From staff reports

The Joplin Museum Complex mascot, Percy Katz, will undergo surgery today to remove cancerous lesions on his left hip, according to museum officials.

Brad Belk, museum director, said Percy's local veterinarian, Steve Walstad, was en route Monday to Overland Park, Kan., where the museum cat is scheduled to see a veterinary specialist and then undergo surgery.

Belk said Percy, who soon will turn 7 years old, previously had growths removed from the same location, but the cancer, a form of sarcoma, has returned.

"It's a very aggressive form of cancer, and it's multiplying," Belk said.

Percy was in the news when he came up missing on Aug. 22, and the museum staff put out a plea to the public to help in the search. The cat was returned two days later in a cat carrier that had been set up near the museum.

Belk said Percy has lived almost his entire life at the museum after he was found one day outside the complex.

Walstad has donated his time and Percy's medication. Belk said Walstad also is paying for Percy's surgery today.

Belk said the museum staff will be waiting to hear about Percy's prognosis.

"Understandably, we're all on pins and needles right now," he said.

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