Friday, September 12, 2014

Going Home: The Boss

Hurray! It's Feline Friday again! We said that we would only have our reduced adoption fee for older cats until August, but we liked it's effects so much that we've decided to keep it going until September 19. We'd like to adopt out some more of our adult kitties to all you wonderful people. 

With that in mind, we've got a real treat of a Going Home story for you, today. This beautiful, moving story was sent to us in memory of Methuselah (AKA ‘The Boss’). Former foster parent Tak wrote this note in hopes we could share it with the Berkeley Humane community. We’re glad to do so, and would like to thank The Boss’ eventual adopter Helen, and Tak too, for giving The Boss so much love, understanding, and bliss during his last few years of life.

Our most sincere condolences to Helen; we know you gave him a fantastic home, and we're grateful that you two were able to spend the last few years together.

From Tak:

"Methuselah was one of the 10 adult cats we fostered for the Berkeley Humane Society over the period of two years following the fire at the shelter in May 2010. He was a very BIG, beautiful, handsome orange and white Maine Coon Cat mix who was over 16 years old when we fostered him during the summer of 2011. He was FiV positive and also had a bum rear leg which presumably hadn't healed properly after an injury. He had been returned to Berkeley Humane after having been adopted as a youngster.

He was a calm, confident and content cat. Nothing seemed to disturb him. As a foster cat, he had to remain isolated from the other pets in our household. But living almost alone in a single room didn't bother him. He enjoyed the couple hours a day that we would spend with him, but otherwise kept himself occupied studying the world from the windows and tearing up the fresh cat mint we gave him. He seemed to understand that he was a little too big to fit comfortably on our laps and so instead would sit next to us when we shared his room. He liked being combed which is good thing since he had such long fur which tended to tangle.

He knew what was what in the world. Methuselah was the only cat I've ever dealt with who would voluntarily walk into a cat carrier when I opened it for him. He knew that every time he went into the carrier he was going on a trip and he liked to go places. He was very calm, very social and relaxed during the weekends at the shelter while meeting new people and being close to other cats. The somewhat noisy and busy environment at the shelter disturbed him not a bit. At the end of the many weekends he spent at the shelter, I would come by with his carrier and open it. He would voluntarily walk in, happy to be headed back home. Unlike all the other foster cats we had, the trips back and forth to the shelter stressed him not at all.

There are few people interested in adopting older cats like Methuselah. And even fewer who would adopt such a very old cat with a latent illness. After four months of fostering him and knowing that there was no one seriously interested in adopting him, I began to wonder whether we could find a way to keep him for ourselves. Methuselah's personality had won us over. We knew that he would likely not have many more years left. We considered becoming foster failures. But with his FiV positive status, we couldn't find a practical way to integrate him into our household which includes both an indoor/outdoor cat and a dog. They are both accustomed to having the back door always open.

One weekend a woman in her 90's who lived alone walked into the shelter seeking to adopt the oldest cat available. She wanted a cat in the same stage of life as her. Helen met Methuselah and was immediately taken by him. She adopted him on the spot. The adoption staff said that she looked ecstatic at her good fortune.

As foster caregivers, we normally do not have contact with the adopters. Nor in most cases would it be appropriate. But in the case of Methuselah we asked for and received special permission from the staff to stay in touch with Helen and her new cat. Helen was very welcoming of our request.

Over the next two years we visited every couple of months with Helen and the “Boss,” Methuselah's new name. The Boss kept Helen busy with his gentle antics and all in all being good quiet company. They both seemed quite content. Helen celebrated her 98th birthday a couple of months ago. He enriched her life with his company. She took very good care of him. And we too became friends with Helen who isn't able to go out much.

In the last months, Methuselah lost weight. He was now well over 18 years old. In October 2013, he died. Helen misses him terribly and is very heartbroken. We too miss him very much.

This is a happy story, a story of success. We wish that all the cats and dogs get to live out their natural lives with caring, loving owners. Methuselah had a very good life and enriched the lives of his humans. This is the goal we have when we save pets. We are enhancing our own lives as well as those of the cats and dogs."

We couldn’t agree more—thank you for the eloquent words, Tak, and for all you did for The Boss (and the many other animals who you helped us save.) Thank you too, friends, for taking the time to read about The Boss. We hope you’ll join us in sending good thoughts to Helen.

Are you or your cat ready for a new best friend? Today, Berkeley Humane is celebrating Feline Friday with $5 adoption fees for cats 5 months and over! Come by our Adoption Center today to meet our snuggly and playful cats ready to go to loving homes. 

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