Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Name a TFK kitty in honor of Chandler



I knew this day was coming. I was pretty sure when Schindler/Chandler/Albert was returned to the shelter after being adopted by a family with other pets and small kids that he was never getting out. I learned yesterday that, sadly, I was right.

This poor boy had so much going against him, but despite all of that he had a personality larger than life. I took one look at him last year and fell head over heals for him. He was sitting in a cage with a bum leg and a huge notice of diabetes, and I knew immediately I had to bring him home if only for a short time.


I could not adopt him. I know my house limits and my first responsibility is to the cats that I have vowed to take care of. I considered it anyway, I tried bargaining with Jack, but he said that unless I could spend even more time with him it wasn't going to work out and short of quitting my job that wasn't going to happen. Yes, I have adopted some of the world's neediest cats.. and I love them beyond measure.

I brought him home with Abby - another diabetic cat who was also surrendered because of her condition - and he proceeded to pee on several items around the room, including the door... and still I loved him. I know he was just 'moving in' and trying to make himself feel at home. He only did it that first day; I might have felt a bit differently if he had kept it up.


He took to Abby like he was an old man sitting on a bench feeding the ducks and she happened to stop by. She was so fearful and I know he was a good influence on her.

I matted up some fur I combed off Chandler 
He loved being brushed, and he needed it. Diabetic cats who aren't well regulated often have poor coat conditions. His leg healed from apparently being shot with buck shot, something I only learned about a year later when he came back and they took some x-rays of him, but he continued to limp. His coat started to molt, especially around that leg and it was assumed that he was developing arthritis making it harder for him to take care of himself, so I would make a point to go in when I could and brush him. I pointed out the gobs of fur I got off him to the staff and they made it a point to ask volunteers to comb him as well which helped him. There were times that I would stop by and see him but he was 'busy' with some of his fans.. there were often people patting him and cuddling him.

Despite the attention he was still living in a cage. I did my best to give him time out of it, but I couldn't get in there as often as I would like. Others fell in love with him and did the same. Despite the attention he still seemed to be in decline. I mentioned it to the staff and he went for a check up. At one of those check ups it was determined he needed some digestive enzymes..

When that happened, I pretty much knew. He was diabetic which is a huge hurdle for anyone to get over. He needed supplementation for arthritis, and now digestive enzymes.. but his personality.. oh his personality.. he won so many people over.. everyone who met him loved him.. sadly none of us had a spot in our home for a boy with so many needs.. There was one woman who was a nursing student.. she would have been perfect for him, but she went to school in a different state and she felt there was too much travel to safely adopt him, never being sure where she was going to be when his insulin dose would come due..

Still I loved him, and still I hoped..

trying to catch the butterfly wing shape on his back
If only love were enough.

When I stopped in last Friday I was told that he had a seizure. The thought that it was time was bantered about, and my head agreed that it was most likely time (not that it was my decision) but my heart ached. I went and spent time with him. I held him, I kissed him. I gave him treats he shouldn't have had because of his diabetes but that he loved. I had hoped to be able to take him home for a few days once the decision had been made, and had made that known in the past, but apparently he went down hill so quickly that they decided it was best to just let him go on Monday.

I know that it is for the best, but that doesn't mean my heart doesn't ache. I wish I could have brought him home to sleep in my bed and fed him some real live dead chicken and let him gobble up those treats he loved so much before saying goodbye..

I wish I had known his full life story. I wish the people who let him go would know how his life ended, although I'm not sure they will care. I wish I had been there for him in the end..

But he was loved, his life and his spirit celebrated. There will be tears shed for his parting.

Dude.. I loved you.

The last photo of him
Some might say that no one cared enough to save him, and I think that is a mean horrid thing to say.. there were a number of people who cared so much it hurt, but there was nothing they could do.. there are just too many homeless pets, and pets surrendered later in life for medical issues are so far behind the eight ball that they seriously don't stand a chance. Statically an animal surrendered into the shelter system in the US has a 50/50 chance of getting out... anything that tips the scale, even a little, makes that statistic even more dreadful.

