I have your full attention and yes there will be adorable cat interest stories to entertain you, so fear not dear reader. I make this assertion: blog posts, essays, and cute tongue in cheek stories about cats and kittens attract far more readers than similar stories about any kind of cancer. I’m fairly certain of this without even checking the statistical data. I might have this all wrong, but I doubt it.

If a kitten could invade your body physically, you’d know it. I don’t mean a “sitting in your lap purring” invasion of your personal space, I mean getting into your body traveling around a la the Disney movie “Inner Space,” in which a family is shrunk down to the size of a baby flea injected into the bloodstream of a human being. I recall the roller coaster ride at one of the Disney properties in Orlando, Florida supporting the film. I bet it took in millions in ticket sales from the drones lined up in snaking hours-long waits for a single minute of thrills. I cringe at the idea almost as much as I cringe at the idea of Silicon Valley rush hour traffic, bile of rage welling up in each driver hours before jumping into a pool of BMWs and Priuses.

Back to my subject matter – cats versus cancer. Cancer cannot compare in the arena of adorable versus ugly. Cats win hands down. The statistics about cats do not make people cringe, unless they’re cat haters or sociopathic torturers. Other than some dogs, the occasional wolf or coyote, certain birds of prey, and most carnivorous mammals larger than a cat that may view puss in boots as a nice appetizer for supper, nothing and no one really hates a kitten or cat. Even Grumpy Cat, that self-loathing short-legged curmudgeon. His or her angry-looking furrowed kitty brow genetically beaten in by human torturers kind of like a form of cancer. Nothing a little radiation therapy couldn’t handle.

Believe it or not, cats, not only dogs, can detect breast cancer. At least British kittens can. Recently, a women in the UK claimed that her kitten would wake up in the morning and jump on its owner’s right breast. She let this go in for two weeks until she visited her physician. It turned out the kitten sensed she had stage one breast cancer, and now the woman is on her way to a full recovered. See the article referenced below for the whole story.

There’s marked differences between cats and cancer. It’s no surprise these differences create a preference for cat content over cancer content. And although a kitten created a happy, lucky breast cancer survivor, this is one of the few Venn Diagrams containing both kittens and cancer with any overlapping area at all. Instead, if you were to think about the two topics, you’d draw the diagram in two distinct and separate circles: one labeled “cats” and the other labeled “cancer.”

Why? Cancer doesn’t playfully attack you – it aggressively wages war on your body. It’s not aloof or passive aggressive, just aggressive. It doesn’t purr or meow. Your friends don’t say, “ohhhhh! Such a cute little cancer you’ve adopted. What’s her name?” My cancer, as with other people with incurable cancer that eventually kills us if the treatments don’t do us in first, is named “metastatic” or “stage 4.” Cancer won’t play with a toy or a ball of yarn, it plays tricks and hides from mammograms if you have dense breast tissue, like me. It can’t smell catnip nor will it steal your ham or turkey sandwich. It won’t let you pet its head or scratch behind its ears. It hardly allows you to poison it with chemotherapy, radiate it or even cut it out surgically. Best of all, you needn’t buy Cancer a litter box or a food dish or food to fill the dish. Cancer lives in its very own self replenishing food dish. I am it’s food dish and it will eat me alive. I’m also it’s litter box and it’s cat tree. It doesn’t ask or meow to go outside and every once in a while I take it on a vacation with me or to a cancer retreat to entertain it! Lucky cancer is even treated to large doses of its favorite treat, cortisol, whenever I become stressed. I have a very obedient cancer. It responds well to chemotherapy first Xeloda and now Ibrance.

Unfortunately my health coverage doesn’t quite cut it for this latest round of treatment to get it out of my liver. So I reached out to the Patients Advocacy Foundation and they are funding the $3000 copay that I cannot even begin to cover. Cancer pounced aggressively on my financial life from diagnosis, forcing me to get out of the workforce and spend many days at home. With my cat. And not much more company than that 90% of the time.

A cat will make you feel a little better if you do have cancer by showing you love and affection, and in my case remaining with me in bed when I feel terrible or on the days when I cannot bring myself to fight the fatigue. He’s around when the humans in my world disappear, some never to return again. But my cat only leaves my side to eat or use his litter box. I know if he had opposable thumbs he’d feed me and bring me soup and things to drink. He allows me to cry in his fur and won’t run away when I talk about uncomfortable subjects. Simon loves me unconditionally, while my cancer hates me unconditionally.

So here’s some entertainment for you to forget about cancer for a while and the article from the Daily Mail about the cancer detecting kitten. But I hope you’ll come back again to read more about the uncomfortable topic of how stage IV breast cancer in the form of invasive lobular carcinoma with metastasis to the bones and now the liver, aim to destroy a woman and how she lives in relative peace and happiness, regardless of what rages on inside and outside of her physical body.

