First off, let me apologize for taking so long to update this. Chester and I were busy moving and resettling, but we are mostly settled now. He likes this new place quite a lot and he is getting so much better about changes and new things and new people. He is much more resilient when scared and can be perfectly happy 10 seconds later.
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His favourite part about this place by far is the big open window with the busy street below for ample people watching. In fact, he people watches so much that he barely notices Gyan or I sometimes. He can't get enough.
When he takes a break though, there are plenty of new smells and things to check out. Not to mention things to play with.
I think he's become a kitten once again with all the stored up energy that he couldn't access for so long. His rambunctiousness is off the charts these days.
He's still mamma's little cuddler though. There's this expression of pure bliss he reserves for times where he can be sandwiched between Gyan and I and loved from all angles.  He has even started to like being held, though I doubt he would admit to it.
He can now jump like a real cat again too! Though this isn't always in my benefit as he tends to come up on the counter when I make dinner to check out what's going on. But he couldn't jump for so long, I have a hard time reprimanding him for it.

Basically, he is now your everyday, ordinary cat who is especially loving and not very picky about food. (So, the best cat ever.) Only he has a few scars and a little back foot with some bald patches. Other than that, you would never guess he had a rough past. 
He's happy as can be now that there is sun and love and food and safety. I think his only issue is that Gyan and I have gotten back to our lives and he no longer has someone watching his every move and catering to his every need 24 hours a day. Now he has to compete with work and socializing and such. As spoiled as he is now, I can see how this would be a big shock to his system considering he was the only thing in our life for two seasons. We're doing our best to make sure he isn't too lonely. No one wants a lonely kitty.
 
Chester just had a huge breakthrough! We haven't taken him "out for a walk" in the hall since we got back because we didn't really need to. He's walking entirely on his foot on the wood floor, and he's been content to just have us back.
Tonight though he was antsy to explore. Gyan isn't here to play with him, and I am just not adequate at playing. Chester sat by the door like he does when he wants to go out, so I took him out. I couldn't find his favourite ball, so I tried a different toy to medium success. Then Chester started sniffing everyone's door and the doors to the stairwells. I've tried to take him in there a few times, and before the whole surgery debacle, he went up a few with me. Since the surgeries, he will barely go into the stairwells at all.
Today though, with a few pets and encouragements, he went up them like a champ. We went up and down, and even checked out the two floors above me. And when someone came out into the hall - a feat which usually has him sprinting for home - he went right up to them curiously. He got a bit scared off at a loud door close, and rand down a couple flights. But when I opened the door to the right floor, he ran up an entire flight of stairs and ran into the hallway, and sat next to his home door. He then got a special not diet approved treat and we snuggled for a few minutes. Now he's lazily sitting on the couch like he's a big deal.
I'm so proud of him. He's come so ridiculously far. Who even knows the kitty he will turn out to be with stability and safety now the norm in his life. I'm so excited! Plus, stairs are probably a great exercise for him to be partaking in these days…
And just because he's adorable. Here's a picture of him taking over my computer with his extra-chunky, extra-fiesty self
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Cheer up cheese-man. Life is not quite as hopeless as it seems.
 
After a long, long time of stressful traveling, Gyan and I are finally reunited with our cheese-monster. All I want to do for the next three weeks is snuggle with him and never leave my couch. Chester is quite insistent on this plan as well. If only life didn't get in the way of our sloth-ing.
Chester had a fun-filled 10 days with his new-found friend, Franklin at our friend's apartment. After a settling-in period, they realized it was better for everyone to become friends. Chester was actually only supposed to spend a couple days at Frank's, but they were having so much fun, he stayed there the whole time instead. Here are some pictures we were provided with...
It was great to hear that while we were away, Chester and Franklin were happily playing and getting along. I'm sure he had a great time with his new friends.
Chester was dropped back off at our place a few hours before we got back and was there to greet us when we returned. He did so by popping out by the door, then running under the bed for a few hours and refusing to come out.
Once he did come out, we realized that this little kitty had gained 3 WHOLE POUNDS! That's an impressive feat for a person in 10 days, but for a 10 pound kitty? I hope he didn't eat all of Franklin's food...or Franklin for that matter. Holy cow.
So, our pudgy little lovebird is SO relieved we are home. He follows me around every step I take and will not rest until he is on my lap or face or in some kind of contact. He has yet to stop purring since we've arrived. Someone missed us.
He also was an oily-matted mess. He's usually VERY conscientious of his appearance and is well groomed at all times. It seems as though he was so upset at us being gone that he gave up on that for the week. At least on his back and sides. Poor boy just let himself go.
I spent 2 hours brushing him and trying to make his coat less greasy, then hours upon hours snuggling him. He is back on a diet, and happily grooming himself while sure to always be next to one of us.
The good news is, that after the mess we went through with airlines both there and back, I am settled on never traveling again (at least for a while) so he doesn't have to be so anxious for a long time to come.
I guess if I ever had doubts that he loved us, they are now quelled. 
 
