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My kitten saves a life

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
Last year, our kitty Pounder passed away from cancer.

Pounder in 2002

Pounder during chemotherapy in 2005

He had fought for months, struggling through surgery and chemotherapy. When he became so sick that he could no longer eat, we fed him a liquid diet through a syringe. In the end, he couldn’t even make it to the litter box, so we had to clean him up several times per day. On April 27, 2005, when his body finally began to shut down, Pounder and I both cried as he quietly passed away in my arms. My wife had raised him since he was a little kitten, so she was especially devastated when he passed. He had slept with her every night, and cuddled with her every day. I often felt like she loved him more than she loved me, but that was o.k. I understood. Pounder was her baby, her kid, and he was so personable, so loveable, so full of life and excitement, that you couldn’t help but love him. He would get so excited when he saw his Mom that he would shake his tail like a rattlesnake, and then waddle over (he was chubby) and head-butt her leg until she picked him up and hugged him. I quickly grew to love Pounder like she did.

A few days after Pounder passed away, I told my wife that I wanted to get another cat. She immediately protested and said that she simply couldn’t deal with another kitty passing away like Pounder had. We had seven other cats, so I knew that she would have to deal with it again anyway. She wasn’t ready for another kitty, and she was so devastated that I wondered if she would ever recover. One afternoon in early May 2005, while my wife lay in bed crying (as she had constantly done since Pounder passed away), I snuck out of the house with a list of local animal shelters and started driving. The first couple of shelters I went to were really nice, “no-killâ€, private shelters. These private shelters actually sent their employees to the public city/county shelters every week and rescued as many animals as they could. An employee at one of these private shelters explained that they could only save a fraction of the animals at the public shelters though. He assured me that all of the kitties at the shelter he worked at would be properly cared for and eventually adopted. At that moment, I knew that I had to go rescue a kitten from the public shelter. So, I went to the City Animal Control office.

When I got to the Animal Control office, I found LOTS of dogs and cats – row after row of cages. I also noticed a big furnace behind the building. When I got to the area where the cats were caged, I saw maybe 20 kittens in a long row of cages. I almost immediately noticed a tiny gray kitten with short hair, white “Bugs Bunny†paws, and a white belly. He looked exactly like a baby version of Pounder. The gray/white kitten was in a cage with his brother, who was all gray, and his mother, who was also gray. I decided then that I would adopt the one that looked just like Pounder. This kitten would soon be named “Oliverâ€, after my Dad. As I tried to figure out how I was going to adopt Oliver’s brother and mother, I remembered that a friend of mine had recently mentioned that he wanted a kitten. So, I called him and spent 20 minutes trying to convince him to adopt Oliver’s brother. An hour later, my friend arrived at the shelter and we each adopted a kitten.

When I got home with Oliver, my wife was PISSED … for about two seconds. She immediately fell in love with Oliver though, and we started doing everything we could to make sure he was comfortable and happy. He got all of the best toys, the best food, the best bedding … our house was his. From his first day home, we noticed that he was extremely personable – more than our other kitties. He insisted on playing with all of the kitties, and constantly sleeping and cuddling with them. He was the most outgoing, and fearless, kitten that I had ever seen. In fact, he was so brave that he would start “play fights†with our biggest, meanest kitty “Scrapperâ€. Scrapper was about 15 lbs of pure muscle, and loved to fight. One day, my wife decided that Oliver needed a nickname, because “Oliver†just didn’t sound right; it wasn’t a typical kitty name. So, she came up with the name “Chickenbuttâ€, or just “Chicken†for short. What an ironic name – he was anything BUT a “chickenâ€; he was a fearless cat. Somehow, the name Chickenbutt stuck though. It sounded funny, and there was no good reason for a name like that, but in some twisted way it worked.

