Auckland woman raises funds for rescue cat’s penis surgery


Paul’s devoted owner needs help. Photo / Provided

An Auckland woman’s vital quest to return her beloved cat’s penis has broken the bank, but she says life wouldn’t be the same without her feline companion.

Lisa McLea was forced to seek emergency treatment for her rescue cat Paul after a rare illness saw him rushed into surgery over Christmas, but she says she had no choice but to act to save the ‘absolute threat’ that stole his heart seven years ago.

McLea told the Herald that Paul came into her life when she responded to reports that a kitten had been thrown from a car on a rural road in Northland.

She went to the scene and found little Paul covered in fleas and scabs and with half his tail cut off.

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Paul shortly after Lisa McLea rescued him from a Northland roadside.  Photo / Provided
Paul shortly after Lisa McLea rescued him from a Northland roadside. Photo / Provided

“I pulled over and sat in the ditch for half an hour coaxing him until he was crawling on my lap.”

With time, and McLea’s love and care, Paul recovered from her injuries and quickly settled into her home.

She says the cat is an ‘absolute threat’ and is always pulling things off shelves and shredding paper as fast as the printer can spit it out – but she loves it to pieces.

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Paul is described as a "absolute threat".  Photo / Provided
Paul is described as an “absolute threat”. Photo / Provided

“He’s also super affectionate and cuddly and sleeps on me every night and constantly wants to hang out with everyone,” she added.

But life hasn’t been easy since he was rescued, with lingering health issues leading to repeated visits to the vet that cost McLea thousands of dollars.

Paul has urinary problems and the vets found he didn’t seem to have a penis, just a hole where it should be.

“He’s been a real fascination for vets,” McLea said, “and everyone wants to see his weird bits every time I take him.”

Paul relaxing, no penis.  Photo / Provided
Paul relaxing, no penis. Photo / Provided

On December 22, he had another flare-up and McLea took him to the vet. After first trying medication, they decided he needed a catheter inserted to relieve his bladder, as a blockage can be quickly fatal for cats.

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But Paul’s apparent lack of a penis meant a transfer to the Albany Animal Reference Center, where a specialist surgeon broke the news.

Paul has a penis – but it’s hidden under the skin and he would need preputial reconstruction surgery to remove the skin and restore normal function.

This meant he would spend Christmas away from McLea and on the 29th he had surgery.

This all cost over $10,000.

Poor Paul.  Photo / Provided
Poor Paul. Photo / Provided

The eccentric cat needed emergency surgery.  Photo / Provided
The eccentric cat needed emergency surgery. Photo / Provided

Complications after the surgery have now left Paul in need of another urgent surgery to widen his urethra – which could add at least another $6,000 to McLea’s bill.

McLea says she realizes it’s an “insane” amount of money to spend on a cat and admits she can’t afford it on her own.

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A Givealittle appeal has gone out for Paul, and McLea says that while she incredibly appreciates the donations that have already poured in, she and Paul need a little more support to help with his plumbing issues.

“He has such a great personality and is so sweet and loving and I love him so much,” she told the Herald.

“My life wouldn’t be the same without this threat and I can’t wait for him to be healthy enough to come home.”