Category Archives: Chance

Farewell is Not The End

Tomorrow afternoon, Chance will leave us to head to his forever home. I’ve been told that your first foster always holds a special place in your heart, and that your first goodbye is the hardest one. I have been prepared for this day, but it is still difficult. Fostering Chance has taught me so much; this experience has truly changed me for forever.

Chance came to us a skinny, stinky, frightened, and lost little kitty. That first night, he truly seemed to look up at me with big, questioning eyes as if he wasn’t sure if this was real life. It was easy to fall in love with Chance; he loved my fiancé and me instantaneously.

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If I’m honest, that first week was the easiest week; it left me overly confident and enamored with fostering. I’ve tried very hard to keep this blog super positive because it is meant to show Chance’s best side, but I feel that now is an appropriate time to tell the full story. As his new family may be reading this blog, I want to preface this by saying that I am 100% confident that Chance will move forward now to be an amazing pet; please understand that the difficulties I talk about here were temporary. Chance is a very different cat now than he was when he arrived.

I’ll start by saying this: Chance was not an easy cat for me to foster.

Fostering Chance led to more emotional meltdowns on my part than I care to admit.

Not because he was a bad cat (though, at one point, I lovingly told Chance he was “the worst cat; the Marley and Me of cats,” and it’s pretty well true), but rather it was because he challenged me in difficult ways. First came the yowling… the constant vocalization. A cat’s meow is adorable for about 10 seconds; after a few hours, it’s like listening to someone constantly running their fingernails over a chalkboard. I would’ve given anything to make this cat stop crying, and I tried everything I could think of. I tried ignoring it, I tried distracting him, feeding him, playing with him, introducing him to my own cats, leaving him alone… I tried everything I could possibly think of. I watched a “My Cat From Hell” marathon trying to find some piece of advice I may have missed that might help this cat. I combed cat forums, Bengal forums, advice columns, I Googled the crap outta that question: “Why will this cat not shut up?!?” And finally, we tried medication… and medication helped.

Please understand – I was never angry at Chance for his meowing. I just wanted to understand it…to fix it! And therein lies my first VERY important lesson: working through issues with a cat requires an abundance of patience…and I really struggle with patience.

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And then came the medical scares. It began with an abscess that led to the discovery of a heart murmur and the vet telling me (and I quote) “usually these cats just die suddenly one day without any notice.” I left that appointment and just sobbed the whole way home; I was convinced Chance was going to drop dead sometime in the next few days. I held my breath every morning…waiting to hear him meow to let me know he was still alive before entering his room. My friend Katie, from Of Barks and Bones, really helped me so much during this particular time. She’s been volunteering with rescues a lot longer than I have, and she was just so great about listening to all my thoughts and giving me valuable information (thank you, Katie!).

After talking with Katie, I discussed possibilities with my fiancé – we decided that if Chance’s condition was indeed terminal, we would adopt him. I didn’t want him to die homeless. Fortunately, the first vet’s outlook was completely wrong! Lesson number 2: do not blindly trust your vet.

Dealing with Chance’s medical issues was heartbreaking; this little cat that ran around so fast (and so loudly) at home would go completely silent and hide in my lap at the vet’s office. Probably the appointment that sticks with me most came immediately after Chance’s first adoption (and nearly immediate return).

Chance was adopted (or rather placed in a “foster-to-adopt” situation) on a Saturday; by Monday, he was being returned. I left work to pick him up, and I needed to take him to a vet appointment that same day. I picked Chance up from the house, but we had no time to really greet one another; he’d been with me for about a month before going to this house for the weekend, and this was his first time being separated from me.

At the vet’s office, I finally got to greet Chance again. We sat in the little exam room, and Chance, who usually just hides at the vet’s office, stretched out in my arms and lay his whole body back on my chest…he reached up and pawed at my face and just CLUNG to me. They had to take his blood pressure at that appointment, and he was terrified… They had to restrain him, and the only thing I could do was reach up and stroke his head. It was  heart-wrenching.

