I put Chester's story onto Reddit yesterday for Chester's Adoption Day. It immediately blew up and hit the front page. Today, the Huffington Post contacted us to see if they could run a story. Here you go! You are all now famous :)!
One year ago yesterday, Gyan and I started our search for the perfect cat. He wanted a playful cat with killer instincts who was either a tabby or had a tuxedo and socks. I wanted a boy who would cuddle with me. And if it was a tabby, I wanted an orange tabby. We both wanted a cat that would be low maintenance and would be ok spending time at home alone. (Whoops on that last part)
The first place we stopped, the Vancouver SPCA, contained the first cat we saw that day. And the last cat we would need to see. There was an orange tabby with a white chest and socks. Some other people were holding him, so we walked around the room looking at others. When "Cheetoh" became free, we sauntered over and sat in front of his cage. He hid behind a box for a little while, then I reached in to pet him. INSTANTLY after being pet he was on my lap. We were done. That was it. We filled out paper work, and then continued on our planned course of shelters to visit...just to be fair.
I think we spent a combined 10 minutes in the 5 other shelters. No one else could compare. We were after Cheetoh. The only thing standing in our way was my landlord's written permission to have a cat. I don't know if you've figured this out about me yet, but when I want something, I'm either going to get it, or you're going to wish that you just gave it to me. About three emails, two calls to him, one call to the SPCA, and 12 hours later, Cheetoh was ours.
While we stood at the register waiting for him, someone else called trying to adopt Cheetoh. I'm sure there were many others. I wasn't about to wait around letting someone else take my perfect cat. A year ago today, Cheetoh became Chester, was placed in a carrier, and all three of our lives would never be the same.
You know the basic story that follows. Except for how quickly we were enraptured by him. Maybe a day after we adopted him, Gyan and I had already agreed that we had to stay together for the rest of Chester's life, cause neither of us were giving up custody. (Little did we know that Chester and his struggles would be a catalyst to making us closer than ever.) Had we found out about his condition only days after adopting him, I don't know that our plan of action would have been any different. He was ours to stay from the moment we saw him.
Now, January 30, 2013, Chester has a new diaphragm, healthy lungs and heart, two less toes, two extremely devoted parents, 2 extra kilograms of weight, and all the energy and killing instinct that a kitten should posses. There were plenty of times that I didn't know if we would, but we made it!. He fought through 3(?) years of who knows what kind of suffering and one year of well documented suffering, and has officially made it to the easy life.
Happy Adoption Day (Since we will never know your birthday), my baby, I can't think of anyone who deserves this more. Thank you for everything you've been to us this year, and plan on celebrating this for many many years to come.
PS. We could never have come this far without so many people. The surgeons, the students, the vet techs, the donor cat who gave Chester blood transfusions, our families and friends, and of course all of you. We will never forget that and we will never stop being grateful.
Everyone had experienced great loss. Everyone has had to say goodbye too soon to a loved one. In part, that's what makes the success and survival stories so magnificent. The rare knowledge that it can happen, that the seemingly impossible comes true, is what keeps hope alive.
I believe that's why Chester's story so strongly affects everyone who hears it. He beat every obstical, made it past every dark day, shone bright in the midst of doubt and despair. He creates hope in all of us.
He also shows us that in the darkest times, with the greatest of losses, there is still something to fight for, something to keep us going day after day.
It's also probably why it is so hard to not spoil our pets in the grandest manor. They deserve it, don't they? They're little fluffy balls of mischievous miracles, telling us that everything will be fine in the end.
Chester is no exception. There is no limit to his spoils, but there also doesn't seem to be any limit to his love and his inspiration.
He has toys upon toys, two handmade forts,and love from every direction on the globe. If there was a ranking of the top spoiled cats on the planet, he would definitely break into the top tier. But, he deserves it, right? They all do.
He visited the vet for the first time since the foot debocle, and no one could recognize him. Not even me. He spent the whole time roaming around the room, cuddling with me, sleeping lazily in the chair, completely self assured and unthreatened. He has never seen anything in those rooms but the underside of their chairs before. I was dumbfounded. No one could believe who he was when they read his chart. There were so many "ooohhhhhhh!!! He's THAT cat!" (He's still plenty famous.) he's still doing just fine, we're just trying to find out the best possible care for his high maintenance digestive system. Anytime anything slightly weird pops up, I of course freak out and assume the worst. But there is no longer any problems and all he needs is special food to keep his bladder and intestines healthy. We're just trying to get the right mixture. Everything else is in top shape, and the food issue is just me being obsessive an trying to keep him alive for 30 more years.
Happiest of happy new year from the three of us! Here's to 2013 being far superior to 2012! So far, the sun has shown the whole year, and Chester is healthy and happy as ever.
Our Christmas tree turned out to be a non issue because Chester despises the thing. He will barely go near it to this day.
The last of his 2012 was filled with a new friend/not really friend. Franklin came to visit for a couple weeks while his momma was back home for the holidays. These two spent the first two days on eggshells with Franklin hissing his face off. (I have still yet to ever hear Chester hiss at anyone or anything) And the rest of the time they acted like step brothers. They tolerated each other, and would play, but there was definitely some hostility behind it. Since they are both Beta males at best, they spent the whole time doing what can best be described as "out beta-ing each other". Chester stopped cuddling with us and sleeping on the bed until the last night that Frank was there to punish us for bringing another into the house and taking away his sole attention.
We also learned that he is a bit of a bully. Fights were 80% of the time started by him pouncing and tackling Frank. Frank was just too old and grumpy to deal with the large tank of a kitten we have. We also had to feed Frank up on the fridge because Chester was stealing all of it off the floor and Franklin was too afraid to eat unless he was completely safe. Chester won't jump on counters so it worked out nicely. Franklin won't not jump on counters. Frank also taught Chester to jump on the dining room table and eat all of our succulent plants. They were basically just bad influences on each other the whole time. With a couple cute moments in between.
Chester got a new Santa outfit for Christmas, which he surprisingly LOVES. It was meant for his dog cousin but was way too small, so it got passed down to our slightly obese Cheese. Fits perfectly.
They each got their own ornament filled with treats and catnip to rip into. Franklin ripped into his in a couple minutes. Two hours later this was still Chester
And basically, this is how we've all been celebrating the new year
Hope your holidays were filled with merriment and relaxation! And we hope your 2013 year is the best yet!