Couple Spends More Than $16,000 For Cat’s Kidney Transplant

Andre Gonciar and his wife didn't hesitate to spend their savings on a kidney transplant if it meant making their cat, Oki, healthy again.

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Oki, recovering from his $16,000 kidney transplant. Via CBS News

What would you do to save your pet’s life? One family was willing to shell out thousands from their savings to save their cat.

Andre Gonciar and his wife had set aside several thousand dollars in the hopes that eventually they could use it to put a down payment on a house, CBS News reports. But that was before their cat, Oki, got sick.

When the 12-year-old cat was diagnosed with kidney failure, the couple didn’t hesitate to pull $16,000 from their savings to cover the cost of a transplant. Yes, 16 grand for an operation that doctors estimate could give the cat another three years to live, at best. Is it worth it? To pet owners like the Gonciars, that’s not even a question worth answering.

“Well I would tell [people who ask about the cost] to look at their child or their mother and ask themselves the same question,” Andre told CBS News.

Oki’s kidney transplant was performed at the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary Hospital and that five-figure price tag didn’t include transportation from Buffalo, New York, the cost of hotels or meals, medical tests or follow-up care after the surgery. Andre hopes that the total cost won’t exceed $30,000. But again, how do you put a price on the 12 years the two have had together — ever since Andre found the kitten struggling to survive in a creek in Romania?

"Wait, I'm donating what?" Cherry Garcia, Oki's kidney donor. Via CBS News

“Wait, I’m donating what?” Cherry Garcia, Oki’s kidney donor. Via CBS News

The kidney donor for the surgery was a shelter cat named Cherry Garcia, and the Gonciars have agreed to adopt him, too. Hopefully Cherry will have a long, healthy — and less expensive — life ahead of him.

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