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The old saying goes that cats have nine lives; and while that’s not exactly true, it seems appropriate in the case of Maxine the cat who has returned from the brink of death twice thanks to the care she received at Newtown Veterinary Specialists (NVS) in Newtown.
Maxine’s owner Dave Merton couldn’t be more grateful to the NVS staff for saving his beloved pet and reached out to The Newtown Bee to share his experience.
Merton, based in New Milford since 1963, didn’t grow up with cats much. It wasn’t until his neighbor and former Mayor of New Milford’s cat, Pat Murphy, Jasper came to visit him that he discovered the camaraderie cats can bring.
Hanging out with Jasper gave him a new appreciation for cat lovers, and before he knew it he said he “fell in love with cats.”
When his friend contacted him about five rescue kittens in Patterson, NY, who needed a home, he took the opportunity to adopt his first cat of his own.
When he adopted Maxine – whom he affectionately calls “Max” and “Maxie” – she was only six weeks old.
“When I first brought her home when I was sleeping on the bus, she was sleeping on the back of my neck. I don’t know why, but she did and I thought it was cute, ”Merton recalled.
Maxine is now 12 years old and the two are inseparable.
“She has always been the cutest cat in all of feline history … everyone loves her. She’s a treasure – there is no other way to put it, ”said Merton.
With her optimistic attitude, Merton didn’t notice until late that night in September 2020 that Maxine’s health was deteriorating.
“To the best of my knowledge, she got sick and made that click,” he said. “When she was sick, I was horrified.”
In addition to the click, Merton noticed that she was breathing heavily and seemed “distant”.
The next morning he took Maxine to her primary veterinary office, Valley Vet, New Milford. The staff there recommended that they be taken to NVS immediately.
“If I hadn’t taken her there, she would have died,” Merton said.
At NVS, he was informed that Maxine had a variety of health concerns.
“They took care of her and figured it all out … she was so busy,” Merton said. “She was dehydrated – I don’t know how that was possible because she has a bowl of water; Her blood sugar was in the 500 or 600s, she had bad diabetes, [and] She was septic. She had all of these things going on, but I had no way of knowing. “
He added, “The way one of the doctors at NVS explained is that cats are stoic. They won’t tell you anything until they do [are about to] drop dead.”
Maxine stayed with NVS for a total of four days to recover.
During that time, Merton would visit her, but due to COVID-19 safety guidelines in place, he would not be able to enter the building. Instead, the staff brought her to the parking lot for supervised visits.
He recalls how, on one of his first visits, the thought of losing her so heightened his feelings that he wept openly, if only briefly, to be reunited with her.
Merton remembers how strong and supportive the NVS employee was there in his time of need.
“She was so nice and made me scream my eyes out in front of her and she was so dignified about the whole thing and let it happen,” Merton said. “I’m sure she’s seen people do this, but I totally lost it and cried for my baby.”
Maxine recovered enough to leave NVS in early October, and in the months that followed, Merton saw her getting better.
“My little darling came back to life,” he said.
However, the situation worsened and at the end of January Maxine was re-admitted to the NVS.
“The last time I brought her she was so sick that I couldn’t come and take her outside because it was too cold,” Merton said.
There were times when he thought she couldn’t make it or he would have to make the difficult decision of putting her down.
Ultimately, Maxine was there for three days and recovered enough to be able to go home.
“She is doing great. Basically, they saved her life not just once but twice, ”Merton said.
Merton is grateful for the many contributors to the Maxine rescue and specifically quotes NVS Co-Medical Director Dr. Adam Porter, who made a significant contribution to her getting well again.
To show his appreciation, Merton ordered a cake that said, “Thank you for saving me … again! —Maxine ”and shipped it to NVS for employees to enjoy.
“You saved my little baby and that’s the bottom line,” Merton said.
Today Maxine is in a good mood and continues to see her primary vet, has a blood glucose monitor, and takes insulin.
Health insurance for pets
In addition to sharing his positive experience with NVS, Merton wants to stand up for people to know that pet health insurance is an option to help with medical expenses.
Although he would do anything for his Maxine, he admits that it is costly. He wishes they knew about pet health insurance before the cost began, and understands that not everyone has the option to get life-saving medical care for their pets.
“I never had [pet health insurance] and had to pay out of pocket, ”said Merton. “Maybe it’s a good idea for people [insurance]because then they don’t have to make these really difficult decisions. “
Pet owners can ask their veterinarians about the available pet health insurance options to find out what is right for their needs.
Newtown Veterinary Specialists is open 24/7, 365 days a year. For more information on Newtown Veterinary Specialists, visit newtownvets.com or call 203-270-8387.
Maxine the cat has received lifesaving care not just once but twice in the past six months by Newtown Veterinary Specialists, 52 Church Hill Road. – Photos courtesy of Dave Merton
New Milford-based Dave Merton has a strong bond with his 12-year-old cat Maxine, who rests on his shoulder here. “I can’t imagine life without her,” said Merton.
Dave Merton wanted to show his appreciation for NVS and sent them a cake with the message: “Thank you for saving me … again! – Maxine “written in frosting.