Countless vet appointments later, we did find out that Chance’s heart murmur was benign and needed no treatment! That was the best day. That was the highest of the high days (and this journey has been filled with both lows AND highs. It’s important to remember that). The day we found out that Chance was healthy was the day I took all those pictures of him rolling around in a box (See Chance and the Box). It was the lightest I’d felt since bringing Chance home.

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With his medical issues behind us, we could finally bring Chance to adoption events and NOT have to warn people that he may be sick. Ahh yes…adoption events: talk about a roller coaster! I swear, this cat had more adoption applications than probably even I know about. But, my fiance and I learned VERY quickly (ahh, another lesson) not to trust that an application would mean Chance would actually be adopted. We had countless people just disappear on us after applying for him. It was SO frustrating! In the beginning, I would get very excited whenever Chance had a new adoption application; after 2 months, our foster coordinator, Kim, had to pass along applications to other people because I had become a pessimistic skeptic who was struggling to give people a clean slate and fair chance. I was able to let that go by the end, but not without difficulty. I have to say – I thought I knew a lot about people, and it really doesn’t surprise me anymore when I hear about blatant acts of cruelty towards animals. However, until Chance, I never really realized some of the more subtle frustrations when it comes to rescue: specifically, uncooperative people or people who view animals as items for easy purchase and return. But that’s a whole different blog. Back to Chance!

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Once we could stop worrying about Chance’s medical future, we began to focus a lot more on his forever future. We focused much more on dealing with Chance’s behavior at this point. To be honest, most of Chance’s behavioral issues were absolutely normal “young male cat” issues; but, I had forgotten how absolutely obnoxious a young male cat can be! Buzzy was obnoxious when he was younger (actually, he can still be pretty obnoxious), but it’s been a long time since I had to deal with young male antics!

For the most part, I tried to laugh at Chance’s craziness. Remember this picture?

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This picture perfectly embodies “Chance.” He was off the walls. Ha!

We learned to “Chance-proof” the house: put away all edible items…even that package of rolls –  he will eat through the package; hide any plastic utensils – he will eat those too; remove spice rack from wall – he will climb it; remove the nail in the wall that held the spice rack – he will pull it out and maybe eat it; hide pill pocket bag because even though he absolutely refuses to eat them when his pill is inside of them, he will devour the entire bag when you’re not looking!

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It became a routine – Chance was given free reign of the house on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and on weekends (my cats were given free reign of the house on M/W/F). While it was annoying at first, after 3 months of hiding the bowl of bananas, removing decorations from walls, and tucking away any toy that had feathers, I got used to it. I even got used to his counter surfing, which he would do blatantly in front of me despite my repeatedly removing him, clapping, going “ah ah!” loudly, etc.

Chance even began to integrate himself with my own two cats, Buzzy and Luna. We had some struggles there as well – when Chance first came to us, it was like he didn’t speak cat. Cats do most of their communicating with one another using their eyes and body language. Chance meowed at Buzzy and Luna, and he didn’t seem to know how to communicate with his body at all!

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It turns out that Buzzy is actually a very good teacher when it comes to body language. Chance would be obnoxious, and Buzzy would correct him – fairly but firmly. We never had a fight, but Buzzy did have his work cut out for him. I knew it was best to let Buzzy communicate with Chance the way cats do (and only intervene if it became a fight) even though it can look scary at times (hissing, growling, back arching, pouncing). You can tell when cats start actually fighting – fortunately, that never happened.

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As dumb as this might sound, I also communicated with Chance using what limited “cat speak” I knew (i.e., blinking slowly at him to tell him I loved him lol). After about 1.5 months, he began blinking back, and I noticed him blinking more at Buzzy and Luna…and listening more to Buzzy’s body language.

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The changes in Chance have come slowly (well, quickly if you really think about it – but gradually to my eyes since I see him every day). I have slowly begun to see him change and blossom. He sits with Buzzy and Luna waiting for his food to come to him now (well, most of the time) instead of leaping up on the counter in impatience. He grooms Buzzy and Luna instead of just pouncing on them, and they let him do so. He purrs, makes biscuits, blinks to communicate, and meows a lot less now. He cooperatively takes his pill every evening…even though I still have to give it to him using a pill gun lol.

