Like millions of cat owners, there’s nothing Jean Kelly loves more than the sound of her pet gently miaowing as he winds himself round her feet.
So when her cat Cadbury suddenly lost his voice, distressed Jean wasted little time taking him to the vet – and ended up paying £10,000 to get his miaow back again.
The vet realised Cadbury was suffering from a paralysed larynx, a rare condition that needed immediate surgery.
Worth it: Caring Jean Kelly with Cadbury, who's made a good recovery
Jean, 40, said: ‘He was always quiet, but the trouble began when I noticed he couldn’t miaow and was breathing with his mouth open.
‘He was making a weird noise like a wind-tunnel, so I decided to take him to the vet.
‘I was told that Cadbury needed an emergency operation or he would die. They were concerned because he also had a heart murmur, but they finally agreed to operate. Apparently it’s a very uncommon condition.’
The paralysed larynx was causing Cadbury’s narrow throat to become blocked. He needed two operations to tie back his swollen voice box, enabling him to breathe again – running up a £5,000 bill for surgery.
The pet also needed six days in an oxygen tent and several days in intensive care. In all, four months of nursing care and an underlying thyroid condition left Jean with a further £4,000 to pay, along with £1,000 for aftercare and check-ups.
Now 13-year-old Cadbury is back at home in Olney, Buckinghamshire, regularly enjoying his favourite dish of tuna – and miaowing happily in delight.
Jean’s insurance company, Petplan, has paid £6,000 of the total bill, but she has been left struggling to pay the remaining £4,000.
Lost voice: Cadbury during his illness
She said: ‘It was never about me – it was about Cadbury and his quality of life. I know he’s not a young cat but I wanted to give him a fighting chance.
‘I’ve had him since he was five months old. He followed my sister home one night and was clearly a stray. She was too busy to have him so I said I’d look after him for a week.
‘He was incredibly skinny and had an enormous white flea collar on him which was almost choking him, so I immediately took that off.
‘I just fell in love with him and realised I couldn’t bear to lose him. He loves sitting in the sun in the conservatory, and waits outside for the schoolchildren when they walk home in the afternoon.
‘I once counted eight hands all stroking him at one point. He just loves it.’
Jean had been planning a dream holiday in Namibia but she has put it on hold due to the cost of Cadbury’s treatment.
The public relations manager, who does voluntary work at the North Buckinghmashire and Milton Keynes RSPCA, said: ‘I was going on safari but Cadbury’s lost voice meant
I had to change my plans to a week’s caravan holiday with my relatives.
‘But the money was worth it just to see Cadbury well again and happy.’
Petplan spokeswoman Alison Andrew said that a bill running into thousands of pounds was particularly painful with the credit crunch.
She added: ‘Now Cadbury’s getting the treatment he needs, hopefully he’s on the road to recovery.’
Cadbury the cat gets his miaow back - for £10,000 | Mail Online