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Kairo’s Cancer Scare a Lesson about the Sun’s Potential Effects on Pets

Curious Kairo


By Jayn Corral

Screams—not cries but screams—caused the Sociedad Protectora de Animales (SPA) staff to run to see what was happening. There, on the roof, was a street cat we didn’t know screaming for all it was worth.

One of the male staff approached it and gently put it in a bag to take to the clinic for examination. The long-haired white cat, almost double its actual size due to all the burrs and thistles, did not put up any resistance during his exam or when the vet shaved him to get rid of the debris in his fur. Fortunately, he didn’t appear to have any internal injuries, but his ears and nose were another story. They were raw and crusted with scabs and dried blood.  The tips of his ears curled down. Gravely, the vet told us that there exists a type of cancer that starts in the ears and nose.

Squamous cell carcinoma is generally caused by long-term exposure to sunlight, and white cats are most susceptible to it. It is painful and invasive. A biopsy of both the nose and ears was necessary for the newly dubbed “Kairo.” We would not know the results for seven to 10 days. We found it a cruel twist of fate that this beautiful creature had found his way to us and then might not even survive.

But each day, Kairo greeted his visitors by snuggling on their lap and kneading their arms to soak up all the love he could. We feared his days were numbered, and we decided to give him all the time and love we could for the few days he might have with us.

Then, on a Sunday morning, the vet called with the news: unbelievably, the biopsies were negative! We don’t know how many of Kairo’s nine lives he used up beating this cancer scare, but everyone on staff celebrated the news, relieved to know that this loving, brave boy had at least one more chance at life.

And he’s taking the chance back wholeheartedly: Kairo’s fur is growing back, and his ears and nose are healing. The wonderful news is that he has already been adopted!

Kairo’s story is an important reminder to be aware of the damage the sun can do to your animals. Make sure your pets have shade as well as food, water, and love.

You can meet all our available cats and dogs at the SPA, Los Pinos 7, 152 6124, any day, Monday–Saturday, during adoption hours (11am–2pm). Check them out in advance on our website, by looking at the “Adopt Me!” pages.


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