January 14th, 2020
Nine years ago, in 2011, Kerry came across a Craigslist ad for two nine-year-old Oriental Shorthair cats whose original owner was no longer able to care for them. The two cats had already been given to another family with dogs and were confined to just one bedroom. One had an infected growth on his lip and needed costly dental treatment. Their new owner was losing patience and wanted to take the cats to the shelter.
Kerry herself was unemployed due to an injury with chronic pain that made her desk job unbearable. Unable to receive disability benefits, she applied for unemployment benefits and took part-time contract jobs as she was able. Her own cat, Pandora, had recently passed away from feline infectious peritonitis despite Kerry investing in experimental treatments. With her own budget stretched to the limit, she wasn’t in a position to take the cats, but she thought she could share their ad with a cat rescue message board she frequented to give them a better quality of life.
The night before the cats would be taken to the shelter, Kerry was able to contact their original breeder, who took them both in. One of the cats, a female named Jasmine, was placed in a new home, but the other, Sebastian, needed urgent care. The breeder thought the growth on his lip was melanoma, and her veterinarian agreed. While they were monitoring the growth, Sebastian went into crisis. He stopped eating and started vomiting, soon becoming gaunt and unkempt. The breeder believed his melanoma had metastasized and he was crashing. She told Kerry that she did not want him to suffer, but she offered that Kerry could come meet him before she considered euthanasia.
On the day Kerry rushed out to meet Sebastian, he started eating again and began to improve. He came out from under the bed where he was hiding to greet her and instantly took a liking to her. Fortunately, Kerry had recently been offered full-time employment, and she felt that welcoming Sebastian into her home could be a good fit. She told the breeder she was willing to take him to provide hospice care and be responsible for putting him to sleep.
With Sebastian stabilized, Kerry took him to her own veterinarian to evaluate the growth on his lip. A cytology test confirmed that the growth was benign and likely a result of his severe dental problems. Though he had dental work in the past, his remaining teeth were rotten and would need to be removed. Even though she had been resourceful in the past with getting her cats the care they needed and was already setting aside money for his treatment, Kerry knew she would need help.
She shared their story in her application for a RedRover Relief Urgent Care grant and her commitment to his second chance was clear:
Sebastian is a wonderful, loving kitty who has continued to thrive and has completely bonded with me. It was a hard decision to adopt a kitty thinking I may not have him long so soon after losing Pandora, and his lab results really seemed like a miracle. He is my beloved kitty now and it is my intention to care for him for the rest of his life.
Sebastian was able to get his important dental treatment in 2011 and has spent the last nine years as part of a loving family. He has gained a kitty “girlfriend” named Isa and a best friend named Milou. He takes any opportunity to lie on Kerry, and when she pets him, his tail shoots straight up in the air and he purrs loudly while gazing into her eyes.
Now Sebastian is 18 years old, and while he’s slowing down with age and diabetes, he’s enjoyed a long and rich life with Kerry. She recently checked in with RedRover staff to celebrate Sebastian and the donors who helped give him his second chance:
I still remember the day I met Sebastian and the day I took him home with me. He was nine, and we thought he might have cancer, but he didn’t. I didn’t know how long we would have together, but now it’s been about half his life. Tomorrow he will be 18.
I still don’t know how much time we have left, but every day is a joy with his constant cuddling, snuggling, and chatting, sometimes yelling, even his insistence that my laptop is a nice warm cat bed for sitting on.
From the moment we met, there have also been others who cared about him and helped.
Thank you, friends of Sebastian.