Chicken's first day in his new home

Chicken at play

The week after Chickenbutt arrived at our house, I took him to our family veterinarian for his first checkup. Everything was fine … until the doctor listened to his heart. She heard a distinct heart murmur, and was concerned that Chicken might have a congenital heart defect. So, she referred me to a feline internal medicine specialist at a local veterinary specialty clinic. The specialist ran a few tests, checked out the heart with x-rays and ultrasound, and determined that Chicken did in fact have a heart defect. Corrective surgery was theoretically possible, but would be very dangerous and expensive. The doctor’s recommendation was that we just raise Chicken normally and check out his heart again after a year. The doctor said that Chicken could die at any moment, or could live 7-8 years; there was no way to accurately predict what would happen. So, I took Chicken home, and we raised him like any other cat.

Chicken really loved Scrapper

As months passed, Chicken continued to be an incredibly playful, friendly, and loving kitten. You couldn’t help but love him when he would crawl up on your chest, flop down, and start licking your face. He did this constantly. In fact, this was the technique that he utilized to wake me up for work every morning after my alarm went off (and I hit the snooze button). I would pretend that I was still asleep so that he would keep licking my face … until he eventually got tired and fell asleep on my chest. Then I would fall asleep with him on my chest, and I would wake up an hour or so later (late for work of course) when he started licking my face again. He was ready for breakfast, and then a play fight with Scrapper, Little, or Kitty, and then maybe a nap with his Mommy. He would crawl up on her chest too and fall asleep in her arms. My wife would spend an extra hour or two in bed every day because Chicken was cuddled up, fast asleep, beside her in bed. She didn’t want to wake him, and she wanted some quality cuddle time with Chicken.

Chicken and Scrapper

All of our kitties are indoor cats, because they stay healthier, safer, and have a longer life expectancy as indoor cats. I knew that Chicken wanted to go outside though, so I bought a “pet stroller†to take him for walks in. The pet stroller was basically just a large bed with a soft net enclosure. Chicken could easily see everything around him, breathe the fresh air, and be absolutely fascinated by the world that we explored. I took him for walks in the park, to the coffee shop, and through the restaurant and shopping districts. I wanted him to see, smell, and experience as much as possible. He smelled all of the restaurant smells, he drank milk while I drank coffee at the coffee shop, and he even got to the world famous “Plaza Christmas Lights†in Kansas City for his first Christmas.

Chicken loved watermelon

and Chicken loved a good nap after eating watermelon

Chicken, and his seven “brothers and sistersâ€, all had it pretty good. The house was theirs. They got to claw the furniture, sleep on the bed, pee on the stove, poop in the sink … and they still got a feast of albacore tuna every Saturday night. If albacore tuna had provided a well-balanced diet, they would have gotten it every day of the week. They only got it once a week though, and I think I enjoyed giving it to them almost as much as they enjoyed eating it. So, tonight, on New Years Eve, I left my friend’s party early so I could come home and give the kitties their Saturday night treat. When I got home, I ran to turn off the alarm as soon as I walked in the front door. Then, I took my jacket off and walking around the house to greet all of the kitties. That is when I noticed Scrapper sitting in the middle of the living room floor, looking down at the lifeless body of Chicken. Before I even touched him, I knew Chicken was dead. I used the stethoscope that I had bought right after Chicken’s initial diagnosis to check his heart anyway. I checked over and over but couldn’t find a heartbeat. I finally called my wife and told her. She immediately left work and came home. We sat on the living room floor and cried for hours … until all of the warmth had left Chicken’s body. Then, I wrapped Chicken up in a soft sweater and took him to the 24/7/365 animal hospital so they could prepare him for cremation. My wife wasn’t ready for me to take him away, but I reminded her that the other kitties were probably eager to get their tuna dinner. I could hardly drive, because I kept breaking down and sobbing, but I knew I had to take Chicken to the vet.