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This past weekend, it finally became extremely obvious to me that Chance is ready for his forever home. We had a party at our house, and 5 new people who Chance has never met attended; they even brought the same small dog who visited with us during Chance’s first week at our house (Chance did NOT like the dog that first week). Chance did not hide or skitter away as he once did when a new person entered the house. Instead, he solicited attention. He did not growl at or hide from the dog; he hissed a couple of times and kept his distance, but he didn’t let the dog keep him away from people. By the end of the night, Chance curled up at the top of a cat tower and watched us all playing games. The next day, he napped in my bed with me and Luna for a full hour (and there was a time when I never saw this cat even lay down for more than 10 seconds!).

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I had never seen Chance so at home…so “normal.” And I knew he was ready. And he is.

This brings me to probably the toughest lesson of all: in rescue, your work is never done. Chance will move on, and I will bring in a new foster cat with new issues, and we will start all over again. There may be more tears, there will be more smiles, and there will be more goodbyes. Chances are that Chance isn’t even the toughest cat I’ll work with. This is the hardest lesson for me to learn.

Chance Looking Back

Tomorrow, Chance will go on to finally find his forever. I will never get to know his whole story; if I’m lucky, I may get an update or two. But, I will never know what came before us – what may have contributed to his issues and lack of cat knowledge. And that’s ok. Cats don’t live in the past or worry about the future; they live in the moment. In this moment and in all the moments to come, Chance will be loved and well cared for. That is all that matters to Chance, and that is all that matters to me.

Chance Gazes Out Window

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Chance and the Ice Cream Cone

So, it looks like Chance may have found a forever home 🙂 For real this time, haha. But, he’ll be with me for a few more weeks.

 

Before he goes, there are some things that you guys just HAVE to see! One of those things is Chance’s reaction to ice cream.

 

Chance is always curious, but he only reacts this way to one type of food: ice cream!

I should note that I have not given Chance ice cream…but I guess someone in his past must have, because he certainly recognizes it!

 

And now, without further ado, Chance and the Ice Cream Cone: (enjoy!)

 

Chance and the Box

Before anything else, I must tell you this:

Chance’s heart condition was determined to be BENIGN, and he needs NO treatment! He has no signs of heart disease, and his heart murmur is only there when he’s super anxious (like when he’s at the vet). Otherwise, it is not there at all! He’s a healthy cat! 🙂

Probably the best vet visit of my life!! I spent the rest of the evening laughing my head off at Chance’s antics. It was a very good day! I can finally enjoy his silliness knowing that he’ll be around to be his little crazy self for a good, long time.

And now, Chance and the Box:

On Friday afternoon, Chance discovered a flattened breakfast sandwich box on our floor. I wasn’t paying attention… all of the sudden I hear a “whoosh!” and a commotion.

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Chance had launched himself INTO the flattened box.

At once, he checked around for any other inhabitants of said box who might sneak up on him…

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Satisfied that he was the lone resident of the sandwich box, Chance relaxed for a little nap.

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JK! Naps require sleeping, and creatures of the deep never sleep!

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“What? What’s that thing?”

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“Give it! Give it here!” (Chance loves my iPhone, which I use to take these pictures)

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“Give iiiit…”

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“Oh it’s you. Hi! What are you looking at?”

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Chance’s box adventures continued for the next couple of days until we finally threw away his box fort (Sorry, Chance!)

But, I promise, he found plenty of other mischief to get into even when his box was gone.

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(That’s his “what? I’m innocent!” face)

No, Chance!

The past week has been an interesting one for us. Chance has had multiple adoption applications come in for him (yay!), and we are closer to getting answers about his health. Thanks to a generous donation, Chance is going to get to see a really great cardiologist on Friday, and at that point, we will have a pretty final answer about what is causing his heart murmur.

 

As ever, Chance has been up to lots of no good in the past week. (But he’s so adorable and hilarious, it’s hard to get frustrated with him!) His youth is showing, and he’s still learning where he is allowed and is not allowed to go within the house.

 

Kitchen Table?

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No!

 

Inside random boxes?

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Sometimes… But, not that one!

 

In the fridge?

