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The Cycle of Lives The Story About Monte The Cat

Category: Cats
Posted: 01/21/2016

Photo Courtesy of Cindi Miller HerlemanLast Friday, my friend, Cindi and I met a gentle, sweet cat, “Monte” at Aurora Animal Shelter where we volunteer. We both fell in love with him; he kept pawing at us to get attention, and his sweet presence made our hearts melt. We spent entire an hour with him, but what we didn’t know was that Monte had an advanced diabetes and they had to euthanize him. Monte was only 12 years old. (Please read Cindi’s blog about Monte, it’s a beautiful tribute to him.)


Many thoughts came to mind after I cried like a baby after I heard this sad and heartbreaking news.

One was about my cat, Kimama, who lived almost 21 years. One day, I noticed him urinating a lot, took him to the vet, and he was diagnosed with diabetes when he was 16 years old. We were so lucky that he actually maintained his blood sugar level somewhat normal by switching his food to diabetic diet food and giving him supplements, and he lived a very good life for the next 5 years.

I wrote several blogs about how important it is to have a good relationship with the veterinarian, and it’s our responsibility to check with the veterinarian to make sure that our fur-kids are physically healthy. I can’t stop thinking about Monte and the idea that he could of had 5 more years if the guardian took him to a physical exam when he started urinating outside of the litter box, so that s/he could prevent and manage his illness before it got so advanced instead of taking him to a shelter.

Just because our furry friend gets older, that doesn’t mean their quality of life is lost; taking care of our furry friend isn’t just about having a good time when they are young and healthy, it also involves providing them a peaceful and quiet senior life until they cross over the Rainbow Bridge.

Monte also reminded me one of one my foster kittens, Fenn. I think I started volunteering as a foster parent around 1994. Fenn was the first kitten I lost since becoming a foster parent volunteer. Fenn was weak and sick for weeks, and it was too late by the time I took him back to the shelter for the veterinarian to check on him. I blamed myself, and kept asking questions that had no answers. Why couldn’t I catch his illness sooner?, What if someone else was fostering him, maybe he could have lived? Could of, could of, what if…what if…

I couldn't go back to the shelter for months after I lost Fenn. I was heartbroken, I was terrified to foster again because I didn’t want to experience such trauma. I cried every day, missed his presence in the house, and apologized for not be able to save him.

One day, my husband sat down next to me and said; “I know it hurts, and I understand that you want to quit fostering, but don’t give up on it because Fenn died. He didn’t die to make you give up on what you believe in.”


“That’s right!” I thought. Fenn didn’t die to make me give up on what I believe in. I can give up on fostering whenever I want. He didn’t have to die to tell me that. Instead, he taught me what I have to do for the next animal when something like this happens to them. He taught me that there would be some days that I would lose another foster animal like the way I lost him. He gave me the strength to move on each and every time I have to go through the loss. Even if it hurts, and even when it breaks my heart, Fenn gave me the strength for me to continue to do the things I believe in.

The first kitten my husband and I fostered after Fenn, was a cute sassy little kitten that needed to be fostered for just a few weeks until she turned 8 weeks old and became adoptable. Instead of staying with us for a few weeks, the little sassy kitten lived with us for the rest of her 7 years. Yes, that’s the little trouble, “Komaru”.

Fenn brought us the joy of living with Komaru; my husband and I were able to foster more than 200 cats and kittens after Fenn’s departure, and I felt Fenn in each and every one of them.

And now, Monte brought Fenn back to me again… I know from bottom of my heart that they do, live, in my heart as long as I live…
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