Woman Spent $19,000 for Cat's Kidney Transplant and Then Adopted His Donor

A cat named Zelda sits on a pile of cash. Another black-and-white cat named Stanley cost his owner $19,000 for a kidney transplant. Marie Mundaca / Flickr

Betsy Boyd, a part-time teacher and writer at the University of Baltimore, just made a huge investment: She paid $19,000 for a kidney transplant for her cat Stanley, according to People magazine

A veterinarian diagnosed Stanley with renal insufficiency, a common condition in older cats. Renal, or kidney, failure is one of the leading causes of death for adult cats. Cats can continue to live for varying amounts of time after diagnosis, but as an elderly cat, it looked like the end for Stanley.

But Boyd was dedicated to Stanley, who she said "acts like a human being trapped in a cat's body," according to The Baltimore Sun. So she invested in a rare procedure: a kidney transplant.

Stanley is currently 17 years old—roughly 84 in cat years, although there isn't an official scientific consensus on cat-years-to-human-years calculations. Indoor pet cats that survive kittenhood live roughly 12 to 18 years on average, so Stanley was already coming to the end of his natural life. But to Boyd, it was important to do what she could to help the cat who she described as her best friend.

Boyd only makes $46,000 a year, meaning that the surgery cost 41 percent of her annual income. Boyd wrote that she paid $17,000 for the surgery, but the total came to $19,000 when Stanley suffered a complication.

The decision to spend so much on an elderly cat wasn't easy, and Boyd wrote that a friend even considered holding an intervention to stop her from using "tuition money" that her two sons might need in the future.

Stanley recovered from the surgery and is still alive. Boyd said she had no regrets. Even the kidney donor cat, a two-year-old tabby named Jay, had a happy ending. Boyd's family promised to adopt Jay, whether or not Stanley survived, and now they all live together in Maryland.