I have been trying to come up with a way to raise money for myself and some upcoming vet bills recently and asked my Facebook friends if they might be interested in naming a kitten for $20. There was much interest, but I wasn't sure if that might seem to be too much of a money grab. Well I've decided to do it and donate to the DCIN fund. The DCIN helps owners of diabetic cats with funds so they can keep their cats. Owners are far too often overwhelmed not only with the idea of diabetes, but the financial burden that comes with it. DCIN (Diabetic Cats in Need) can help with those costs. Right now they have a challenge going on for anyone who signs up for a monthly pledge for a year, it will be matched fifty cents on the dollar, so any contribution made will be increased.

It was suggested that maybe I should have an auction for the naming rights, but I'm going to go with the first six pledges (mom needs a name too). The minimum is $20 - but I'm not going to stop you if you want to send more *smile* - and once the total is in I will set up a monthly pledge with DCIN.

To name a kitten, send a gift via Paypal to Connie @ kittyblog.net. In the comments please note the name and the specific kitten if you care. I will attempt to be fair and do first come first served, but I fear everyone is going to want to name our winged boy and no one is going to want to name the mom, so if you could provide a second choice, I would appreciate it. If you don't care, please let me know that, so I can send you the photo of the kitty in need of a name and then you can pick. My only requests is that the name be family friendly and that it isn't impossible to spell/pronounce. If you don't have paypal, email me we can work something out.
I have often said, and I will continue to say, that diabetes is a disease I would never wish on any cat, but if you receive that diagnosis I want you to know two things. First, the learning curve is steep, but it is short! If you jump in with both feet you will be amazed at how quickly you realize that it wasn't nearly as daunting as you thought it was. Second, you will probably never have a closer bond with a cat. Caring for Em was something I will always treasure. I'll probably never convince anyone to go out and adopt a diabetic cat, but that will never stop me from trying... The need is so great.

So hopefully with this tribute to Chandler, we can prevent another kitty from being given up.

35 comments:

  1. we are so very sorry and heartbroken. despite whomever gave him up, he touched a lot of people and hopefully made an impact. while we wish he had found that special home of his own, we KNOW he was loved not only by you but by the staff and volunteers at the shelter.

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  2. Godspeed kitteh, with respect,

    Nuk & family

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  3. Anonymous4:54 PM

    I read your blog often and have never commented, but my heart has been touched every time you've written about Abby and Chandler. I had a sweet orange tabby who developed diabetes at age 8. And yes the learning curve was steep, and yes, it was an expensive condition to treat - especially since I live on very limited means. But I loved my boy and for 7 more years we bonded every more deeply. He was a trooper and would come when I called him for his twice daily shot. When I first received his diagnosis, my vet informed me that many people choose to euthanize rather than treat. This makes me so very sad. The beginning was tough, but once I got him regulated, he was the same as any other cat - happy and healthy. He seemed to understand that I was helping him. The love he gave me in return was worth more than any cost in dollars. I would not have given up those years with him for anything. I do hope that you writing about diabetes will convince someone to adopt a diabetic cat. I would do so again in an instant. I've lived with many cats, but he will probably always be my best cat - the one dearest to me - and I believe it was his very condition that made it so. I'm very glad that Chandler had you in his life.

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    1. Your story could have been mine with my Em.. She was diagnosed at 9 and lived until she was 16.. and I was destroyed at the idea of putting her down at 9, even though I was overwhelmed at the idea of giving insulin. I was so fortunate that she was diabetic back in the day of cheap insulins..

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  4. This is a beautiful tribute. And I know just what you mean. I had the honor of taking home just one cat from the shelter in which I volunteer, but my heart aches for all of the kitties I see waiting for that victory ride home, week after week. They are loved in the shelter, of course, but nothing beats a *real* home.