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No, Chance! No. And not on top of it either!

 

And then this happened….

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…No?!… (But do it again really quickly so I can get a picture!) 🙂

 

Chance also got to go to his second adoption event and, just like last time, he did fantastically! Of course, he got dressed up again for the event (see his bow tie?)!

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It’s a good thing he did, too, because he was right next to an adorable bunch of kittens!

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Chance wanted to be their friend, but they thought he was just too big and scary! The kittens got a lot of attention too; they were tuckered out by the end of the day!

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(To learn more about the kittens, click here!)

So, pending results from Friday’s cardiologist appointment, Chance is well on his way to finding his forever home. We sure will miss his handsome, ornery face around the house (and hanging from our walls…) once he leaves us! 😉

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Whirlwind Week

The past week has been the most whirlwind experience ever for Chance and me. Last Saturday (March 30), Chance went to be with what we hoped would be his new forever family. By Monday afternoon, I was picking him back up. I would be lying if I didn’t admit to some semblance of joy at getting him back. I want him to go on to his forever family, but I also think he is not just any cat and that he needs a super cat-experienced family.

We went straight to the vet to get some blood work and chest x-rays done because we still haven’t figured out what is going on with Chance’s heart. I have to tell you – that vet visit was so hard for me. He was terrified (he’s always terrified of the vet, but he was even more terrified this time because they had to do all sorts of loud and scary things to him). At one point, he crawled into my lap and was just clinging to me like he never has before. He was shaking and purring and shaking some more. I knew he was happy to see me again, and it broke my heart that he’d had to go through all this stress over the past 3 days (new home, new people, vet visit, back to our home…so much stress for him).

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Blood work and x-rays didn’t give us any answers, so Chance now needs to go in for an echo to get to the bottom of his heart condition.

While he was at the new home, he was taken off of his anxiety medication. So, when he got back to my house, he was exactly as he has always been – loud, pacing, crying constantly. I started him back on his medication, but it wasn’t easy. Chance refuses pill pockets, cheese, chopped pill mixed with food…I tried everything. The only thing that works is the pill gun, but that is so hard to watch because he choked and gagged on the pill when I used the pill gun.

Fortunately, I’ve discovered that if I coat the pill in a bit of butter before putting it in the pill gun, it doesn’t choke him. Even more fortunate, now that he’s been back on his medicine for a full week, I’m finally beginning to see a new side to Chance!

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First and foremost, Chance loves to play. He especially loves to play with his big foster brother, Buzzy. Chance will lay on his back and scoot up to Buzzy and bat at Buzzy’s face. Then, he’ll race around after jingle ball toys, crinkle ball toys, basically anything that rolls! Buzzy, who is nearly 7 years old now, joins in like a cat half his age! He’s like a kitten again when he plays with Chance!
They romp around, race in circles, trip over one another, play pounce and chase… Ms. Luna sits on my lap and stays out of their way. She’s just glad to have my lap to herself; she’s still not a fan of Chance.

The yowling has now significantly decreased. While he still is very active, he’s quiet as he walks around the house for the most part. I’ve even begun letting him stay out by himself (his foster siblings down in their basement home) when I am out of the house for a few hours at a time. Except for some chewing issues, he’s done very well with this. He’s becoming a normal, typical, albeit slightly “Bengal-y” young cat!

This weekend, Chance attended his first ever adoption event. I wasn’t sure how he would do, but we made sure he dressed up for the occasion.

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Chance drew a fair amount of attention at the event. Even better, I found that if I opened his cage, he didn’t even try to escape. He’d roll around on his back and let everyone pet him! He even let a little 1-2 year old girl pet his head and he didn’t mind a bit.

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The adoption event, as always, had its highs and lows. Probably the biggest low was that yet another cat was abandoned in front of the Petsmart that night.

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Her name is Patches, and this time, the people who abandoned her left a note and some money.

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I get so angry when people do this even though I know that a lot of people think “at least they didn’t give her to the county shelter where she would be put down.” I just can’t see it that way. There are responsible and acceptable ways to go about re-homing a pet; abandoning it in front of Petsmart when you know that a rescue is going to be holding an event the next day is not one of those ways. It is entirely unacceptable to me no matter how you look at it or what kind of positive spin you try to put on it. It infuriates me.

