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The worst iPhone picture ever, but Chester decided to sleep right in the middle of us while we were watching a movie. He also laid perpendicular on top of us before that. Someone loves us again
Chester's had quite a relaxing week filled with tons of love from every direction. He got a visit from his first non-UBC benefactor on Wednesday. He was a giant jerk face the whole time and refused to come out from under the bed or let anyone touch him. He acted like we were trying to chop his other toes off, even after receiving generous toys, treats, and royal king food bowls. Afterwards, he was all cuddles. Hopefully he will get better with new people coming to meet him. 
He loved the toys, by the way, Starr! I've never seen him so playful in the whole time we've had him. Usually, it takes us a whole bunch of effort to get him to even bat at a toy. But lately, he's been playing all by himself and taring around the apartment.
His spirits are definitely up!
His foot is completely healed and callouses are starting to form on his toes. This big middle pad is still pretty tender though. He is holding his foot lower toward the ground, but still not touching it to the floor yet. Unless we bring him out into the hall or he's too preoccupied playing to realize that he should be worried about his foot. So, everything seems to be fine, he's just too big of a wuss to start walking on it all the time. Maybe he just really likes being a 3-legged cat. Who knows.
When he does walk on it normally, he's pretty unbalanced. He falls over a lot naturally, so missing a couple toes will probably take more getting used to than missing a whole foot. He's usually really excited in that time, so that could also play a factor. I am fully confident he can handle it eventually though.
His whiskers and hair are all growing back. So are his toe claws that fell off. He's also back to a great weight level. You can feel his ribs again and see a bit of shape to him instead of just round. If only I could manage my own weight as well as his. He's getting the SlimCat ball in the mail soon though anyway. Because it just looks like fun.
Let's see, other than that...He's started to mimic his parents a bit. Gyan and I kiss him basically every 6 seconds when he is near (which he HATED at first), and now he's started to kiss me back. He'll peck at my lips or cheek sometimes in between rubbing my face with his. What a cutie. I think it's reserved to just me though. He cuddles with me much more willingly in general than he does with Gyan. I support this.
He's also back to sleeping on my face at night, so I think he's forgiven us for all the months of torment we put him through. I won't lie, that was faster than I expected. Even at his maddest, though, he slept at my feet so I guess his grudge wasn't too strong.
All in all, I'm ecstatic at how he's been this week. I'm convinced that every week he whines more than the one before, but I can't imagine never hearing his whine again. 
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New toy?! Yesssssss! Maybe I'll start being a real cat now.
 
 
It's been a week since any medications or vets or travel boxes. Chester is slowly starting to not hate us again. For awhile he would hate one of us at a time and switch off frequently. Just to keep us on our toes.
He jumped and ran at any sort of movement, but is slowly more ok with us walking. Sometimes he's ok with us moving toward him. Mostly he wants you to sit perfectly still so he can come sit on top of you on his own terms.
He's also decided that all housework is to be done on his own terms. Vacuuming is out of the question. But now when I tried to change my sheets, Chester decided it was his new fort. He jumped and laid on the bare bed so I tucked in two corners, then he moved slightly further away from the sheets, but still on the bare bed. So I put the sheets over him. Hilarity ensued. He definitely almost fell off the bed, but got stuck in the tucked in sheets at one point.
When I wasn't cuddling him sufficiently, he even climbed under the covers and slept there for probably an hour around 5 this morning. Looks like he's now a mole-cat
He's also been shedding like a (insert clean shedding metaphor here). We had a break for a few months because half of his body was shaved and he was cold enough to not lose hair. Now that his hair is half grown in, the rest is falling out. Joys.
But, he seems much less rotund these days, so the diet seems to be helping. It's definitely helping his whining improve. He's a champ at that. His whiskers are growing back too, except the one he broke being too aggressive cuddling with Gyan. 

There's not really too much to say now that life has calmed down. Unless something super exciting happens - Like he starts to actually use his foot - I'll update this once a week. Until then, have a fantastic time in this warm summer sun!
 
 
I'm 95% sure whoever made this commercial knew Chester
 
 
Lets do this in chronological order so we can end on the best possible note.
Saturday I rebandaged Chester by myself and he did SO GOOD. There was one minor upset when he snuck out of the bathroom I had him trapped in and I literally had to drag him out from under the bed, but other than that, SO GOOD. I sat on the floor and put him between my legs to take the bandage off with maybe one tiny struggle (thanks for the tip Becca!) and then let him walk around the bathroom and clean his foot himself. 
Then I flipped him over on my legs again and cleaned and rebandaged and there were maybe 2 minor struggles and one medium struggle. Incase you hadn't gotten the memo, we have the best cat in the world. I couldn't believe how easy it was to do. BUT

WE DON'T HAVE TO BANDAGE HIM AGAIN!


