Where Every Cat Matters and Every Cat has a Story
Friends of Felines Rescue Center, Defiance, OH 43512

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Never Forgotten

Three Oldsters who needed help and Angels here on Earth gave them a hand.

His story is all too familiar.  He was, by all accounts, a very loved cat.  But the owner that cared for him, that loved him passed away.

The owners family packed up the house and locked up the doors.  They put the cat out to fend for himself.

A neighbor saw him and tried to catch him, but couldn’t.  Then he wasn’t seen for quite a while.  Maybe 6 months passed and the neighbor heard some noises in the basement of the abandoned house.  Incredibly the cat was still alive, barely alive and barely recognizable as a cat.

It was Oct. 11, 2010 and Jacci wasn’t sure what she was dealing with.  At first, she wasn’t even sure this creature before her was alive.  He was covered with thousands of maggots, his fur was completely matted.  First he was given IV’s, next the shaving began to remove the fur and the maggots.

As she shaved away layer and layer, Jacci paused, wondering if this was even right to continue.  Would he just pass away anyway from the damage the maggots had already done?  Knowing he had survived for months on his own, she decided he deserved a little time to win this battle.  They let him rest after giving him pain medication, more IV’s and several more baths.

His teeth were all rotted out, but that could wait.  First to get his body to not hurt.

The next day, more baths, more shaving.  He seemed to be a little better.  More IV’s.  More pain meds.

The next day, his body was now maggot free.  His wounds were now healing.  He was starting to look like a cat.  A very old cat, a very sad cat, but a cat.  He was named Dodger.  He had dodged death and now was on to next stage, recovery.

The next day he took some food on his own.  He still needed to be syringe fed, but he was actually hungry.  He actually had the strength to partially bathe himself.  And he chirped at the volunteers.  It was progress.  Slow progress but considering how he looked when he came in, it wasn’t a baby step, it was a giant leap for catkind.

Back then, there was no Thumpers room.  So he was placed in the pen in the office so Jacci could keep a close eye on him.  He mostly slept, but slowly got stronger.

After a while he would come out very slowly of the pen, take a few laps back and forth and then return to his pen.  He seemed to be a little cold and loved to sleep on the heat pads given to him.  Pat knitted him a sweater which he seemed to like very much.

One day he emerged from the office, in his bright orange sweater.  He immediately captured the hearts of webcammers everywhere.

His age could never be accurately determined.  The vet declared he “was older than dirt.”  He was indeed an old, old cat.  He had his good days and not so good days.  About a month after his rescue he had a major setback.  He may have suffered a minor stroke.  More meds, more fluids were given.  The next day he seemed to respond and seemed interested in things again.

More sweaters were knitted and he happily let the vols put them on him.  He would take his slow strolls out to the main area.  He was like a dignified professor, walking with his Yale-like sweaters.  He would climb up on the purple flower and take a rest for a while.

By early December he was out and walking around much more.  He was now sporting his Christmas sweater, bright red.

Whenever he would have a difficult day, he was given medicine to help ease his pain.  His fur was starting to grow back, but he seemed to like the warmth of his sweaters so continued to wear them.  He never fussed when they were put on, he knew they made him feel better.

We even got to see him play some nights.  He was a cat, after all.  But at night when it was time for bed, he would go back inside his pen.

It would have been understandable if the decision was made when he came in to end his journey right there.  But his pain was able to be eased and his will to live was strong.  The decision to give him a chance to live was made knowing he didn’t have long to live, but why not let him live his remaining time on earth surrounded by love and why not let him become a cat again. 

He loved his treats and loved his petting more.  He loved to be loved on by the volunteers who all spent countless hours with him, making sure he knew the world that once abandoned him was not the world he was going to remember lastly.

January, 1 2011 was a New Year for all, including Dodger.  This was to be his last New Years, but it would be a year in which every day of his life, he knew love and became a much beloved cat.

On February 14, 2011 Dodger made the journey to the Rainbow Bridge.  And while many, many tears were shed for him, it was hard not to smile remembering the journey he took in his final months.  He arrived in unspeakable condition, but was surrounded by Earth Angels who were determined that he would know the power of love. 

The pen he found recovery in, the pen he found peace in was renamed Dodger’s Pen.  It is a pen filled with hope and is a constant reminder that everyone deserves to be treated with respect and dignity in their lives, but especially on their final journey here on earth.













Sometimes we spend too much energy on trying to figure out why some people do the things they do.  Our strength is better spent on taking on a challenge and simply doing what needs to be done.  When those few people make decisions we just don’t understand is when we need to look deep within ourselves and simply say, “I’ll make a difference.”

The cats that come to FFRC come in for many different reasons; some do to neglect or abuse, some do to circumstances their owners cannot control, and some do to complete indifference.

On day, several years ago, a family that had a cat for 12 years took him to FFRC.  Their vet had determined he had diabetes and the family told Jacci, “They didn’t want to mess with that.”  So they asked her to take him.  This wonderful soul was handed over without so much as a hug or pat on the head.  They simply walked away.

Jacci and the volunteers could have spent their energy on anger, but instead looked into his beautiful crossed eyes and gently told him, he was now home. 

His name was Tonio and he was part Siamese.  He truly was a gentle soul.  He never fought with anyone, never caused a fuss.  He simply loved to be petted.

And when he would walk around the center, he had a certain quality about him that just gave that air of confidence.  He was like Fonzie.  You just would look at him and say, “That is one cool cat.”

