There are many benefits of owning a cat. Companionship, entertainment, and friendship are just a few of them. But Sue McKenzie of Scunthorpe, UK, can thank her cat for alerting her to a serious health issue – cancer.
Sue explains; “Tom has never been a very loving cat – he doesn’t come to me for cuddles very often.
“He lets me stroke him and he likes to sit next to me but he doesn’t actively seek out human contact and he very rarely comes to pet me.“So I thought he was behaving very strangely when he suddenly starting coming to sit next to me, very straight, and tapping his paw on the back of my neck while meowing incredibly loudly.”
When Tom continued this behaviour for two weeks, Sue worried that there was something wrong with the cat, but a trip to the vet revealed no health issues. The vet did suggest that Tom might be trying to tell Sue something, though.
The vet’s words prompted Sue to investigate the situation further, and it was then that she found a lump at the base of her neck. After visiting her doctor, Sue learned that the lump was Hodgkin lymphoma, a form of cancer which attacks the lymphatic system. Sue’s cancer was in Stage 3.
“As soon as I went to the hospital, Tom just stopped tapping me and I said to him, ‘I’ve been and had it looked at so you can leave me alone now,” said Sue.
Sue has since had the lump removed and has undergone six rounds of chemotherapy. Tom has returned to his aloof self. Sue took in Tom when he was a kitten almost 20 years ago, giving him a good life. By alerting her to the cancer’s presence, Tom may have just returned the favour.
(Story source: Life with Cats – November 2015)