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Woman Spends $19,000 on Kidney Transplant for Her 17-Year- Old Cat

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    Betsy Boyd, a 44-year-old woman has proven just how much she adores her feline companion by spending a whopping $19,000 on kidney transplant for her 17-year-old cat, Stanley.


    Stanley was in end-stage kidney failure and the veterinarian said the only way to save the black-and-white feline was a kidney transplant. Betsy also adopted the kidney donor, a 2-year-old tabby named Jay, bringing the total number of felines in her household to six. Both cats are thriving post-surgery at the moment. 

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    Boyd isn’t independently wealthy


     As a part-time member of the University of Baltimore's creative writing faculty, she earns about $46,000 a year. Her husband, Michael Yockel is a freelance journalist and stay-at-home father who cares for the couple's twin sons, 3-year-old Texas and Miner. As she told the Baltimore sun: "The message I like to get across is that if you save your money carefully, you can spend $19,000 on something that moves you". And there's no question that Stanley matters to her, and matters a lot. "Stanley is the only human cat," she said. "I love all my cats, but Stanley is the only one who acts like a human being trapped in a cat's body. He's so vocal and communicative. He maintains eye contact better than any cat I've ever known. When I'm at work, he waits at the window or front door for me to come home, just like a dog."

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    Boyd’s vet suspected a kidney disease in November 2016, after Boyd reported change in Stanley’s behavior.


    The changes included: losing interest in eating, no more interested in chasing other kitty friends and avoided going outside for walks on his purple leash.  A diagnosis confirmed by a specialist who gave Stanley three months to live. But instead of preparing to lose her furry best friend, Boyd contacted the feline renal transplant program at the University of Pennsylvania's Ryan Veterinary Hospital, one of only three in the country performing such procedures. Like other potential patients, Stanley first had to be evaluated to ensure he didn't have other significant medical conditions, says Dr. Lillian Aronson, a surgery professor at the university's Veterinary Medicine school who started the transplant program in 1998. "Clinically, he looked great," Aronson tells PEOPLE. Donor cats suffer no ill effects from giving up one of their two kidneys and their life expectancy is not impacted, she says. Indoor cats live on average about 14 to 16 years. "We are just as concerned with the life of the donor as the recipient," Aronson says, adding that patients' families must agree to adopt the donor. "They are saving another animal's life and we owe it to them to save their life and give them a good home." 

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    “Knowing Stanley as I do,” she said, “I think he’s one of those cats who could make it to age 25.”


    Though Boyd realizes there are no guarantees, she's counting the days until May 28, when Stanley will pass the six-month post-surgical milestone. At that point, his odds of long-term survival improve dramatically. 


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