Friday, August 27, 2021

Lazarus Cat

I thought today was the perfect day to share this story about Lita, to celebrate how strong and resilient she was. 


It looks like Lita has lung cancer and that it has metastasized from somewhere else in her body,” the vet told me as she put Lita on the floor and closed the door to the exam room.

I took one look at my beautiful 14-year-old blue lynx-point Siamese cat and burst into tears. This cannot be happening, I thought.

I composed myself and asked, “How long does she have?” I wanted to make each day Lita had left with us the very best it could possibly be.

I don't know,” the vet said, “Some cats hang on longer than others.”

I cried on the way home. Lung cancer was the last thing I expected to hear when I'd taken Lita to the vet that morning.

Lita had suffered with severe asthma for several years. Bouts of coughing were common for her. So when her bouts of coughing became more frequent that Fall, I wasn't terribly concerned. However, when her coughing didn't subside, I wondered if there was more going on than an asthma flareup.

I had worked closely with our veterinarian to find a suitable treatment for what ailed Lita. We tried antibiotics and steroids, and while some of the medication helped in the short-term, we couldn't seem to find a treatment to help Lita get over her illness.

I had taken Lita to the vet that morning for chest x-rays. I expected the vet to tell me she had an infection. I hadn't been prepared for a cancer diagnosis.

For the next few days, I stewed in my grief. I felt helpless and hopeless. I adopted Lita when she was one year old. I vowed to make her life the best it could possibly be, promising to do whatever I could to make sure she was happy and healthy. And now, there was nothing I could do for her. It broke my heart to see her struggling so much. Lita had been my constant companion for the last 13 years. I couldn't imagine my life without her in it.


It was recommended that I take Lita to see an Internal Medicine specialist. I called for an appointment in mid-December, hoping a specialist could see her within the next few days. Unfortunately, there were no appointments available for two weeks. Two weeks? Lita was in such bad shape that I worried she wouldn't make it until Christmas.

Several friends advised me to let Lita go. But as anyone who has ever been owned by a cat knows, a cat will tell you when she is ready to make her journey to the Rainbow Bridge. Lita hadn't told me she was ready to go yet. I felt it was my duty to help her continue to fight for as long as she wanted to.

At the time, a friend who was down on his luck, was staying with us. Lita absolutely adored him, and his presence brought her a great deal of comfort.

Over the next two weeks, either my friend or I were by Lita's side around the clock. We did our best to make Lita as happy and comfortable as possible. We even set up a laptop for her so she could enjoy watching her favorite show, Meerkat Manor.

Lita's condition worsened. She refused to eat nearly anything. She had episodes of rapid breathing and coughed numerous times a day. She was so weak that she could barely walk across my tiny apartment to use her litter box. I questioned my decision to help her continue to fight every day.

One night, as I sat alone with Lita, I feared her time had come to an end. She looked so miserable. My heart broke every time I looked at my sweet girl; I couldn't bear to see her suffering this way I prayed God, please give me the wisdom to make the right decisions for Lita and give me the strength I need to carry them out.

I cried myself to sleep that night, knowing that this would likely be the last night Lita would be with us.

The next morning, I awoke with a little more hope in my heart. Lita didn't seem much better than she had the night before, but I got the sense that she had a renewed determination to live.

The day of Lita's appointment with the Internal Medicine specialist slowly rolled around. After a physical examination, looking at Lita's chest x-rays, and an in-depth discussion of Lita's medical history, the Internal Medicine specialist speculated that Lita may actually have chronic pneumonia, not lung cancer.


She proposed we treat Lita with an antibiotic injection we hadn't yet tried. I agreed, but I didn't have much hope that it would help.

Then, right before my eyes, I began to see a miracle unfold.

In the days following Lita's first antibiotic injection, her coughing subsided. Her breathing began to normalize. It was still difficult to get her to eat, but she began to eat a little more.

Over the next five months, Lita received 13 more antibiotic injections. With each injection, she got a little better. By the time my birthday rolled around in April, Lita was once again demanding food every few hours, and she'd regained some of the weight she'd lost while being ill. She stopped coughing, and she was able to breathe with no difficulty. My precious Lita was back to her old self and enjoying life. It was the best birthday present I could have ever received!

The staff at our vet's office confessed that they didn't think Lita was going to make it. They were overjoyed that she fully recovered.

Lita defied death against all odds. She was our Lazarus cat.


Lita made a full recovery from her chronic pneumonia. She enjoyed life with us for several months before she developed a skin infection on the rear leg she'd injured a couple of years prior. Because she shattered her achilles tendon in that leg, she walked with her heel dropped instead of on her toes. The way she walked on that leg caused it to drag on the floor, which resulted in a wound and subsequent skin infection on.

Unfortunately, Lita pissed away September 12, 2018 due to neurotoxicity from the same antibiotic injection that had saved her life several months prior.

I am eternally grateful to our primary veterinarian as well as to Lita's Internal Medicine specialist who never gave up on her and helped her fight when she was so ill.


  1. I love the story of her resiliance. My Kit had a similar comeback years ago and I so appreicated everyday given to me as a precious gift. Purrs from Deb and Jazz of Purr Prints of the Heart

  2. That is indeed our Lita. She will always be so special to those of us who love her. Hugs.

  3. Having just lost The PO'M, my feelings are still raw, and I sympathize with you as you did everything that you could for Angel Lita. Purrs and hugs.

  4. We knew and loved Dear Lita and cried with you when she left us all. Love, purrs and prayers from us all

  5. Lita was such a determined kitty...we too were so sad when she did leave us to be freed from all her earthly troubles.

  6. What a sweet and strong kitty your Lita was! Hugs and purrs from the kitties and me as you remember her.

  7. Lita wanted to stay with you as much as you wanted to stay with her.

  8. Lita was a fighter...and she was lucky to have you in her corner.

  9. I remember those injections! I'm so glad they gave Lita more quality time than she otherwise would have had.

  10. What a special cat Lita was. You were both so fortunate to have each other, and to share such a special bond. Hugs as you remember.