Mittens--A Musical Medical Cat
by Larry Greenstein
(Minneapolis, Minnesota USA)
Mittens--Guitar Player and Cancer Detector
First off, let me say this is a totally true story. Our cat plays the guitar and detects cancer. Every night, I play the guitar in my easy chair.
Mittens our seven year old female tortoise shell cat, usually joins me. She sits on the arm of the chair close to the guitar's neck while I play.
One night a few years back, Mittens placed her paw close to the high E string and plucked a note on the guitar. Our family all laughed and thought it was a fluke.
Little did we know this would become a hobby for our girl. She plucks the strings repeatedly each night and sometimes I join her in a song. It has become a hilarious sight in our living room at night.
Guitars and music are important things for our beloved cat, but she did an incredible thing two years back. Mittens, never known for scratching or kneading people's bodies, attacked a specific place on my back one night at about 3:00 a.m.
She's been a regular bed partner with my wife and me since she was a kitten, but this was totally out of character. I got up out of the bed, turned on the light and my wife looked at the damage. She had cut a piece of a mole open on my back and it was bleeding; no other scratches anywhere else.
My wife suggested I go to the doctor the next day and get it checked out. My doctor thought the mole looked suspicious and he sent me to a dermatologist.
Sure enough, Mittens had tried removing a malignant melanoma mole by her sweet self. I had Stage 2B melanoma cancer. The cat had discovered it.
The Oncologists I worked with were impressed by Mittens, but confirmed other motherly (and fatherly) cats (and dogs) have done similar feats with cancers and other diseases. Still, my medical team told me I had a pretty special cat.
I have been cancer free for two years now. I owe a lot to Mittens who came to our family out of a barn in rural Minnesota as a kitten.
We still play guitar each night.
I'm a very lucky cat owner.