    Here's hoping your fundraiser will be a success. Such a clever idea, it sure should catch on!

    Jean from Welcome to the Menagerie

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  5. What a sad story and touching post. I've also adopted two cats from my local shelter and when I see all the cats there, I'd like to make their previous owners face their cat's destiny.

    I'm glad that he was loved and that he got attention. This was surely very important to him.

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  6. Chandler looks like a cross between my Gracie and Mr Jinx.
    What an incredible story of love by many. There ARE just too many of them. There aren't enough homes. There are no good answers. But your words were powerful and your love was strong. In so many ways Chandler was lucky.

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  7. Oh lordy we have the sads. You just can't save everybody. At the same token, you cannot take in everybody. It's just sad all around. Hugs. Keep loving them.

    Emma and Buster

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  8. Anonymous7:02 PM

    I foster and all too well understand the desire to take in more cats balanced against love and time and space consideration for our permanent kitties. Tough balance, but your group did the best it could. May God honor your lovng hearts. Gail

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  9. I'm totally heartbroken for you. You found Chandler the best situation possible for him, and he had lots of love from a lot of admirers. It's not the same as having had another home, but he was loved and cared for. My diabetic, Louie, was never really regulated as well as I think he should have been. I admire what you do with diabetic cats in part because of how I let Louie down. You didn't let Chandler down, even if you couldn't keep him in your home.

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    1. You did not let Louie down. You loved him and you treated him. You did not euthanize him because he was diagnosed, and you did not abandon him at a shelter. So what if you didn't 'get it right' you tried, and that is freakin awesome!

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  10. You are very strong. Since our TNR rescue no longer lets us foster (last crop of kittens we fostered from them, they made us wait 4 weeks to spay/neuter so we said that we can't foster any more kittens without getting a firm appt so they're adoptable at 8 weeks. The owner said that's too many conditions. We already get laughed at because we insist they get a capstar before they enter our home and we won't take any with ringworm ever ever again.) I thought about fostering for the shelter but I just can't. If they don't get adopted they get put down and I just can't.
    We told our vet that if they need a foster for kittens, we're always open but I think we've been shut out of kitten fostering entirely. There's no other groups around here.

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    1. I feel for you... although I do think eight weeks is a little young to be adopted. There is an organization near me I would have loved to have worked with, but they don't have a shelter and once you take in a foster you are responsible for taking it to adoption events.. I don't think I could have done that, so I didn't even try.

      I'm sorry to hear your shelter might put down fostered kittens.. what an absolute shame.

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  11. He knew love even for a short time. At least in the shelter Chandler was cared for and loved - on the streets and on his own his life would have been horrible and short. We can only do what we can do. Wishing you success with this challenge/donation. A great cause - I know first hand how expensive and challenging a diabetic cat can be but would do it over for Georgie in a heartbeat. Fly free Chandler and keeping you all in my thoughts.

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  12. We are so sorry to hear about Chandler. Purrs....

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  13. We is furry sorry to hear about Chandler. We knows his life was short, but there was sweetness in the love he knew in the care he received. Run free Chandler.

    Sasha, Sami, & Saku

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  14. I'm so sorry, Connie. He knew love and was cherished. Was it all that you wished for him? No, but considering the fate of so many others who don't even get a day, I'm glad he had a chance. And because of you he will be known by all of us and because of your sharing his story maybe another diabetic kitty will get a home.

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    1. I do take a great deal of comfort in that.. and it is my greatest wish that I can help convince someone to bring one home.

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  15. I'm so sorry about Chandler. It's so sad that he couldn't come home with you, at least for a day or two, and sadder still that he didn't have a home at the end. Sometimes I hate that life isn't perfect and fate isn't there for absolutely every kitty.