As I drove home, sobbing uncontrollably, I kept trying to make sense of Chicken’s death. If you have ever experienced the death of a loved one, you know that there are no answers, nothing you can say, or think, or rationalize to help yourself feel better. The death of a loved one is the most traumatic thing I have ever experienced, and I guess only time can heal, because I just recently began to accept and come to terms with Pounder’s death. While thoughts of sadness, possible explanations, God, and hopelessness raced through my head, I suddenly realized that Pounder died for a reason. Pounder saved Chicken’s life. Chicken was saved from an almost certain death at the animal control center only because Pounder had died. Pounder’s legacy is that his final act was to effectively save the life of a helpless kitten. Chicken’s final act will also be to save the life of a helpless kitten. I’m going to the city animal control center on Monday to ensure that Chicken will have a legacy – something to remind us of Chicken and of Pounder. I’ll probably never completely recover from Chicken’s death, and I’ll miss him every day for the rest of my life. The only consolation right now is the thought that Chicken’s final breath saved the life of another kitten.

R.I.P. Chicken
January 15, 2005? - January 1, 2006
post #2 of 23

What an absolutely lovely tribute to your Chicken. I am so very sorry for your loss. I am sure Chicken and Pounder will guide you to a kitten that truly needs you.

RIP Chicken
post #3 of 23
I am sitting here at work with tears rolling down my face after reading this. What a wonderful tribute to both Pounder and Chicken! Somewhere out there is a kitten waiting for you, not even aware of what wonderful things are in store for him when you adopt him!!!

Bless you for adopting shelter kitties. Welcome to TCS!!
post #4 of 23

I have tears in my eyes, i remember very clearly when my loved ones died
post #5 of 23
What a truely Sad yet Wonderful Story My goes out to you and your wife, It's never easy to loose one. May he RIP At Rainbow Bridge and wait to see you both again, You both are in my Thoughts and Prayers
post #6 of 23
Thread Starter 
one of the pic links didn't work above, so i fixed it here:

Chicken really loved Scrapper

btw, all of the thumbnails in my posts can be clicked on to see fullsize pics.
post #7 of 23
I too, like many others, was moved to tears by your story and tribute to Pounder and Chicken . You have a wonderful heart and any feline friend that you own is unbelievably lucky

RIP Chicken and Pounder..

I hope you find another friend tomorrow at the shelter..
post #8 of 23
What a heartwarming and heartbreaking story. You know what they say "things happen for a reason". Losing a loved one is the worst feeling in the world, but helping save a life has to be the best. Pounder and Chicken are with you always, and will guide you to a kitten who really needs you.

Rest in Peace Pounder and Chicken.
post #9 of 23
What a special way to honor your beloved kitties, to save another from certain death. What a very moving story. You really touched my heart with your post about losing Pounder and then Chicken. Best of luck to you tomorrow as you start again, with a new love.

Rest in peace, Pounder and Chicken. I am certain that they are cuddled together over the Rainbow Bridge.
post #10 of 23
Your tribute to Pounder and Chicken (butt) gave me goose bumps (or how I (ironically) call it)... Chicken skin.

I am actually at loss for words.

All I can say is thank you for writing this tribute for them but even more thanks for sharing it with us. It has opened my eyes in a way nothing else could have.


R.I.P Pounder
R.I.P Chicken (butt)
post #11 of 23
What a very touching story, RIP little ones. I like the thought of our beloved furbabes passing over as a way of saving another cats life - I too have had cats that may not have had a chance if I hadn't been able to take them in, I will remember that. Everything crossed for your new adventure.
post #12 of 23
There is nothing I can add to what has already been said by others here.
I was crying for your loss...and also crying for the joy you will recieve when you go and pick up a new baby that otherwise would not have had a life.
Please post pic when you get him or her.
Thank you for sharing the stories of Pounder and Chickenbutt. RIP little kitties.
post #13 of 23
OMG!! What a touching & beautiful story!!

I am so moved by your tribute...unsuccessfully tried choking back the tears throughout your post. God Bless you & your wife for caring so much for Pounder & Chicken.

