"Guardian Angel" Cat Saves Sick Strays
An orange and white tabby once left for dead by a roadside is now saving lives and comforting kittens at the Nine Lives Foundation's Feline Well-Care Clinic.
When Christopher arrived at the clinic in March, his pelvis was fractured and he was unable to stand. If he hadn't been found by a group of bicyclists, he would have slowly starved to death or been killed by a larger predator.
Instead, he was nursed back to health by the clinic's staff and volunteers. One day he jumped out of his cage while it was being cleaned.
Since then, Christopher has lived at the clinic. On Wednesday morning he was found napping in his bed on a staff member's desk, comforting a terminally ill cat and ignoring the hustle and bustle around him.
The clinic's staff and volunteers say Christopher can tell when other cats need help.
"It's weird, it's really true that he seems to understand things," said Monica Thompson, Nine Lives' chief veterinarian and founder. "He knows when he can help. He alerts us when things aren't right about a cat."
"He'll often paw at a cage door to be let in so he can clean and comfort a cat in there," said Robert Lowery, a volunteer at Nine Lives.
He even became known as the "feral kitten tamer" last month, when he asked to be let into a cage with two feral kittens that were "untouchable, just hissing and growling," Thompson said.
Christopher's "domestic cat lessons" and loving care tamed the kittens within a couple of weeks. One has since been adopted, and the other is still available.
"The kittens were so excited to see [Christopher] that when he left the cage they would sit and cry," Thompson said.
But Christopher's biggest claim to fame is that he saved the life of a tiny black kitten that came to the clinic July 11 with severe anemia. She needed a blood transfusion immediately, and Thompson couldn't even draw enough to determine her blood type.
Christopher kept jumping up on the operating table, rubbing on Thompson and nuzzling the kitten. So she grabbed Christopher and used his blood for the transfusion.
Thompson didn't know it at the time, but the kitten had a "B" blood type found in about 20 to 25 percent of the cat population. It's also a blood type usually found in purebred cats, Thompson said, so she wouldn't have expected to find it in the black shorthaired kitten.
As it turned out, Christopher also has Type B blood. The kitten was standing up within about four hours of the transfusion, Thompson said, and has since gone back to Humanimal Connection, the rescue that was caring for her.
"If I hadn't paid attention to [Christopher], I probably would have lost the cat," Thompson said.
Though many people have inquired about adopting Christopher, Thompson said, he has an important job at the clinic.
"Who knows how many cats he'll save in the years ahead," Lowery said.
[Source: San Jose Mercury News]