This morning we packed Pandora into her travelling crate to go to the V.E.T.
Her vet for the last eight years has been her precious 'Uncle' Tim, a lovely man and an extremely good vet who is fantastic with fractious cats - and Pandora defines fractious! He has also cared for Ambrose (who died in 2001) and Echo (who died in 2004) and currently, Charlie.
But lately staffing changes have meant Pandora has had to get used to new vets.
Auntie Elena is one of her favourites - a lovely Spanish lady from Madrid.
Auntie Julie - she doesn't like her so much.
And today Pandora met another new vet, Auntie Helen.
Helen was quick, gentle, understanding and dealt with us as well as Pandora (one of the reasons we still use this practice even though it is more expensive than others).
She checked out the lump, then checked out Pandora's lymph nodes and certain specific parts of her anatomy.
As we hoped, it's unlikely to be cancer. It's more likely a lipoma, as I suspected. It's actually on her ribs and not on her shoulder.
She's not 'sick', she doesn't limp, she is eating fine, sleeping well, using her tray properly and still leaping (albeit gently!) onto laps, chairs, tables and boxes. Not bad for an 18yr old cat - which translates roughly to 85-90yrs old!
We politely refused unnecessary testing, figuring it would upset the old dear too much.
We agreed to watch her carefully for the next couple of months and whip her back to the vet if she appears ill or in discomfort.
Once her claws were clipped she was crated back up for the trip home.
Of course, the old madam got her own back, managing to throw up and wee simultaneously on the way home while her crate was on my lap.
Pandora: we know your time here is not infinite but we will still keep you with us, healthy and content, as long as possible.