What’s a cat worth? In Rochester, at least $20,000

Sure, they might hack up a hairball on the carpet every now and again, but cats won’t disappoint you the way a human can from time to time.

That might explain why a Rochester woman has spent $20,000 on her cancer-stricken cat.

The Rochester Post Bulletin says Kathy Lee — nicknamed “Miss Kitty” — isn’t a “crazy cat lady” at all.

“Maybe this sounds weird to people, but he’s really like my little three-legged soulmate,” Lee says.”He reads me and I can read him. I’ve never had a connection with an animal like I have with (Elvis).

Elvis was adopted from Safe Haven Pet Rescue in 2009. Two days after she lost another pet to cancer, it was discovered in Elvis.

The “triad of care,” as the team-based approach is called, amputated Elvis’ back right leg while also performing a hemipelvectomy, which resulted in the removal of half of the cat’s pelvis. The initial work cost $14,000, while a later complication cost another $6,000. Lee nursed Elvis back to health by sleeping on the living room floor for a month straight.

Dr. Kraus says that Elvis has had no recurrence and is now “a healthy, happy cat.”

The surgery was so technically challenging, with such a positive end result, that a YouTube video of Lee, Elvis, Dr. Kraus and veterinary surgeon Andrew Jackson was used to open The American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine 2016 Forum hosted June 8-11 in Colorado.

“What impressed me were the lengths Kathy wanted to go to for Elvis,” Dr. Jackson said. “Having clients willing to go the distance for their pets is one of the coolest aspects of my job, because chances are, there are options available today that weren’t in the past. Without medical intervention, (Elvis) may have only had several weeks … to live.”

“They’ve improved my quality of life,” Lee tells the PB. “I had no 2-legged kids of my own so these are my kids. It’s probably cheaper too — no designer jeans, no smart phones, no college.”

Lee gets monthly shots for her own health.

She’s allergic to cats.