StrangerDeborah and Nicholas have been feeding a colony of feral cats in San Jose since 1999. Some time in 2009, a strange new cat showed up and hung around the edge of the main colony. He was a big (14 pounds), long-haired, orange and white tom cat that looked a lot like a Maine Coon. Looking at his tipped ear, they knew that the stranger had been neutered and released, but they weren’t sure what gender he was – with all that hair, it was impossible to tell. Fittingly, they called him Stranger.

After a couple of years of feeding him, Stranger decided to let them take him home and he’s been there ever since. All was well until this past February when Deborah heard Stanger meowing loudly from his cat box and realized that he couldn’t pee. She rushed him to the Animal Internal Medical Specialty Service (AIMSS) on 9th Avenue where it was determined that Stranger had a blocked urethra and needed immediate medical attention. The blockage was removed but recurred less than 48 hours later. At that point, it was decided that the best solution to this problem was a surgical procedure called a perineal urethrostomy that effectively removed all of his male plumbing and would allow him to pee without any more blockages.

Needless to say, these surgeries are very expensive and the cost was considerably more than Deborah and Nicholas could have anticipated. Fortunately Dr. Dorrie Black, Stranger’s veterinarian at AIMSS, had a grant from San Francisco Aid for Animals that lowered his surgical bill to a level that was affordable to his family. Stranger had his surgery, recovered well and is enjoying lounging in the sun in San Francisco.

Both Deborah and Nic are profoundly grateful to have their beautiful cat healthy once again. Both feel a huge sense of gratitude to the staff at AIMSS and the kindness of SFAFA, both for the excellent care Stranger received and for the hospital’s and SFAFA’s willingness to get the cost down enough to make the surgery possible. (PD)