Also lost for words...truly beautiful!!
post #14 of 23
Thread Starter 
thanks for all of the very kind replies. they really mean alot right now. i'm so glad this site is here, because i needed to share with people like all of ya'll who really understand. as i'm sure you know, Chicken wasn't just "a cat" or "a pet"- Chicken was our baby, and we loved him more than life itself.
post #15 of 23
O dear, you must give us a warning That was the most beautiful tribute I have read in a long time. I felt as if I knew Chicken and Pounder. I know you will find the perfect little angel to add to your family, and carry on the legacy of Pounder and Chicken. I wish I could write a tribute to my babies with such warmth and love. I am soo sorry you lost them both, their spirits are still with you, warming your heart and home.Thank you for sharing this beautiful story.

RIP Chicken and Pounder
post #16 of 23
What an incredible love you have for your kitties, it shines through so clearly in your beautiful tribute to Pounder and Chicken. Although their time with you was cut way too short (it's never long enough, though), it's very clear that their lives were absolutely filled to the brim with love. Play together at the Rainbow Bridge, sweet Pounder and Chicken. You will never be far from home.

With the deepest respect for your great loss, I'll move this to Crossing the Bridge.
post #17 of 23
RIP Sweet Pounder and Chicken. They are now over the bridge with my sweet Lola to keep them company, and many other TCS kitties. They will be waiting for you when it is your turn to cros the bridge

Your tribute was beautiful, btw
post #18 of 23
I'm so sorry to here about Chickenbutt, he sounds like an incredible kitty. I cried my eyes out reading his story, a wonderful tribute.

Funny how we come up with names for a furry friends. My sons reply everytime someone would say "guess what" is "chickenbutt". I had to laugh when I saw what you had named your kitty. My cat "Pretty who passed away Jan 2, 2005 got her name when she got a little older. She was a barn kitty when my grandfather brought her to me. Dirty and bedragled and admittedly not a kitty I would have ever picked myself, but as she got a little older I kept telling her she had turned into such a pretty kitty and therefore, where she got her name.

post #19 of 23
How terribly sad you and your wife must be. This story brought tears to my eyes. I'm very happy you were able to find meaning for both Pounder's and Chicken's lives. Whenever you are your wife are sad remember not to think about the passing of your loved one, but remember all the GREAT times you had together! Both Pounder and Chicken brought alot of happy memories for you both! Thank you for such a heartwarming story and best wishes in your search for a new companion!
post #20 of 23
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Lndscpsam
Whenever you are your wife are sad remember not to think about the passing of your loved one, but remember all the GREAT times you had together! Both Pounder and Chicken brought alot of happy memories for you both!
that is indeed exactly what we keep telling ourselves.

i can't help but go back to the thoughts of how unfair this was for Chicken. he was such a sweet, loving kitty, and he showed us every day how much he loved every minute of his life. he was so enthusiastic about everything ... from eating food, to playing, to welcoming us when we came home. i guess its sometimes true that "only the good die young".
post #21 of 23
I know it was very sad to lose Pounder, but how wonderful you could adopt Chicken so quickly, and what a life he must have had, though short. Hanging around the Plaza - he was a real "uptown" kitty.

I'm sorry Chicken couldn't make it the 7-8 years you'd hoped for - and to lose him right at New Years is especially difficult. (I lost my little friend of almost 15 years between Christmas and New Years.)

Rest in peace, Pounder and Chicken, until you meet your people again.
post #22 of 23
what a beautiful tribute thankyou for sharing their life with us

and I love your thought of Chicken having a legacy... in a way they are all apart of one another. Its a beautiful way to say it

Chicken and Pounder
post #23 of 23
What a beautiful way to remember and memorialize your awesome point of view!
Both Pounder and Chicken look very much like my Jasmine, who I lost just before Christmas. In her day, Jas, like Pounder, was quite the chubby kitty, too ... before illness and age made her quite thin.
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