Ark Animal Sanctuary – Week of February 22, 2023

1 year ago

I want to talk to you about a cat named Julian. Julian came to us a little over a year ago, emaciated and covered in wounds. He was not neutered. Julian was out on his own in the bitter cold. He had a very nice couple who were watching out for him. They trapped him and brought him to the sanctuary.

He was terrified but he knew we were trying to help him. He never hissed or offered to bite; I think he just wanted to feel better and be inside where it was warm.

Julian, rescued by the Ark Animal Sanctuary, recently lost his battle with a devastating disease. (Courtesy of Lorraine Monfils)

That day the healing process began for Julian.  Once at the vet it was determined that he was FIV-positive (feline AIDS). The news was not surprising to us because he was an un-neutered male and we could tell that he had been in many fights. Despite the diagnosis we were very positive about his future. Julian was the sweetest, most gentle soul and he loved attention. 

This week I noticed that his belly was getting abnormally large. So many things go through your mind and you try to remain positive. I knew once we got to the vet what the procedure would be. X-rays showed fluid and a lot of it. They removed fluid.  My heart sank. It was clear that he had feline infectious peritonitis, which is fatal. 

I would be lying if I said there were no tears. No matter how many time you do this it never gets easier. Each one is different and each one of them takes a little piece of your heart with them. The world of animal rescue is not an easy one. You take the good with the bad and sometimes the bad outweighs the good. But then you think about what really matters. The lives that you save, the bonds that you develop and, yes, even the ones that don’t survive. 

You tried everything to save them, you give them comfort and let them know they are loved. You let them know their lives mattered and you help them make their final journey to the rainbow bridge.

There is no doubt in my mind that Julian was someone’s pet. So many cats get left behind. Some never receive vet care. They experience so much pain and neglect and it all stems back to one common denominator: humans have failed them miserably.

I would love so much to ask Julian’s previous owner: Where were you when he needed you? What reason did you have for abandoning him? Why didn’t you do the responsible thing and neuter him? Why didn’t you try to find him?

Today I held a beautiful cat in my arms and told him I loved him and that his life mattered. I whispered that I was so sorry for everything he had to endure.

Even though we only had Julian in our lives for one short year, he was family and we loved him.

Rest In peace, sweet boy, you have earned your wings.

Thank you for your continued support, and as always thank you for reading our column.