We took him in for his final check up today and it looked so good that he got to come home bandage free! AND we don't have to go back to the vet unless there is something we're concerned about.
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am SO stoked. Chester is less impressed
He doesn't trust us as far as he can throw us. He's been giving Gyan the cold shoulder since he got back. Running away whenever he enters a room, only laying near me, only letting him pet him if he's cornered.
And after the vet, I am also on the blacklist. BUT we don't have to trick him into anything for another year! I mean, we'll have to wash his foot occasionally to prevent infection, but not for much longer either.
We've finally gotten to the end of the road (knock on wood) and we survived together.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Chester says, "Whatever. I still don't trust anything about you. And I miss my toes. And stop calling me fat. Jerks" Oh yeah, and he still gained another .1kg even after I put him on a diet. Time for more drastic measures.
 
 
Chester got to come into the office with me again yesterday. He got to meet one of his benefactors and also get his foot rebandaged with an audience. It looked even better! It was much more clean and the red swollen part was a bit smaller. Still there, though. He got to sit for about an hour without a bandage on, but he didn't even lick at it. I figure that means it can't be bothering him too much. Tomorrow I do it all over again, so we'll see how it looks then.He continues to keep exploring more and more. Last night it was my bathroom. Usually he keeps away from there. He has a giant fit when the shower is on. It's like he thinks that room is killing us. But yesterday he explored all around and this morning he came in a bit too.
He's increasingly untrusting of any move I make. Convinced I'm going to put him in a carrier, or shove meds down his throat or wrap his foot. To be fair, I usually am. It's quite funny though, because you can tell how much he wants to be cuddled and loved, but he is terrified to let you come to him. It has to be on his terms when your guard is down. Hopefully a few months after this stops, he'll trust me to walk into my own bedroom again.
I came across this today too and thought it was cool. Maybe some of you would be interested.
http://www.moderncat.net/2012/07/22/cat-tee-mission-helps-cats-around-the-world/

I'm not home now and probably won't be for a bit so I don't have pictures for you. I'll try to get some sometime this weekend for you.
Have a great weekend at that!


 
 
I don't really have any updates for you. But I wanted to say Happy World Cat Day and leave you with this:http://www.sparklecat.com/Sparklepics3/WorldCatDay080812a.jpg
 
 
Chester knew from the very beginning that today was Vet Day. He suddenly got this look of understanding and terror on his face and ran under the bed and hid there all morning. I eventually had to dig him out after all my usual tricks failed (shaking his food bag, shining the laser pointer around, turning the light off and ignoring him, etc)
His foot looked better still under all the bandages, but unfortunately not better enough to be bandage free yet. She said another week, maybe two. Sad face. This of course means that I have to keep wrapping it, but both Gyan and Steph are in Portland at a conference. I'm not entirely sure how this will go by myself. I'm assuming pretty terribly for everyone. But also somewhat amusingly. He of course refuses to walk on his foot again after doing so well yesterday on it. 
Chester's become pretty insistent on his "nighttime walks" out into the hallway. His newest facination is with all my neighbours' doors. Yesterday he saw something (read: nothing) run under one of their doors and decided to bat at it, making a knocking sound. All I could think was "Well, this will be awkward and hard to explain if he [neighbour man] comes out" Luckily, he never did.
I've been opening the door to the less used stairwell in the building too. Chester will hesitantly enter it and go up or down a couple stairs, then run back to me where I'm holding the door. Maybe I'll get a door stop and take him on a stroll to some higher floors one of these days. I used to train animals at the zoo in undergrad, and developed a firm belief in enrichment. My apartment is tiny and sitting on the couch all day with a bit of cuddling and batting at toys just won't lead to a fulfilling life. Getting to explore new things (safely) is much more of what a cat needs. Plus I figure, Chester must have been terrified for a vast majority of his life. (I'm just assuming living on the streets practically paralyzed is scary) The fact that he's at all willing to explore new scary places should not be discouraged. And, it's everything Gyan and I dream of to be able to have a cat on a harness that you can take for walks. If that somehow comes out of this (and I highly doubt it) then all the better.
Chester's eyebrow whiskers are falling out, and a few of his nose ones too. For a few days, his pads of his paws were really white too. Well, they were white in the mornings, turning increasingly more pink as the day went on. I have no idea what those things are about. The vet chalked it up to strange things popping up after the whole near death experience thing. He's still acting fine.
So fine in fact, that he keeps gaining weight! He's up to 4.9kg The fat little cheese log. He's officially on a diet. It's funny. I spent 6 months trying to make him gain any sort of weight, or even eat. And in 1.5 months he's gained an entire kilogram. It's amazing what repositioning your organs can do for your appetite. We switched him from raw and wet food to kibbles after we found out about the need for the second surgery and how broke we were going to be for the rest of our lives, but there's a bit of money left in his account (yes, he's had his own bank account since we adopted him) from fundraising, so I think it's time to start incorporating better food into his meals again.  It's not like we can even try to pretend that he isn't the most spoiled kitty in the world anyway. Might as well keep it going.


