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Stanley, the Baltimore cat who received a $19,000 transplant, dies at 18

Stanley, the 18-year-old cat who received a $19,000 kidney transplant last November, died Friday.

The cat’s owner Betsy Boyd, who directs the master’s degree program in creative writing and publishing at the University of Baltimore, said she made the decision to put the feline to sleep after he was suffering from some internal complications.

“It was such a hard decision,” she said -- the biggest challenge being “how do you give a pet the longest, most comfortable life?”

Boyd said Stanley became ill a few weeks ago, and Boyd took him to various veterinarians, where he received fluids and stimulants, but nothing was working.

Last week, Dan Petrus, an internist at Atlantic Veterinary Internal Medicine and Oncology, discovered that Stanley had developed peritonitis, a severe inflammation of the abdomen.

“At that point, he’d been through a lot and he would not have been a good candidate for surgery” due to his age and his kidney transplant, which required him to take drugs that suppressed immune response so that his transplant would not be rejected, Petrus said.

Despite not wanting to lose Stanley, who would have been 19 in March, Boyd said Petrus put her at ease about the process of putting Stanley to sleep.

“I believe he would have suffered more if we hadn’t done that,” she said. Still, she said, it’s hard losing a pet.

“Stanley was the most important friend I’ve ever lost, and he’s a family member. I really love him on the level that I love my parents, husband, my children,” Boyd said, adding that she doesn’t consider herself a cat person, but more so a person who loves animals.

“I will miss him so much.”

Boyd has invested around $30,000 in keeping Stanley well since last year, including his transplant, blood-work and emergency care. She said she realizes most people would not spend that amount on a cat, especially after she received flack for getting Stanley’s initial transplant last November. The story was picked up nationwide. But the mother of twin boys and five cats said that’s fine with her. She wanted to make sure Stanley had the most comfortable life.

“I know he had a wonderful year of eating lots of poultry and feeling happy and well,” Boyd said. “And he didn’t suffer with the transplant. He healed up at home, and he was really comfy.”

“I just wish he could have lived longer,” she said. “He was so … present, but his time came, and I had to accept it.”

bbritto@baltsun.com

twitter.com/brittanybritto

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