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Oklahoma State University
Center for Veterinary Health Sciences

Healthy Animals - Healthy People

Cat Has Brain Surgery

Thursday, July 9 2015

Mikey – Bully or Lover?

Mikey (pictured above) lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with his owners, Stacy and Drew Shouse, and two other cats—Sheridan and Odin. By Stacy’s admission, Mikey is a bully. The soft, fluffy 11 year old cat would purr and lure people in close to him before turning and slapping his would-be admirers in the face. According to Stacy, Mikey even sent both his ‘siblings’ to the veterinarian on separate occasions. But in March 2015, that all changed.

“Mikey stopped attacking his siblings and started stumbling around, walking in circles and staring at the wall,” recalled Stacy.

Totally out of character for their bully, Stacy and Drew decided to have Mikey checked out which led them to OSU’s Veterinary Medical Hospital. Dr. Shane Lyon, small animal internal medicine, first saw Mikey. Lyon ordered an MRI and diagnosed Mikey’s problem.

“The MRI showed a huge mass on Mikey’s brain,” explained Dr. Mark Rochat, small animal surgery section chief. “It was about the size of a large grape and was pressing on the cat’s brain, which basically affected Mikey’s behavior.”

The tumor is the white spot on Mikey's MRI (above).

“We struggled with the decision to have surgery because of his age and the risk of complications,” said Stacy. “However, I so enjoyed the rare occasion when he would curl up in my lap. Or when I was sick or injured, he had to be close to make sure I was okay, even if it meant beating up the other cats to get a good spot. Every time Drew was out of town or deployed with the Tulsa Air National Guard, 138th Fighter Wing, 125th Fighter Squadron, Mikey would wait hours by the door before giving up and going on to bed. So we decided to move forward with the surgery.”

Mikey’s surgery took about one hour. Recovery involved pain management and watching Mikey for any signs of brain swelling.

“This type of tumor (pictured above) is one of the easier types to deal with. Mikey came through surgery with no lasting problems,” added Rochat.

And to the surprise of his owners, Mikey’s behavior changed again!

Pictured above (left to right) are Dr. Mark Rochat, small animal surgeron who operated on Mikey's tumor, and Drew Shouse with Mikey on the day the cat was discharged from OSU's Veterinary Medical Hospital.

“Mikey came through surgery great. He hated the cone around his neck with a passion but the weird thing is, Mikey is not attacking his siblings and is quite the lover,” Stacy said shortly after the cat’s operation. “We hope this mellow side of him stays but even if it doesn’t, he is still a keeper – we love our evil cat!”

Several weeks out of surgery, Mikey returned to the hospital for a follow up visit.

“Mikey is doing great and for the first time after surgery, he played a little,” said Stacy. “Although he isn’t beating up on his siblings, Mikey has started growling and hissing which may be a sign of things to come.”

Maybe Mikey’s softer side is going to give way to his original personality. If so, sibling cats and visitors to the Shouse household beware—Mikey has been known to slap.

For more information on OSU’s Veterinary Medical Hospital, visit www.cvhs.okstate.edu or call (405) 744-7000.


Contact: Derinda Blakeney, APR | OSU Center for Veterinary Health Sciences | 405-744-6740 | derinda@okstate.edu