 
 
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Just hanging out in the hall, taking a bath.
Gyan was here for an entire weekend before having to leave again for another conference. But, that means he got to help out with a foot bandaging extravaganza. It went so much more smoothly with him here to help. And his foot is looking at least 10% better in the two days it was bandanged. So tomorrow when the bandages get taken off at the vet, it will hopefully be for the last time.
He still isn't putting weight on the foot, but I think it's more of a mental block than a physical one. If you distract him, he'll use that foot just fine.
I've been thinking a lot about our journey together and how nuts and unexpected it's all been. I think I've decided that if I had to go back, I'd do it all over again. It's so easy to say that now that everything is over and done and Chester's well on his way to healthiness, and I'm so thankful that's the case.
I think it's no surprise that I love Chester more than anything in the world, and I doubt I could love another cat as much as I do him. I also doubt that any would love us as much as he does. I'd still have to say that I would pick him over any others. I'm so thankful we got to adopt him for as much his sake and ours.
Pretty much everyone has told me that he is lucky to have come to us, for not everyone would do what we did to make sure he stayed alive. I guess that's true, but it blows my mind in a way. Yes, it's been expensive, and yes, we've both had to sacrifice things like finishing our theses quickly, tuition, and computers that turn on, and fresh vegetables. But we made a commitment to him when we adopted him. We chose him and promised to look after him for the rest of his life. It's not like we adopted him thinking we'd have him for a few months and then reassess. We wanted a cat and we waited, for years in my case, until we could afford a reasonable life for that cat. We had no idea we'd need quite so much money and we tried to the best of our abilities to make sure he was healthy, but that doesn't change the fact that we took him home with the understanding that we would take care of him as best we could.
Sure, it would have been much better for everyone if the SPCA had bothered to look into all his apparent issues, but if they had found what we had, he wouldn't be alive today. I actually can't picture that world. I can picture a world where people responsible for the well being of animals put animals as their first priority, but that's neither here nor there at this point. The fact is, they screwed up, and we had to pay, but we benefited and are continuing to benefit from it. Plus, we got to meet (if virtually so far) all of you amazing people. It has vastly improved my outlook on the human race to know that you 70 or so people care enough for some random stranger's cat to not only help him survive, but to check up and make sure that he continues to flourish.
I've never been able to comprehend the huge difference in species that so many people feel. To me, a life is a life, but especially an animal is an animal. Most of our friends, when hearing our story simply said "Well, adopt another cat." But if this were to happen to our human child, not a single person would think to say "Well, adopt another baby." I can somewhat see their point from a distance, but that's just not how my brain works. What exactly is it that makes a dog, cat, rabbit, turtle, etc less worthy of every effort to make them survive. Especially one you've committed to. Surprisingly, when I sent this website around, only two strangers suggested putting him down (Or feeing him to a snake as it may be). I was expecting much more negative feedback, but all we received was amazingly supportive feedback. So, my only hope is that if this should happen again, that those animals end up with people like you folks who have so much love and compassion for them. It certainly isn't Chester's fault he was hit by a car and he now has to live with this pain and stress, but it would be my fault if I didn't try to fix it.
As long as his quality of life is high and he is fighting, we're going to be fighting with him. I certainly can't help every pet out there, but when I bring one in, it's with the intention of forever.
 So, thank you for saying that he's lucky and all that implies, but it just makes me so sad that this is the 'lucky' instead of normal situation. 
On that note: Pictures of Chester getting rebandaged while wrapped like a burrito, or swaddled like a baby as the case may be:
And his foot. Just trust me that it looks SO much better
 
 
Rebandaging Chester's foot by myself looked a lot like this:
Picture
him running
And then this
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being wrapped like a burrito
And finally this
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Burrito kitty. With angry ears.
Finally, I asked my friend Steph to come over and help me. So we waited like this
She held him down while I attempted to bandage it. We let him go, he ran away under the bed. When he finally remerged, he was well on his way to shredding it. So i wrapped it in duct tape. All is good now :)
I can't wait til Gyan gets back on Saturday to help with that rebandaging. Being a single parent is hard! 

But, here's a picture of his tiny chicken foot. All cleaned (well, as best I could do) and nail free
 
 
My office mates are all at a conference in Oslo this week, and I haven't been able to get any work done in who knows how long because Chester can't be left alone for long and Gyan is in North Van watching Chester's dog cousins for the week...so...I brought him with me and made him and office cat.
But what happened was more like this
all day.
He got lots of visitors, and had lots of enrichment roaming around a new place and checking out new bad guys. But he needed me by his side every second of the morning. It wasn't until around 3 that I could put him down for a nap and leave the office and do lab work without him turning on my iTunes on full blast and howling along with it. He also managed to show me a bunch of new programs I never knew I had in the 5 years of this computer's existence. What an aid to my productivity he is!
After shoving him off my computer 4 times, he finally zonked out on my stacks of paper and hasn't moved much since. Except to hold me close and make me promise to never leave him.
All in all, I did manage to get one PCR in and lots of emails written, so I just need to multiply that by about 6 to get an actual real days worth of productivity in and we'll be set. The good news is, with all the new exciting things to check out, he barely touched his bandage.
 

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    Chester is a 4ish year old orange tabby with a huge medical bill and an equally huge ability to love. His attitude is no small entity either.
    He goes by the names Chester, Cheetoh, Cheese, Cheeselog, Whiney-pants, and Scarf Cat, among others.

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