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  16. I have such admiration and am so indebted to wonderful souls like you who foster kitties and care for ones with special needs like Chandler. Some of my own babies have had special needs, including chronic illness and you are so right about the bond you develop with them. I tried to foster once and am happy to admit failed with my boy of 13 years who has brought pure joy to my life. I wish I could foster yet I do not feel strong enough to do this work that I feel is done by saints. Chandler's last months in life may not have been in a traditional home, but it was more of a home than the one the people who dumped him at the shelter gave him: one of love, devotion, care, and where people felt he had worth and deserved the best life. Thank you for all of these things you gave him, for the time of respite from the shelter that you gifted, and now for carrying on a legacy in his memory to help other cats like him. Chandler's life had worth and the best thing was that he knew there were many who knew and thought so. He knew he wasn't a nuisance, chore, one more expense to those he was with and who loved him at the end of his life, that is everything. Fly free sweet mancat, your wings are now more than just a pattern in your fur, they are magical and will carry an important message that will help save countless kitties. ๐Ÿ’™๐ŸŒˆ๐Ÿ˜ฝ๐Ÿ’—

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  17. Love you always, Chandler. This world just isn't enough for kitties like you.

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  18. Geetu2:27 PM

    Such a moving tribute. Thank you for sharing Chandler with us.
    Even if his life was short, it was filled with love.
    I'm grateful I have an office with a door I can close as I sit here weeping.

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  19. I am so sorry about Chandler. That sounds like an amazing group that helps people care for diabetic cats.

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  20. A naming contest is a great way to get funds for a good cause. It is so hard to lose pets. My hamster is 20 months old now, so a middle-age, if not elderly, girl. :(

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  21. A naming contest is a great way to get funds for a good cause. It is so hard to lose pets. My hamster is 20 months old now, so a middle-age, if not elderly, girl. :(

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  22. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  23. A naming contest is a great way to get funds for a good cause. It is so hard to lose pets. My hamster is 20 months old now, so a middle-age, if not elderly, girl. :(

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  24. Poor Chandler. I'm so sorry that this happened. The world is such a cruel place. I think your tribute is a great idea. Hopefully you will raise a lot of money and get to help a lot of kitties.

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  25. Oh, I am so sorry. :(

    I know the naming is closed, but can we still donate? DCIN sounds wonderful and I'd love to help

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  26. Anonymous4:55 PM

    I'm sure you will remove my post because I am not singing your praises. I do not know you or your work but I do know the family who adopted Chandler and had to return him. Your blog has not been fair to them. They tried to do their best in a tough situation. Are you brave enough to leave this post?

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    1. brave? really? It sounds like you trying to start something, but I seriously hope you are brave enough to come back and read this and hopefully understand.

      Look, we have different perspective on what 'doing their best' is, and that is okay. While I wish they had 'done more' I am not stupid enough to expect the world to live by my expectations; I am glad they returned him, because I have seen some of the worst of humanity and know there were other options that were much more unkind.

      Returning a cat to the shelter that you can no longer handle is one of the better choices.

      Do I dislike that they returned him, of course I do! I am sure they disliked returning him as well. Do I know they adopted him KNOWING he was an older cat with diabetes and a bad leg, yes. Do I know all of the facts, no, and I know that too. I ached to adopt him but I couldn't because I know the limitations of my feline population.

      I have done my best not to vilify the family that took him or even focus on them. It is so easy to say any number of things, to stir up controversy for 'ratings', but I haven't because they received huge karma points in my book for taking him on in the first place. Unlike Abby, Chandler got out. He knew family life for a while longer. I am happy for that. The simple fact that he was adopted and returned is part of his story... and it is a story I am sharing to hopefully shine a light on the issues that diabetic cats face.

      But I know what happened to him after they returned him. I know what other health issues he faced and I watched him decline in that shelter. I had to share his story HOPING against hope that someone else would take him. I also have watched other diabetic cats being surrendered because their owners could not or would not treat their pets. Sadly, all too often, their fate is the same as this kitty and THAT was my focus in talking about THIS one cat. My intention was to highlight the plight of hundreds of diabetic cats, who through no fault of their own, are surrendered to shelters and die there despite how adorable they are or how loving they are. My intention was to spread the word and HOPEFULLY convert just one person into considering adopting a diabetic when they are ready to add another cat to their home, or keep their kitty once a diagnosis has been made.