Sorry for the lack of updates. Gyan and I have been running around like crazy the last couple weeks. Chester is probably the most healthy aspect of our lives actually!
He's doing fantastic. He's walking on his foot almost all the time now! He has developed a new love of forts, has had some play dates with a friend's cat, and is disembowelling ever toy we throw his way. 
He and Gyan are currently busy building a sheet-fort and attacking each other at the moment. He discovered this new obsession while we were trying to hang dry some laundry
We are leaving on Friday for a week and a half to go to yet another wedding in Michigan. So Chester gets to stay with another cat for a part of that. We took him over for a trial play-date yesterday. Chester desperately wanted to be friends, Franklin was less than thrilled about a new encroacher on his territory. Chester would follow Franklin around and sniff him, Franklin would hiss, Chester would back away all hurt and sad. This would repeat a few times until Franklin just left the room entirely. Hopefully they figure out their differences. Chester desperately wants a friend.
For now he has us.
and his good looks
And super cheap locally raised, free range raw food I found at the farmer's market.
And the ability to always get what he wants by whining enough. Or purring enough if it's really tough to crack us.
Life is just so rough for a little tri-and-a-half-pod
 
Hello again! I hope all your lives are going swimmingly. If you're in Vancouver, I hope you are getting to enjoy this lovely week we've been having. If not, I hope the weather is lovely where you are as well.

Chester is doing as great as ever. He's literally been running laps for days. Earning him the new name of Cheeseflash.
(Note the orange bouncy ball given to him by one of his fairy god-mothers.) When he takes a break, though, it's usually blocking some of my airway. Especially if I want to nap too.
All in all, he's leading a pretty happy life. I'm 95% convinced that his refusal to use his foot is solely because of the cold floor. We're working on finding a place with carpet for him. Because we haven't bent over backwards for his comfort enough yet.

Another notable update...Chester has somehow managed to find a way to pee on his right shoulder..multiple times. Neither of his parents can figure out how, and we haven't seen it, but we sure can smell it every few days. So, he may also be a contortionist kitty. Normal.

Just a housekeeping note. I think UBC has deleted my interchange email address. So the best way to reach me is at eshragh@zoology.ubc.ca. BUT I can only email out from that address when I'm on campus. Oh the joys of technology. Sorry if I haven't responded to you or if you received a weird notice from my email. I'm trying to figure out where all my mail actually is....But I do promise that you are all very important to me!
 
Sorry for the lack of posts last week. I assure you that you missed nothing exciting in any of our lives.
Chester's still doing great. His foot has even more hair on it, but I think it will always be patchy for the rest of his life. Gyan thinks that it's cold because he will walk just fine on carpet and things that cover the floor, but is much more inclined to keep it elevated on the wood floor of my apartment. They can't be that much softer, but they could be much warmer. Maybe I'll make him a tiny sock. His toenails are starting to poke through too.
Everyone told me that he would be a totally different kitty when this was all over. I never realized to what extent they would be right.
Not to sound too new aged - but he has a completely different spirit to him now. Before he didn't seem like my cat in any sort of fashion. He was more of this wounded soul who needed to be protected and cared for and cherished. Now he's an entitled, gets what he wants and deserves, playful, stubborn, and feisty cat. I don't know how to describe it better, but I hope you can sort of understand what I mean. He is just now what he probably always should have been. Which is wonderful.
But my constant snuggles and adoration are a thing of the past. Now he swats at my feet all night instead of sleeping on my face. And plays with every toy we long ago gave up on. And snuggles with me when he's hungry or I've been away for too long. I'm not entirely pleased by this, but I know it's the best sign I could ask for. I feel like it's homologous to letting my child grow up and be autonomous. He deserves to be a 3 year old cat finally. I can't imagine how much better he feels, even if I don't get to be his comforter anymore.
Chester has INSISTED that we cuddle the minute I get out of the shower for as long as we've had him. (like this)
However, today he wanted nothing of the sort. He wanted to play instead. I would be in mourning, but when I got home today he cuddled and slobbered all over my face for a good half hour. So I don't think he's ready to cut the cords just yet either. 

Chester has also gotten a new food/toy to play with. He is willing to give it a go, but He's not nearly as impressed as when I lay the food out in an easy to scarf down matter. But it does keep his whining and flailing on me in the mornings down
 
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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.

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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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