His absolutely favorite place to sleep was in the cabinet under Magenta’s counter.  He loved to just curl up in the towels and sleep for hours.  We on the webcam would see the door openly slowly and we always knew Tonio was coming out for a stroll.

And when he would take his stroll, the big boy would command respect.  The other cats would just back away, not because he hissed or growled, he didn’t, but because he had that air about him.  “Back off, someone cool is coming through.”  He was very Robert De Nero like.

As an oldster, he did require some special medical care.  Sometimes he needed antibiotics or special medicine.  And he was always tested to make sure his sugar levels were ok.  The ironic thing is his tests with FFRC never showed he had diabetes.

He lived at FFRC for about four years and was a favorite of many of the volunteers.  How could he not, he was simply a cat that never bothered anyone.  He just wanted to live out his last years as we all do, without any hassles and surrounded by love.

In the fall of 2010 he began to slow down more and more.  This robust boy started losing weight. 

Special care and medicine was given to him to help try and maintain his weight and keep him comfortable.  But he ate less and less.  At the age of 16, on November 20, 2010 Tonio said goodbye.  He was held by the people who loved him, who never gave up on him, who accepted him for who he was; a kind old gentleman.  His closest friends sat with him and formed a loving circle of angels as they said goodbye.

He came in surrounded by indifference and left surrounded by love.

So many of us webcammers, cried and cried when he passed.  He was the kind of cat that when you saw him on cam, you just had to smile.  He didn’t do goofy things; never got his head stuck in a jar, but carried himself with a certain dignity that was hard to miss.  It was hard not to notice how gentle he was, he bothered no one and no one bothered him.

The cabinet that he so loved was named for him as a reminder of his favorite place and his gentle presence.

When new people join our webcam, they often ask,” Who was Tonio?”  The answer is very simple: he was a special cat who needed angels and found them at FFRC.







We all know the Sheriff; he keeps the whippersnappers in line.  And of course, we all know the Queen; she ensures her royal subjects act appropriately.  But do you remember the Chairman of the Board?

He never wore a hat, but if he did it would have been a fedora and he certainly would have removed it if Queen Bella walked by, or the grande old dame, Ada Jane.  And he most certainly would have removed it and bowed when Magenta would pass the pink poof.

He was Mr. Purrbody.  Yes, some people do call PaddyPurrs, Mr. Purr sometimes, but well before Paddypurrs was born, Mr. Purrbody was the Spencer Tracy and James Stewart of FFRC.

He lived his whole life with a very kind woman who loved him dearly.  But because of changes in her life she found herself traveling a lot, so much so that she could no longer care for this very old, dear cat.  No one would take him because of his age. He was 13 and no longer the big tiger he once was. She went to her Vet and said as heartbreaking as it was, she thought it was best to put him to sleep.  The Vet was reluctant to do this and called Jacci and asked if there was room for a very old cat who was a gentleman through and through.

Mr. Purrbody needed an earth angel, and his call was answered.

His owner was delighted that he was given hope and a chance to live out his life on his terms.  In fact, she helped support him throughout his remaining years.

At this point, in his twilight, Mr. Purrbody was somewhat frail, but had a look about him that would simply melt your heart.

He loved the purple flower.  He would hang out on that for comfort and because it was there he would receive his favorite thing of all; cheese.

You know how the cats all come running when Jacci breaks open the bonito flakes?  Well, for Mr. Purrbody the only time he would meow was when he wanted his cheese.  She would open the fridge and cut up some chunks and feed it to him.  He was simply the happiest cat in the world right then; a man and his cheese.

He also loved canned cheese.  Jacci uses it to help give pills to the dogs and Mr. Purrbody would insist on a little squirt now and then.

He blended into FFRC quite well.  He was allowed to go at his own pace and quickly because a favorite of many volunteers.  He was always catered to.  If he wanted chicken, he got chicken and on special occasions Judy M would cook him his second favorite food:  a ham bone.

He would lick that hambone for hours.  It was always shared with the other cats, but really it was his.  Several days before he passed he was watched on cam that night licking a ham bone for almost two hours straight.  In “those days” there was no sound on the cam, so we cammers had to focus that much more on watching the actions of the cats.  And that night was a special night indeed.  Mr. Purrbody was as happy as a cat could be.

When you have an older cat you often have special medical needs.  They are all designed to help with the quality of life.  So as the years went by in his new home, he would be given special vitamins and medicine for his old creaky bones.  While he suffered from arthritis, he would still take his walks and ever so gently jump up to his purple flower.  He had a bad case of bronchitis once and was on meds for that but bounced back like a true survivor.  As with all the oldsters, he had periodic lab work done to ensure he was not in pain and had the best quality of life possible.  Whatever his medical needs were, they were met. But even the best medicine cannot prevent the reality of life.

On December 1, 2010, barely two weeks after saying good bye to Tonio, FFRC said good bye to the Chairman of the Board, Mr. Purrbody.  He was held by Jacci and told just how much he was loved.

And just as the yellow cabinet was painted in memory of Tonio, the cabinet on the left was also painted not too long after in memory of two special cats, with a simple message:

Mr. Purrbody and Dodger, we loved them 100 purrcent.

The next time you tune into the cam and see the purple flower, give a smile for the Chairman of the Board, that sweet old gentle cat, Mr. Purrbody.

No matter how long we have our beloved cats in our lives, they reach into our hearts and find a forever spot that keeps us perpetually warm.  And all they ask in return is that we love them in return and be their Angel here on Earth.