Lucy is my daughter Bryn’s cat, and she’s three years old.
My husband, Dan, rescued Lucy as a four week old kitten. He found her abandoned in the parking garage by his office. She was trapped behind a security fence without food or water. He heard her crying, and being the animal lover that he is, he went to investigate. His rescue efforts included contacting security to open the fence and then chasing this scared kitten through the garage and underneath a car to retrieve her. I remember his phone call that day so clearly. He said, “I can’t take her to a shelter. She’s so small. Can I bring her home?”
So, Lucy became a part of our family that day. She was tiny, malnourished and covered in fleas. Dan saved her life and brought her home to us. And that was probably the last time Lucy let Dan love on her.
Lucy is a one person cat, and her person is Bryn. She claimed Bryn for her own, and it has been so for now and all time. They do everything together. Sleep, eat, homework, you name it and Lucy is right there by Bryn’s side. When I wake Bryn up in the morning for school, Lucy helps. She will lick Bryn’s nose, or sometimes she will just lay right across her face when I’m trying to get her up. It’s very sweet to see them together. Best friends.
For all her love and sweetness for Bryn, Lucy is a bad girl. She has a terrible habit of eating things that aren’t food. She especially likes hair rubber bands and tearing up and eating these black foam rubber mats that lay underneath my treadmill. The mat is about an inch thick and protects the hard wood floors from the heavy equipment. Every few weeks I will find a pool of cat vomit with chunks of foam rubber matting or hair ties. I’m always shocked that she manages to puke it all up without hurting herself.
About three weeks ago, Lucy became very sick. Like, projectile vomiting dark green bile from her stomach sick. We were immediately concerned about an obstruction so we took her to the vet. They did abdominal x-rays but didn’t find anything. Everything else was normal, so they treated her for dehydration and sent her home. Three days later she started vomiting again. Back to the vet we go. She wasn’t eating or drinking and it was obvious she was dehydrated again. The vet hospitalized her and did two more rounds of abdominal x-rays over a 24 hour period. The radiologist who reviewed the x-rays observed an area of the her small intestine to be somewhat enlarged and recommended an ultrasound. We transported her to another vet’s office who had the staff and ability to do an ultrasound, as well as emergency surgery if it became necessary.
We were right. She was obstructed. The ultrasound revealed that there was something in her small intestine and other things in her stomach that should not have been there. The vet recommended emergency surgery right away.
Do you want to know what abdominal surgery on a cat costs? It costs about $3,300.00. And this is in addition to the $1,800.00 we already spent at the other vet. What would you do? How do I put a price tag on the life of my daughter’s best friend? How do I say this cat’s life isn’t worth $5,000.00? Those were the choices we were left with because without surgery, her intestine would have ruptured and she would have died.
If I didn’t have the resources, this would be a different post. If Lucy was a fifteen year old cat diagnosed with terminal cancer, this would be a different post. But I did have the resources, and Lucy is a healthy three year old cat with something stuck in her belly. So, after I drank half a bottle of wine and ate a HUGE piece of Coconut Joy cake for dinner to calm myself down, we gave the vet the thumbs up and off to surgery she went!
The vet called us after surgery and told us they removed a piece of the black foam rubber from her small intestine. They also sucked some other debris out of her stomach. When we picked her up, they sent home the offending object, and I was shocked to see it was a piece of foam rubber about two inches long and an inch wide! How she got that down her throat without choking to death is unbelievable!
Lucy is one very lucky little cat. And based on her new loving personality since she’s been home from surgery, I think she knows just how close to death she came.
Meet Lucy. The cat who lived.