Teddy's Hunt


Teddy entered our lives in May 1995 -a cute, energetic Tonkinese kitten. He was 3 months old and full of fun and mischief. He loved to run around and play with almost anything.

He had a bit of a rough start, however, when Dr. Cerf detected he had the intestinal illness, Giardia, probably picked up from the water in the rural area where he was born. We were told that Giardia was difficult to cure, but not impossible. At that point we could have returned him to the breeder but there was no way - we had fallen in love with him. After many weeks of treatment and Dr. Cerf's dedication and expertise at solving problems, Teddy recovered fully.

Back to his lively self, involved in everything we were doing, Teddy soon discovered that his new "Dad" had some very interesting toys - pipe cleaners. Occasionally he would steal a used one, throw it in the air, bat it around, chase it across the kitchen floor where it would usually end up under the stove. We got in the habit of throwing him a clean one now and then which he would immediately take and play his little game. This routine continued for some time with lost ones being replaced, and Teddy having more fun. Apparently it was sort of a hunting game for we would find one in his food dish now and then (the animal instinct to hunt, take home and eat). We would retrieve it from the dish and discard it, never thinking that Teddy had really intended to eat it.

Then one day that October when Teddy was 10 months old, we arrived home from work in the evening to find him looking very unhappy. He had vomited many times, including once with a curled pipe cleaner coming up. So we thought that was probably the problem and he would now be fine. But the next morning he was hardly moving and obviously very sick. We called Dr. Cerf and took him to RVH in Ridgewood immediately.

X-rays determined that there was a mass in his stomach. Dr. Cerf hoped he would pass the mass and kept a very close eye on him for 2 days (even taking him with him when he needed to go to the Midland Park office. Later that day he operated and removed 11 pipe cleaners, rolled up like snails, from Teddy's stomach. He remained in intensive care for 4 days but finally came home to us and gradually recovered fully. It was a miracle - there was a time when we thought we would not see Teddy again.

Teddy is now 14 and in good health except for an enlarged heart which Dr. Cerf has been treating for 2 years. Again, thanks to Dr. Cerf's dedication to the animals in his care and his wonderful staff, this is another miracle that our lovable, playful friend is still with us and totally unaware that he has a serious illness.