Even though this was written in May of 2010 it is amazing how often I think of Ivory, wanted to share her story one more time….
Over the years many cats and kittens have entered the sanctuary. Many are here for such a short time, but many are here are as long as six years. I continue to receive updates on many of the cats and kittens adopted to their forever homes as I hear from their families who have opened their homes and their hearts to the cats they have adopted.
It is usually a sad story when a cat ends up at our sanctuary. It is either it has been abandoned by the family they loved and relied on for their safety or their existence, or they have simply been abandoned by a family who didn't take the responsible to spay their cat and now don't want the responsibility of a mother and her new litter of newborns.
They come to us from families who no longer want the responsibility of a cat litter box, or as often expressed, “they were such a cute kitten but they grew up into this CAT” and “we just don't think it’s cute anymore.”
There are cats who are displaced because of new furniture, moving to a new home, a new husband doesn't like cats, little Susie has new allergies, the new dog doesn't like cats, too much cat hair, scratches the furniture. I think you get the picture.
Some people want to live in a “perfect” world when in reality adopting a cat is accepting the responsibility of a living, breathing animal that definitely has its good points but cats do come with cat hair, bodily functions that need litter boxes, as well as the occasional hair ball and attitude. But for those who have the good fortune to own a cat, they know the rewards a cat gives you far outweigh the litter box and cat hair.
There are more tragic and serious reasons we have received relinquished cats at the sanctuary.
We have a 14-year-old male cat whose owner passed away and there were no family members to take in this sweet old guy. He has been with us two years and has seen many cats and kittens come and go. The volunteers dote on him and he has his special spot on the sofa sitting in the north picture window. We have had many beloved family cats who have been turned in to us because they know we are a no kill shelter and we will care for their pet until they are adopted.
Recently I received Ivory. Her owner was only 54 years old but had terminal cancer. She didn't think she would be here to greet her first new grandchild who was due in the early part of April. Ivory was her faithful companion and she said she needed to have her in a secure place to help give her piece of mind. No one in her family wanted to take on the responsibility of Ivory. Ivory was a huge white snowball cat, with big blue eyes. I received her on one of the last really cold days of winter and somehow she ended up staying in my office where I spend much of my time working on cat records. The husband delivered Ivory to my front door -- we didn't say much, he was very quiet as he handed me Ivory with her favorite blanket, toys and food. He never looked directly to me. He was a very tall man and I know he was having a difficult time. He said simply “Thank you for what you are doing, it means a lot to Jackie and me,” and then drove away. She took over my office chair and we shared the space. She was such a diva I wanted to give her plenty of time to adjust to being without her best friend. As with many cats who are beloved family pets, they actually grieve for their owners. They tend to stop eating, they are lethargic, many times their immune systems go down and they are susceptible to upper respiratory diseases. Ivory was no exception to this and that was the reason Ivory stayed with me. I knew she had been in a loving home and I know how hard it was for her owners to say good-bye. Just last week I noticed Ivory wasn't putting back the weight she had lost in the first few days of being with me. She still purred every time I shoved her over so I could share the office chair, but that day I really looked at her and thought something more serious is going on. Her snow white ears were a mustard yellow on the inside, her gums above her teeth were dark yellow and her once beautiful blue eyes were ringed in yellow. Her kidneys were shutting down. After a tearful conversation with Gloysteins, it was decided her illness were irreversible. I of course will never know if this was by accident or by fate but what I do know is Ivory passed away. I don't know if she willed herself from grief or if it was that Jackie needed her more. All I know is Ivory has crossed the Rainbow Bridge and even though I never personally met Jackie I know that she loved Ivory enough to give her up, knowing she would be given a second chance of a forever home. Who would have ever guessed that her forever home would be waiting at the Rainbow Bridge. That Jackie and Ivory would be united again and what a joyous reunion that must have been.