We’d like you to meet Maximus (AKA Maximus Decimus Merkitteus)! This young cat is full of life and love for anyone and everyone, and has never met a stranger. He’s even best friends with his dog brother.

But at not even a year old, Maximus experienced a medical emergency that had his family rushing him to the veterinarian for treatment. The diagnosis: A portosystemic liver shunt. This condition is a defect that causes blood to be diverted around the liver rather than through it for detoxification—and it can be life-threatening.

If you’ve been following us, you may recall that Alley Cat Allies has covered the costs of lifesaving liver shunt surgery for cats, including just last year. We’re so glad to say—thanks to our supporters—we’re doing the same for Maximus in Virginia!

We’re also thrilled to report that the surgery went smoothly and Maximus is recovering well! Everything is looking up and, in the next months, we look forward to Maximus getting the “all clear” on his liver function.

We thank the veterinary team who performed his surgery and Maximus’ family, who have fought for Maximus every step of the way through sheer determination and overwhelming love.

“This little, strong, confident kitty has been through so much and been fighting to live, and we couldn’t let him down,” said Heather, who met and fell in love with Maximus in a serendipitous moment while on a work trip.

All of us at Alley Cat Allies are so happy to do our part as well. We hope Maximus is doing everything he loves right now: purring up a storm, riding on shoulders, rolling in blanket forts, and playing with his jingle ball cat toys!

Here is Heather’s story of Maximus’ journey:

“My boyfriend and I had been looking for a kitten to join our family who would also get along with my senior dog, Toby, who had become very lonely after his brother had passed away. I discovered Maximus while on work travel in Washington state. He climbed into my arms and was purring so loud. I instantly fell in love and he flew back to Virginia with me.”

“Upon arriving back at home, we kept him in a room separate from Toby in the hopes to do a slow introduction. Maximus had other plans and neither he nor Toby would leave the door, sticking their paws under it and communicating through the door. They have been inseparable from the beginning.”

“Maximus is so confident and curious. He’s either playing with his dog brother, or running up to his humans for attention. He always wants to be in the middle of whatever it is you’re doing, when he’s not attacking his brother’s feet and wrestling with him. Maximus just wants to be close to his humans, and will often sit on your shoulders and watch you play on the computer if there isn’t room on your lap. He loves blanket forts, watching the birds outside, chasing anything that moves and playing with his jingle ball cat toys.”

“Things were going great with Maximus until he was due for his vaccinations. He was 12 weeks old and received his vaccinations but, later that night he was acting really strange, drunk-like, and we rushed him to [a veterinary center] in Fairfax. The team there was able to stabilize him and after a few days and many many tests later, they suspected he may have a portosystemic shunt and recommended we see a specialist.”

“A CT scan confirmed he did have a portosystemic shunt. They saw one shut just outside the wall of the liver and recommended surgery. Because Maximus was still so small at this time, they recommended he wait until he was bigger, and the shunt was a little longer. Maximus has been on multiple medications to sustain him until he can grow large enough for surgery.”

“When surgery time came, [the veterinary team was] so thorough and surgery could not have gone better. He has since been recovering well. Maximus’ stitches should come out on April 5th, he’ll remain on his medications until about a month post surgery and a follow up with liver tests in three months, for the official all clear!”

“We cannot thank Alley Cat Allies enough for helping our little Maximus!”

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