Many animal owners who care for their pets will do whatever it takes to keep their fur children safe and happy, down to checking labels on bags of food and scheduling regular vet checkups.
As our pets live long and fulfilling lives and enter the twilight years, there is a lot we can do to combat natural aging — or at least make our elderly companions more comfortable — but sometimes more dire measures need to be taken.
There’s always a point at which caring pet owners have to make tough calls concerning their animals’ quality of life. But no one can question whether or not Betsy Boyd of Baltimore cares for her cat named Stanley.
Boyd is a writer and writing professor. She adopted Stanley when he was just a kitten, and the two have spent the past 17 years as best buds through all of life’s highs and lows.
For Boyd, that included marriage, pregnancy, and the birth of a child. Stanley was there through it all, even inspiring a character in one of her works.
So when the aging cat began to lose his pep, Boyd was concerned. After a few tests, it became clear that Stanley was suffering from the final stages of kidney failure.
His condition was so serious that the only way he would see any improvement would be to find a kidney donor. While finding a kidney donor and doing transplants is fairly common in humans, it’s much rarer in other animals.
Many cat owners might have opted to humanely end their cat’s suffering or make him comfortable for as long as possible, but Boyd wasn’t about to lose her companion when there were still options on the table.
“Stanley loves me as much as any human being has ever loved me and I love him the same way,” she said. “I want him around.”
So she began to look for a donor. And she found one.
But it came with strings attached — heartstrings, to be specific. A homeless cat named Jay could be a donor for the ailing Stanley under one condition: that Boyd open up her heart and home to the stray and give him a forever home.
Both cats went into surgery last November, and they both pulled through. Stanley began to perk up and is doing better, all thanks to a humble $19,000 procedure and a stray named Jay.
“Stan is thriving and I’m relieved that this pet, who means at least as much to me as my siblings, still has a pulse,” said the elated cat owner. “There’s a great chance Stan will now live to 20 at the very least.”
Not only is Stanley doing well, but another cat was able to find a loving home through this process. Just like in humans, donating a kidney doesn’t generally have any negative long-term effects for felines, and Jay should live as normal a life as any other cat.
There were a few setbacks along the way, but nothing a little hard-earned cash and medical attention couldn’t solve. And Boyd has no regrets about the money she’s spent to ensure time with a critter whose friendship is priceless.
“He’s my muse and my best friend,” she said. “He’s here purring. I know I did the right thing.”
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