Joey was our very first hospital cat when we opened in June of 1995. He was 15 years old when he came to live with us, following the death of his owner. Joey adapted well to the life of a clinic cat. He loved to sleep behind the computer monitor at the front desk where it was warm, and he loved laps. Joey also loved food. He had a particular penchant for donuts and french fries, which, initially we discouraged, but as his health deteriorated, we indulged a little more. Joey lost his battle with lymphoma in January of 1996 at the age of 16. In his memory, we started the Joey Fund, which is our small way of helping stray and abandoned cats. Since its inception in 1996, we have rescued more than 1000 cats and kittens and found them forever homes. Quite a legacy for a very special boy!
Bev lived with Joey for awhile in our first clinic at King and Thornton. She came from Durham Animal Adoption by way of my former workplace. Bev was all of 5 pounds soaking wet, and walked with a limp thanks to some careless or miserable person and a BB gun, but she was the most determined little powerhouse of a kitty I’ve ever known. She lived with us until Christmas of 1997, when she retired to come live at home with me. Bev was also one of the happiest cats I’ve ever known. She loved everyone, and was kind and generous to all she met, including people, children, other cats, and even dogs. Bev died in the spring of 2005 at the age of 12 (give or take a few years) after a valiant battle with cancer. Her best buddies, Rosie and Comet, were at her side when she passed away at home in the loving arms of her daddy. I still miss her little greyness and her head bonks.
Rosie came in the summer of 1996. She was skin and bones trying to feed herself and 4 kittens while living as an abandoned cat. She was a stunningly beautiful redhead, with a no nonsense attitude. She and Bev got along well, so long as they stayed a comfortable distance apart. It was Rosie’s way or no way, and everyone respected that. Rosie was distant with people, too, at first, but over time, she realized that laps could be warm and comfy, and that even hugs could be nice. Rosie retired to my home with Bev in December 1997. Now in declining health but still in amazing spirits, she is the queen of the house still at the grand old age of 18 (more or less).
Oscar was brought to us by a friend who found him living in an abandoned car in the dead of winter 97/98. He had been obese, but his skin hung from his body. Oscar promptly walked out of his carrier, head bonked me, and started purring. That was how I knew he had to stay. Oscar gained back his weight, and more. It was a constant battle keeping him from chewing through our cat food bags on the display shelves. Oscar had the best purr of any cat I’ve ever met, and a great big face that smiled almost all the time (yes, cats can smile). He was the king of the front desk, greeting clients happily and making sure to check out their cat food purchases very carefully. Everyone loved Oscar, but he and I had a special bond. He would sulk if I went on vacation, and he would purr so hard he drooled when I picked him up. He didn’t do that for anyone else. He died on my birthday, which was fitting, in 2011. Love ya, buddy!
Bowie came in the summer following Oscar’s arrival. Bowie was a big, white boy with one blue eye and one green eye. He got his name from David Bowie, who, rumours have it, has two different coloured eyes, too (not really, google it). Whereas Oscar loved people, Bowie loved cats, especially the girls. He would go up to any carrier with a female cat in it and rub and purr and head butt it, whether or not its resident was impressed. He even managed to go home with one once, accidentally. For 13 years, Bowie and Oscar were best buddies, often snuggling in the same oh-so-small box or bed. Bowie struggled with his health for most of his life, and lost his battle with cancer on Remebrance Day, 2011.
Fraser is a very different cat from the others. Long, lean, and glossy-coated, Fraser is definitely the most laid back hospital cat. His owners moved and left him behind to wander the streets during a particularly cold snap in February 2011. Clients found him and brought him in to us freezing, emaciated, and starving. It took a bit of work, and, for awhile, we weren’t sure he’d recover. You’d never know it now. While he is not overweight, he has gained over 4 kg since his ordeal, and is the epitomy of a healthy cat. His favourite pasttime is watching the birds at the feeder or napping in the reception chairs. Fraser loves Heather, who used to work here but has since gone back to school, and he is extra happy when she comes to visit. Last year, one of our patients was very ill and required a blood transfusion. The specialist in Scarborough wasn’t sure they could help, because they had used up all of their feline blood donations. Without a thought, Fraser took the trip down the highway to donate his blood to save his little buddy. People call him a hero, but he doesn’t boast. He just purrs and smiles (yes, cats really do smile).