Cat Racks Up $25,000 In Brain Surgeries But Her Worth Far Outweighs Her Vet Bills

Written by: Kelli Brinegar
For more than five years, Kelli Brinegar has been using her ability to write and her passion for research to tell the tale of what cats are thinking and why. She has provided care to more than 30 cats in her lifetime.Read more
| Published on March 22, 2023

At six months old, Princess the cat was found starving and struggling to survive at Jack’s Point in Queenstown, New Zealand. Concerned for the poor tabby, rescuers brought her to Timaru’s Family Vet for help. There, it was determined she wasn’t just underweight. Princess was also visually impaired, and it left her unable to judge distance or jump with any accuracy.

But in the care of the Timaru vet’s office, Princess would be safe and loved. Not only did she find family in the staff, but the sweet girl also found a best friend in fellow clinic cat, Pearl. Yet, the harmony would soon be rocked when significant seizures began to plague Princess just months after her arrival at the office. Her care would be expensive, but Princess was worth every penny.

$25,000 and Two Surgeries Later

Timaru’s Family Vet described Princess’s seizures as “violent and dramatic.” But Princess was never alone because Pearl would stay by her side, offering comfort as she regained consciousness. And as the seizures became more frequent, with one week bringing four episodes, Pearl and the vet family decided they needed to find out what was happening in Princess’s head.

“Due to our knowledge that seizures in cats are rare and usually trauma-related we decided to have a MRI scan done on Princess’s brain,” explained Timaru Family Vet.

“This showed that Princess has a large cyst in the left side of her brain. This is likely to be something that she has been born with and is becoming larger with time, putting more and more pressure on her brain.”

Princess would need surgery, and it wouldn’t be cheap.

RELATED: 5 Causes Of Seizures In Cats

An Auckland Veterinary Specialists surgeon could operate, but “this comes with a hefty cost of $10,000 – $15,000, plus the cost of getting her to Auckland.”A fundraiser for Princess netted a significant chunk of the cash, and soon Princess underwent surgery with Dr. Richard Jerram at VSA “to create a permanent bony window into her brain to allow excessive fluid to drain out and prevent pressure on her brain.”

“Princess sailed through all her pre-op scans, surgery and recovery so well that she was on her way home within a week!”

Yet the occasional seizure still plagued the kitty, and a CT scan showed she would need further surgical intervention that would run an estimated $10,000. Again, Princess sailed through. And after two surgeries totaling $25,000, Princess is now seizure-free.

“No Hesitation” For A Girl So Good

Timaru’s Family Vet owner Jamie Crilly said cost meant nothing for a cat so dear, telling the Timaru Herald, “We had no hesitation in her having the operations.”

“She’s a special cat to us and what she means to us equates to more than the cost of the operations,” shared Jamie.  “She’s very popular at the clinic.”

Patients and their families love Princess and often request her company. As a cat who once needed comfort herself, she understands just what the patients and their parents need—lots of cuddles and purry reassurances that everything will be fine.

“We couldn’t pay for the equivalent,” said Jamie. “She’s also a therapy cat, and she certainly works for it.”

Princess “rules the roost” at Timaru’s Family Vet, and though she’s run up some big bills for care, those costs could never equal her worth as Princess is priceless.

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Feature Image: Timaru’s Family Vet/Facebook & Timaru’s Family Vet/Givealittle