of cancer could be genetic, so we watch Truffle carefully after injections.  Even though I'd only seen Beignet three times that summer, he was my little mancat and he'd already begun filling that hole Sweet Praline left. 

We'd agreed that Truffle should stay with Terri a little longer to see how she'd react after her second vaccination.  Truffle did fine and came to live with me September 4, 2011.  When Terri brought Truffle to me, she began taking special items out of the bag.  She then told me, "I'd hoped to bring Beignet to you today, too, but at least you can have part of him with you." Terri had brought me a small urn with half of Beignet's ashes (she kept half).  I told her that I wanted to ask for them, but since Beignet was technically still hers that I didn't.  He has a place beside Sweet Praline's ashes in my living room.  I have some comfort in believing that Sweet Praline is taking care of him at the bridge and that he is driving her crazy with his little mancat antics.  I'll always wonder what it would have been like to have Beignet living with Truffle and me.  I've wondered if there would have been a closer relationship since they were the only littermates.  I've imagined what he would look like today as a handsome adult. He is missed.

Four days later, Brulee was born...


Special Note:  In the next few weeks, I will share an informative post about Feline Injection Site –Associated Sarcomas (FISS). There isn't a lot of research on it yet, but the research that is out there has impacted decisions I've made about Truffle and Brulee.

36 comments:

  1. What a beautiful tribute to Beignet, and how very sad that he never got a chance to come home with you and grow up into the stunning cat he would have been. He was certainly an adorable ball of fluff as a kitten! I know that having him in your life, even for a few brief visits, was sweet.

    ReplyDelete
  2. So sad he never got to grow up - he was a gorgeous kitten.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Lovely tribute to such a sweet baby.
    So sad he had to go to the Bridge.
    Special comforting purrs as you remember little Beignet.
    Purrs Georgia and Julie,
    Treasure and JJ

    ReplyDelete
  4. This is such a beautiful post in memory of your handsome Beignet. He was so incredibly cute and sweet. Please always find peace in knowing that your little mancat obviously knew much love even in his short time on this earth, and that's all any kitty could ever hope for. Purrs to you.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Beignet was a special little guy to make such a big paw print on your heart-

    ReplyDelete
  6. Awww, Beignet was a truly special kitten. So sad his life was cut so short, but what great memories you do have.

    ReplyDelete
  7. sometimes we think that losing the little ones can be harder....there is just so much potential. but he was very loved and that is most important

    ReplyDelete
  8. I'm so sorry for your loss :(! It's so painful to say goodbye to a pet :(! I like to think that he's in a better place now <3

    ReplyDelete
  9. What a beautiful post. I'm sitting here in tears reading it. That precious little angel had such a short life, but he was certainly loved. That picture of Beignet and Truffle cuddling is breathtaking.

    ReplyDelete
  10. That day was one of the saddest ever. We know Angel Praline and Angel Cerise are keeping him close up at the Bridge. (((hugs)))

    ReplyDelete
  11. Awww, lost so young! :( This is a nice tribute to your sweet Beignet.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Oh my...I've known about this rare cancer for a long time but this is the first "personal" connection I've heard. So very sorry, but what a lovely boy.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Such beautiful memories. Thank you for sharing sweet Beignet with us and for loving him.

    ReplyDelete
  14. We remember Beignet, and this is such a beautiful remembrance. Thank you for loving him so much, and for sharing him with all of us. Love and hugs.

    ReplyDelete
  15. We got leaky eyes reading the story of Beignet. What a beautiful tribute ! Purrs and hugs

    ReplyDelete
  16. That is still so sad. Hugs from all of us.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Such a lovely commemoration of Beignet. I'm so sorry to hear of your loss. He was a beautiful cat.

    ReplyDelete
  18. We're sitting here leaky eyed remembering sweet litle Beignet and what he (and you) went through ((((hugs)))
    The Florida Furkids and Mom Sharon

    ReplyDelete
  19. I am in tears all over again. Just as I was when that precious baby passed away. I did not know until now that you had half of his ashes and I am so glad that you do. I remember Beignet well and we all of us here understand the heartache and grief. HUGS always and in Sweet Praline's dear memory too. I still miss her as well.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Beignet was an adorable kitty. I'm sad he didn't get to grow up.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Beignet passed knowing he was loved. It's amazing how quickly we fall in love with these beautiful beings. I'm sorry he didn't make it.

    ReplyDelete
  22. I didn't get to take all the kitties I wanted with me, either. When I left the farm in 2012, I was going to take Butler and Parker. Butler died a couple of months before I could leave. Plan B: Parker and Truffles or Parker and Inky. Inky did not like being put inside, and Truffles disappeared for the month I was getting ready. So Parker is my only cat now. She likes it that way. =^.,.^=

    ReplyDelete
  23. Such a beautiful remembrance for little Beignet.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Beautiful tribute. That is such a sad story, poor Beignet.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I am so sorry that Beignet didn't live long enough. He was very special.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I'm so sorry you both had to go through this. I can't even imagine the pain and anguish. 18 months ago, I felt a lump on Bear's back (it was the exact day I posted my first post to my blog). I was almost certain that it was a sarcoma, but after a week of worry and terror ... and a long surgery to make sure a huge margin was taken along with the tumor, we found out it was benign. I wrote a post on our blog about the issue: http://mommakatandherbearcat.blogspot.com/2015/04/too-close-to-nightmare-i-couldnt-handle.html.
    In that post, I shared my favorite resource on the topic ... from the AVMA ... https://www.avma.org/KB/Resources/Reference/Pages/rbbroch.aspx

    ReplyDelete
  27. We're sorry that Beignet's life was short - but he was truly loved and this is a beautiful tribute.

    ReplyDelete
  28. We remember Beignet. He left this world far too soon. This is a beautiful tribute to him. Purrs to all of you as you remember him today.

    ReplyDelete
  29. I am so sorry to hear about Beignet, what a beautiful tribute

    ReplyDelete
  30. Beignet's story is one that moves me greatly. Such a little life, taken from us too soon. He looks like a sweet lad and one who would have been a real treasure for Mom Paula.

    RIP even after five years sxweetes boy.

    ReplyDelete
  31. I'm so sorry about Truffle's baby brother Beignet, only 11 weeks old, that is way too young for your precious little mancat. He will wait for all of you with Praline on the Rainbow Bridge. Thank you for sharing your story about the vaccination induced cancer, I've heard a lot about that but didn't quite believe it.
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

    ReplyDelete
  32. *sniff sniff* Lexy, pass me tissue please. *sniff* What a beautiful tribute to Beignet. We're so glad his ashes are with you so you can feel a part of him near at all times.

    ReplyDelete
  33. Paula, I can totally understand your love for Beignet and how he still holds a place in your heart. Such a tragic loss of a young life. I watched the touching video. I am very interested in reading about this type of cancer! Sending love and hugs, Janet

    ReplyDelete
  34. Oh my. . I need a box of tissues!! *Hugs*

    ReplyDelete
  35. Oh, this just takes my breath away. I've read reports of this happening with older cats, but never with kittens. It's just so sad.

    Jean from Welcome to the Menagerie

    ReplyDelete

It's so sweet of you to leave us a comment!