There’s a misconception that our pets don’t have much use. It’s not true, because nowadays many pets find their use as emotional support animals, and have a strong therapeutic value. Therapeutic use is common and well-understood, but how about diagnostics? Sounds strange? Today’s story is about how one oddly cuddly cat, Oggy, might have just saved Kate’s life by pointing out her breast cancer.

Like most good stories, it was a little more complicated than that classic trope from Lassie: “what, Lassie? Timmy fell down the well?” Minnesotans Kate King-Scribbins and her husband own four rescues: Oggy, who’s the oldest, Max the mixed-breed dog who has unfortunately passed away recently, Lulu the Maine coon, and Abby, the twelve-year-old lab mix, who’s the youngest in the pack. Oggy, being the eldest and the wisest, sensed that there was trouble…

Kate has given Bored Panda an exclusive interview about how she and her pets are doing, so read until the end to find out more.

More info: Instagram

Meet Kate and Oggy, a pair who have rescued each other’s lives

Image credits: mypinkgenes

Oggy is a fifteen-year-old rescue, who, as Kate claims, is an aggressive snuggler

Image credits: mypinkgenes

Obviously, all of Kate’s four rescues have different characters, and Oggy is an aggressive snuggler, as Kate described. However, before Kate’s cancer diagnosis, Oggy’s aggressive snuggling tendencies had ramped up, and he primarily focused on the left side of Kate’s chest. Kate tried to redirect him, but Oggy insisted laying on the left breast.

Usually Oggy loves snuggling in Kate’s arms, but his behavior started to change

Image credits: mypinkgenes

Oggy suddenly started preferring lying on Kate’s chest, especially on the left side

Image credits: mypinkgenes

This behavior continued for a few months, and Kate didn’t suspect that the cat might have been trying to either warn her or heal her with his purr magic. One day, Kate woke up to a jolt of pain radiating through her body. The experienced healthcare fraud investigator quickly performed a self-examination of her breasts and discovered a lump. She was later diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer and underwent several rounds of chemotherapy, multiple surgeries, and radiation. It wasn’t until her dreaded diagnosis that she realized what Oggy had been trying to tell her. Oggy continued to lay on her breast all throughout chemotherapy, and it wasn’t until after surgery that the cat stopped focusing on the spot.

Even if Kate tried to reposition him, he still went back to the same spot

Image credits: mypinkgenes

One day, Kate woke up to radiating pain and found a lump on her left breast, the same spot that Oggy preferred laying on

Image credits: mypinkgenes

She was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer, and underwent chemotherapy

Image credits: mypinkgenes

She thinks Oggy wanted to warn her in advance, and didn’t leave her side throughout the chemo

Image credits: mypinkgenes

Oggy healed her tumor with purrs and love, and it’s what kept her strong during that time

Image credits: mypinkgenes

She underwent surgery, and after that, Oggy stopped snuggling on her left side

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She was recovering, and the tumor was gone

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Oggy was still a snuggly bunny afterwards

Image credits: mypinkgenes

Kate gives credit to Oggy for trying to warn her in advance. Even though there are skeptics to this claim, she doesn’t mind them

Image credits: mypinkgenes

Kate is aware that some people are more skeptical about the possibility that Oggy diagnosed cancer. And she’s not mad that some people don’t believe her. “Luckily, I haven’t heard from too many skeptics. But, I guess it is my story, and I don’t have any doubts about it. So, I would just try and focus on the positive reactions.” What’s important is that she knows that her pets helped her on more than one occasion. For example, when she had just been diagnosed, she was running through the worst-case scenarios in her mind, and the possibility of leaving her pets mourning was something that she just wouldn’t accept, which gave her even more resolve to fight cancer.

Rationally, Oggy might’ve reacted to inflammation in her breast, but it still helped Kate get a clue about the cancer

Image credits: mypinkgenes

And to the skeptics: there are many rational explanations why Oggy acted the way he did, and these reasons don’t contradict Kate’s feeling that the cat wanted to help her before she even knew it. As most of us know, cats love warmth, especially that which is a few degrees higher than normal human temperature. Cancer may cause an inflammation around the area, and inflammation causes the area to heat up (hence the name “inflammation”), making it very attractive for the cat to lay there. Whether Oggy realized it or not, he may have helped her all along. It’s known that cats’ purrs have healing benefits, so the fact that Oggy focused on that area might have really helped Kate heal faster.

Before, Kate was diagnosed with a rare mutation called CDH1, which previously forced doctors to remove her stomach, and which causes both stomach and breast cancer

Image credits: mypinkgenes

It wasn’t the first medical emergency that Kate had. In 2019, she was diagnosed with a rare genetic mutation called CDH1, which causes breast cancer and diffuse gastric cancer. Before her breast cancer surgery, she was forced to have her entire stomach removed, why is why she ironically calls herself Stomachless_Kate on Instagram. Kate knows that cancer will probably always be a part of her life, as check-ups and treatments are a never-ending process for cancer survivors.

She’s told a little bit more about her peculiar “stomachless” condition: “Processing food and liquids without a stomach is definitely different. My body and mind had a lot of adjusting to do. Without a stomach and stomach acid to digest and break down foods, I have to chew everything very thoroughly. From there, it travels down my esophagus and directly into my intestines. My liver still produces bile to break down fats, but I no longer have a gallbladder to store it. Without stomach acid, some things like extended release medications do not work because they travel through my system too quickly to work. I have to focus on getting enough protein and calories because the sizes of my meals are much smaller. I eat frequently. I separate eating and drinking so that I don’t get too full, or push things through too quickly. Sugars are an issue because they can cause huge spikes in blood sugar followed by scary crashes, so I have to be careful. After nearly 2 years without a stomach, I am pretty much in a routine now. But, I still get those really tough days where nothing seems to go right and I just remind myself that tomorrow is always better. I just have to make it through one day, which I have done many times.”

Almost exactly 3 years ago, she got the news about the cancer. Now she enjoys life with her husband and four rescues

Image credits: mypinkgenes

“I am doing well. My health is good for the most part. I am maintaining weight, gaining back my strength, muscle, and stamina. I still have bad days, but they are becoming few and far between. Eating and drinking is getting easier and I am feeling like myself again. I have always enjoyed exercise. I am still young, and I want to stay active, so I started working my way up slowly with exercise. I still have a long way to go, but my dogs have been immensely helpful in getting me outside and walking every day. My husband and I have been lucky to be allowed to work from home during the lockdown. We have adapted well, and are grateful to have had the opportunity to stay safe and healthy.

Pets are doing good. We sadly lost Max, our 14.5-year-old mixed-breed dog. He had been with us since he was a pup. He was the best, and we are happy knowing we rescued him and gave him the best and longest life possible. With the hole in our hearts and house, we ended up rescuing another pup in need and are completely in love. We named him Gus. He is now 13 weeks old, keeping us busy, and we know Max would be happy knowing he is fitting into the pack.”