Kittens Boxing in a Ring, circa 1894
The oldest known film of kittens
YouTube’s oldest cat video (movie?) made in July 1894, not posted until the 2010’s

My Kitten Alerted Me to Cancer
Kitten saves British woman from rare form of breast cancer
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Maps and Legends

My epic signed by blue,
Pencils edited, erased.
Pages loosened and flew,
White winged birds sung,
Tightened claws bound to lines,
Snap and fly to inner space.

Shortened pagination,
Politely taken wayward
A palace ‘tross seaward.
My imagination skips,
Hissing gently, a light kiss,
Skip the lights aquatic,
Swan dive into the record.
Hole round against,
Metal and rusted center,
End over a feather,
A light in a jet stream.

Dripping ink and rain,
The last page set,
Down in a spring,
Slowly changing everything.
My books marked still,
On page one. Your laughter,
Soaked and heavy with disaster,
Sitting in the oak’s shade,
You kiss my nose and mark,
With cooled breasts. Wonderful
Of you. A park and your hand,
Reaches to shade your face,
As we read from the book
Of the dead and avoided,
The looks of their eyes,
Ashsmed and exploited.
Slaves and a haurcut.

You forgot.
Cash piles stashes,
Ashtrays and snug graves.
We all fall down.
The ground grows smaller,
As I pass the tree line,
Bangs on the Earth,
Becoming her daughter.
Funny to stand today,
Eclipsing the sun,
Looking down?
Avoiding blind faith,
Pin hole in a box,
Gentle and round.
Protect the last epoch,
Hidden in a rainstorm.
Injustice of ghost town.
What substance, space
She left us, just as wraith.


My time to lie down and die as prescribed, only known as “patient.”
From stage left, enter:
Sutured together in an unholy friendship.
Acquainted by bones held lines closely to my chest.
“the role of Physical unrest today played by a courtesan,”
A voice wails from behind the curtain velveteen,
Dust heavy, too long, bloody incarnadine.
She plays an understudy, the nobody anyone rushed to see fall a part.
Our audience politely sighs,
Glancing at tonight’s playbill and shift in behinds squeak and uncomfortably crushed into Corinthian seats.
Heaving together an a capella sigh of disappointment.
Today my body portrayed the Middle East warring for fuel.
Raping the enemy with hammers pushed, harder through lustful hypodermics.
My lines spoken, I go wandering,
Offstage, off site, unwanted, barefoot and dry lipped;
A nomad, a Hebrew. Relatively she’s alone, not home.
A mother, my father, the dead with signs above their heads.
Light the candles dear passerby,
Your tour guide, “right over there she played a daughter.” They overheard my silent cries –
That’s not my coast, isn’t my ocean, not my sand, not your hand,
I no longer smell the salted hot white bag saving my bite.
Said in my head since the audience left for better known actors.

Instead, you sir alone you stay to see the night’s temporary.
No applause, and embarrassed by your eyes,
Covertly you force me to bend into a happen shape to cover my nudity.
Who told you why some baker had to twist pretzels into sad knots?
Ask me what it means.
Does anyone stand in to speak that question?

Back after the last play,
No one came by, they stopped when the conversation turned,
To malcontented topics of aunts who smile warmly, incontinent and pushed in wheelchairs,
Catheter bags hang low, they passed a few months back.
Impishly, my body denied and she hides behind a series

Of course Hamlet’s breath shows cold a ghostly father who smells of hemlock, Delights with whisperings of Juliet’s stupidity.
Shakespeare’s women fell behind tragic greed, seriously,
Or illogical acts of watery folly. Did they mean to die?

Maybe Ophelia had a lump in her breast. Who knows what the players thought.
Maybe she fell, exhausted that fateful evening, simply tripped
Into the river bed, her floggs of corsetry snagged on a craggy tombstone,
Which never meant any harm. It was too soon.
Too soon to wave the day on like cattlemen.
Too soon to allow trust as such, to my physicians and cancer friends.
The physicians who know no depth besides my tumor.
The groups who know of me now as pitiful yet with humor.

Too soon to let go. I never meant to play Ophelia, never
Wanted the understudy roles but if for the sake of the show
Going on I’ll take whatever I get tomorrow,
Because we do not know what to believe anymore.
And in your blue eyes, the longest goodbye,
Your own hands massage my heart bloody and beating.
I cry. Yearn again for your fingers to play it back.
Let me hear you breathe for me – please. Oh, one more time.

Strings tight against your fingertips and close my word heavy lips.
You play our rage into a wooden box not enough to fit
All our anger. Or hold ether of us tight enough to asphyxiate.
The unknown actor playing the role of me tonight,
Pretend with the rest of the audience and stay without disappointment.