      I do not want you to sing my praises, I don't want anyone to. That isn't who I am. Sing the praises of this kitty. Give kudos to his adopted family that they tried..

      But I am never going to apologize for wishing for better for the cats..

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    2. I don't think there was anything unfair about what was said about this family. Merely they returned him....for whatever reason. But having been in rescue, it is hard to know that a family takes a special needs cat and returns them....or any cat for that matter. But you know what - this isn't about them....this is about a special boy being remembered and honored.

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  27. If you don't know Connie, either first hand or by the work that she documents in great detail here, I think it's a little unfair to challenge her in this respect. If there's one thing I'd tell you about Connie is that she is tougher on herself than she is on anyone else. The only thing she does is love these cats and do everything humanly possible to give them a chance that they would never have otherwise.

    Not a single person is here with pitchforks aiming for the family that couldn't keep him. It IS a shame that the circumstances prevented it... for whatever reason. That doesn't mean she's shaming this family. I read her comments and feel her anguish at not being able to keep him herself. It doesn't bring shame to Connie either. It's a sadness that we rescuers have that they can't all be saved... and we do know they cannot all be saved.

    None of us rescue, foster, or blog about it in order to have our praises sung. Believe me, more of us walk away from it than keep it up... in large measure because of strangers who don't understand what we do, many of whom are less than kind in their responses. If we have human moments of frustration or emotions, it should be as understandable as what we do is truly life or death in some cases. I haven't seen unfairness or attack, but if you truly feel that way you might get farther with questions or honest discussion rather than challenging her anonymously.

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  28. Anonymous1:11 PM

    You did throw little snide remarks in your post as in thinking that they probably did not care and they cared deeply. My name is Bonnie Rollins. I made the post I did because another poster who also did not like what she said was deleted yet anyone giving her cudos was left. That is only my opinion and I am entitled to that. Your post: I wish the people who let him go would know how his life ended, although I'm not sure they will care. My post is made by anonymous because that was the easiest choice available.

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    1. Hello Bonnie. Nice to meet you.

      The only comments ever removed from my blog, by me, are ones that are spam, so I have no idea what you are referring to.

      You may have well considered what I said snide, and I might even concede that anyone outside of rescue might see it that way, but I was not. I was being truthful and stating my opinion because of past experience with the human race and their ability to surrender their animals and barely give it a second thought. If you believe that one of his previous two owners cares, then I'm glad..

      It is too bad you weren't around for the joy and the celebration when he was adopted.

      Yes, you were sharing your opinion, and yes, that is what comments are for, and that is why I don't delete them, and why I am bothering to respond. Without open exchange we will never learn from one another. I hope you are interested to understand why I wondered that. I truly hope you are open to understanding what life is like for someone who rescues the unwanted and how much pain is involved in that. I cried for two full days that he died, one of which was my birthday - and I don't mean I got teary a bit when I thought of it (because I still do that) but full blow ugly cries that hurt.

      It is the knowledge that there are others out there who sob for their pets when they are gone that allows me to continue rescuing and being the advocate for the animal. So many people give up their animals and go on with their lives in complete denial about what happened to them or don't care at all. Please remember I'm human and because I do this day in and day out and have done for the past 13 years. I was hoping, beyond hope, that there might have been a third home for him. Most of the people who read my blog can not imagine any situation where they would give up their pet, and I am sure they too wondered if the previous owners cared.

      and this was never about me. ever. and it was not about them, or you. This is about Chandler. It was about other diabetic cats who are suffering because their owners won't treat them. This was about honoring him and hopefully raising a little money to help people, who are willing to reach out and ask for help, keep their diabetic cats.

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