But, enough about the lows. There were also definite highs at this week’s event. We had an adorable kitten named Kodi at the event, and she got to meet an equally adorable golden retriever puppy! Kodi really liked the puppy.

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(To learn more about Kodi, click here)

And I got to hear more about Chance’s babies, who are now 5 weeks old! It seems one of his little boys, Henry, has taken after his daddy in the looks department!

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It’s a baby Chance! 🙂

Chance did not get any adoption applications this week, but that’s ok. He did great at his first event. Hopefully by his next event, we’ll have some more information about his heart and his medication regime will have taken full effect. Until then, he’s happy and warm at home with me, my fiancé, and his foster brother and sister!

A Peek at Playtime

This isn’t a full blog post; I just wanted to share a video I put together of Chance, Luna, and Buzzy playing last night! Buzzy and Chance will actually play together sometimes; Luna…not so much. But, when the toys come out, they all join in!

As you can see, the box with 3 holes is still a big hit around these parts. And the red feather toy…it’s about 2 days away from official toy death. Ah well! Hope everyone is having a great week 🙂

Highs, Lows, and Tumbles

So sorry that it has taken me over a week to write another blog! Things have been pretty chaotic over here. The past couple of weeks have been filled with highs and lows of all sorts.

First, a Chance update! This little cat is the goofiest of goofballs. He has now climbed all over my house…he likes to go as high as he can.

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Yeah, 3 seconds later, he and that suit case fell off that shelf. Don’t worry, I caught him.

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I’ve also discovered that Chance has a very specific grooming routine. He holds himself to very high standards. You see, Chance likes to come in the shower with me!

And then, he likes to be dried with a bath towel. And have his head brushed with a hairbrush. I wish I had captured pictures of his wet little cat head, but I didn’t. Not yet at least!

He’s a very fastidious groomer. Can’t blame him, though. He has to stay dashing and handsome and all that.

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Now for the major high of the past 2 weeks: Chance got an adoption application! Hooray! He may very well have a new home headed his way 🙂

We decided to take Chance back to the vet because his yowling has not improved. He basically always wanders around crying without pause. It was getting to be pretty overwhelming for me and even for my cats. I think they were rather annoyed by the noise, actually… here’s a peak at what it’s like (please note his lightening-fast speed…he’s at the top of the stairs one moment and, in the next, POOF! cat in my chair… it’s like magic!):

During Chance’s vet check-up, we discovered that he has a heart murmur. The vet graded it at about a 3 or 4 (out of 6), which is pretty bad for a cat so young. We aren’t sure what caused it. They tested him for hyperthyroidism, but the tests came back negative for a thyroid issue.

So, we began to develop a routine. Basically, as long as I wave a wand toy around for Chance, I can sit down and semi-relax in the evenings without him yowling too much. So, yeah, my arm is getting quite the workout. 2 or more hours each evening of toy waving 🙂 The good news is that my own cats are also playing more, and they need it! They’re kind of fat 😉 I even took a big cardboard box and cut some holes in it to make a play fort. Chance loved that!

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Chance and my male cat, Buzzy, have begun to get along better. Chance will groom Buzzy a bit, and Buzzy will play chase with Chance, which they both enjoy. Luna, my tortie, is still not a huge fan, but she tolerates him.

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Back to the highs! We had 2 wonderful adoption events over the past 2 weeks. A local Brownies troop (part of the Girl Scouts lineup) made some really special pillows for our rescue cats! The cats love them!

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The cats even dressed up for St Patrick’s Day! This is Ms. Lily. Doesn’t she look beautiful in her green bandana?

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(Learn more about Lily by clicking here)

We had a lot of cats get adopted these past 2 weeks, which is fantastic because kitten season is about to begin. In fact, Chance’s kittens are already 3 weeks old! In another month, they’ll be ready for adoption! I can’t wait to meet them 🙂

So, that’s what’s been going on over here in the chaotic kitty house! Hope everyone else has had a great couple of weeks, and we’ll see you again soon!

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