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Norwich Bulletin - 9/4/2005

Boston's Story

Boston spent the first part of his young life living in the streets, eating anything that happened to come his way. He was a small, brown mackerel tabby, painfully thin, with a purr that you could hear from the other side of the room. Our Animal Control Officer called Helping Paws to see if we would take him into our care because he was such a nice cat. In fact, Boston was what rescue organizations affectionately label an instant cat.

When Helping Paws found him a perfect home, we were confident that good food and TLC would be all he would need to blossom into the perfect pet. But Boston continued to lose weight and constantly vomit, and several trips to his vet yielded no answers. An ultra sound showed a mass in his intestines but their vet wanted $1,000 up front for exploratory surgery, and the young woman who was Boston's new owner could not afford that.

Their vet said it was probably a cancerous tumor and she should consider having Boston euthanized, but he was so sweet and loving, she just could not bring herself to end his life. And so she called Helping Paws and asked us for help.

We took Boston back into our care and took a couple of days to assess him. We also had to realistically assess our bank account because we were (and continue to be) in deep debt with all of the rescues taken in during this kitten season. I was pretty desperate and decided to call the Connecticut Humane Society to see if there was something they could do to help Boston.

Our cat loving friends in Newington wasted no time in coming to our aid. Thanks to the dedicated vets at the Humane Society, we learned that Boston was literally starving to death. X-rays clearly showed a foreign body in his stomach. Emergency surgery resulted in the removal of a large, hard, plastic object that had wrapped itself around Boston's intestines. It was estimated that this little guy had been unable to eat normally for over six months. It was a miracle he was still alive.

The surgery was successful and Boston came back to Helping Paws to recuperate. Weighing only six pounds, Boston was given four small meals a day. The surgeon was worried his intestines had been damaged, but Boston finally got lucky as that turned out not to be the case. He no longer vomited, and his fur began to have a healthy glow. His owners visited him during his recuperation and, when he reached nine pounds, Boston returned to his home. At this time, he continues to put on weight and thrive.

Whoever put Boston outside because they no longer wanted him, probably thought that he could survive on his own because he was a cat. This fallacy is SO FAR from the truth; I cannot stress enough that domestic cats are not equipped to survive on their own.

Boston most likely ate whatever he could find to fill his stomach as he wandered the streets, looking for a home, or at least a decent meal. If he had not been picked up by animal control, if he had not been taken in by an organization, if his new owners had not loved him enough to seek a second opinion and if there had not been dedicated rescue and veterinarian staff to help, Boston would have died of starvation.

There are also a few other very important lessons in Boston's story. The vet that took care of Boston after he was adopted did not follow through with his care. Concerned with the almighty dollar and not realizing that this cat needed surgery back in January, caused months of pain and suffering in this little cat.

Vet's need to be a bit more sympathetic and realistic with animal care. Most people do not have an extra $1,000 lying around but would certainly be willing to make payments to save a beloved pet's life. On the other hand, Boston's owners also should have immediately followed through with a second opinion when Boston continued to vomit, and sought help from organization's that are able to help financially with medical costs.

The Humane Society has a catastrophic fund that was started to help people like Boston's owners when something unusual happens to a beloved pet. A lot of lessons have been learned through Boston's amazing story and by sharing this story with my readers, you, too, will benefit from our experience.

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