Story of Albert

by | Jul 7, 2021 | Blog, Love Stories

Albert, a stray Maine Coon mix, was barely clinging to life when he was found behind a shopping center dumpster. He was pitiful, with matted fur covered in filth, and anemia due to a severe flea infestation. They wondered if this weak, dehydrated 12-week-old kitten would survive the night. Should they even try? Was he really worth the effort of saving? But one person knew he was worth the fight, and she would put everything she had into helping him live to see another day.

Katie was not new to the fight for life herself. Born with a neuro congenital medical condition requiring a medical implant for survival, doctors often expressed doubt about her ability to thrive. When she proved them wrong, they began to spread doubt about her ability to succeed. She proved them wrong again. Now, looking deep into the eyes of this tiny kitten, she saw the spark of determination that every fighter has, and she knew there was no turning back. In that moment of recognition, she knew Albert was meant to be hers, and he would live.

From that point on, they became a team. They began living, playing, and working together. Katie talks to him, and he listens, occasionally meowing to let her know he is paying attention. They can feel each other’s emotions and habits. He snuggles with her when she isn’t feeling well and encourages her with his soft hugs. When she is happy, he plays and does silly things to make her laugh. About 7 years into this sweet relationship, Albert did something quite unusual and new. He began pawing and sniffing at her neck. Katie thought Albert was being silly and ignored him. Then he began licking and nudging her neck. She realized the place he was constantly touching was the exact placement of her medical implant. Thinking she might need to check it out, she decided to talk with her doctor. Of course, the idea of a cat discovering a medical implant malfunction was quite ludicrous, and the doctor tried to dismiss Katie’s concerns. But from day one, she was a fighter and knew that she had to be proactive with her own health. After much discussion, she finally convinced the doctor to take a closer look. Imagine the doctor’s shock that not only was the device malfunctioning, but Albert had indeed saved her life by discovering it before radiology! A short time later, he began exhibiting similar behavior, and once again, he saved her life by detecting the malfunction.

Late one evening, about three years later, she noticed a lump on his leg. To her dismay, she took him to the vet and learned that he had feline injection-site sarcoma. The cancer was spreading quickly, and the only thing that would save him was a total limb amputation. The heartache she felt at diagnosis deepened with panic at the thought of providing expensive medical care on a fixed income. How could she possibly come up with that kind of money? Was it even possible? And yet she knew that this little cat had defied all odds by saving her life not once, but twice! She determined within herself to do everything in her power to make sure he had a fighting chance. Friends and animal lovers joined together and helped her raise the money needed for his operation.

Other doctors had suggested euthanasia, but he was given another chance at life with Dr. Newman’s help and Katie’s determination. She saved him, he saved her, and again she saved him. Together they saved each other. It’s been a little over a year and he is running around on three legs, happy and living life to the fullest. He continues to take care of his human, and she takes care of him as they enjoy quiet evenings at home.

The plan for Veterinary Regional Referral Hospital is to become Newman Veterinary Research Hospital, a not-for-profit 501(c)3 facility providing intensive service for patients with specific disease criteria. By design, it will provide emergency and intensive care, as well as oncology, surgery, internal medicine, imaging, clinical and anatomic pathology.