Kate's cat became an "aggressive" snuggler, and wouldn't move away from her chest area, but it was only later that she was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer.
Trigger Warning: This story contains images of post-operative scars that may be disturbing to readers.
There's nothing more rewarding than being a pet parent, and this holds true for Kate King-Scribbins and her husband. The couple from Minnesota did their bit to rescue animals and provide them with shelter. But one little cat repaid their kindness in ways that are hard to put into words. The couple rescued four animals: Oggy, the cat who’s the oldest; Max, the mixed-breed dog, who has unfortunately passed away recently; Lulu, the Maine coon; Abby, the twelve-year-old lab mix, who’s the youngest in the pack.
Now, Oggy is about fifteen years old, which means that he's wise beyond his years. He's also got a strong bond with Kate, which is why it didn't take him long to figure out that something was wrong with her. The cat, a snuggler, was being a bit too "aggressive" with his cuddles before she was even diagnosed. He sensed something long before she had any idea.
"He has always loved to snuggle up in my arms and will lay there for hours if I let him, but he was focusing on my chest area and specifically on my left side for months before I knew myself what was going on," she shared, according to her blog, My Pink Genes.
Even if she tried to direct him elsewhere, he would always find his way back to her chest area. "He seemed more determined than ever to make sure he was lying near my left breast." Kate had no idea what that meant, but it seemed like Oggy knew that spot needed most love. This behavior continued for months, but Kate still couldn't figure out what her trusted cat was trying to tell her, she explained in an interview with Bored Panda. Soon enough, she felt a lump on her left breast, the very same one that Oggy attached himself to.
"It wasn't until I felt the lump for myself and got the dreaded diagnosis that I put it all together and realized what he had been trying to tell me all along." Her cat knew all along that Kate needed to go to the doctor immediately. "If only I would have realized what he was trying to tell me. Or, if he could have just said, "Hey stupid, I've been trying to tell you about this cancer growing in your breast for months now, would you go get it checked out already?!" "
The healthcare fraud investigator was soon diagnosed with Stage-3 cancer and underwent several rounds of chemotherapy, multiple surgeries, and radiation. "If only pets could talk, I feel like we would all be wiser for it. I can't quite recall how long he acted like that, but I can't help but wonder if I could have caught my cancer sooner had I listened to him." However, she knows that some people find it quite hard to believe her cat actually knew she had cancer.
"I don't blame you if you are skeptical, I was too, but I made a point to pay attention to his behavior after my diagnosis." But, Oggy continued to cling to her until she was done with her chemo before he finally stopped focusing on her chest.
Though Kate was diagnosed nearly three years ago, she knows that regular examination and follow-ups will continue to be part of her life. Now, Kate says she will immediately run to a doctor if Oggy focuses on any other part of her body. Cats are known to love warm spots, and cancer may cause inflammation around the area, and inflammation causes the area to heat up.
Unfortunately, this isn't the first time Kate's been diagnosed with something complicated. She was diagnosed with a rare mutation called CDH1, which previously forced doctors to remove her stomach. The condition is known to cause both stomach and breast cancer. Since she had to have her entire stomach removed, her Instagram handle is ironically called Stomachless_Kate.
Here's hoping more people pay attention to what their pets have to say to them!
Representative Cover Image Source: Getty Images/Gonçalo Barriga