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Chai Kitty

Discussion in 'Crossing the Bridge' started by rosegold, Dec 7, 2018.

  1. rosegold

    rosegold Thread Starter TCS Member Super Cat

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    It's so strange to think that I've now had Clove longer than I had Chai. It doesn't feel that way at all. I guess it's because I knew Chai for so much longer and felt like she was my kitty before she officially came home. I knew her before I knew Chilli, even.

    I forgot to mention that Chai's rescuer (who rescues a lot of cats and who I got in touch with a while ago) recently posted a kind memorial for her on the same internet cafe where she first posted about her rescue. It felt wonderful to see a memorial that actually honored Chai and how far she'd come since her days on the street. And it's so heartwarming and healing for me to share the grief with someone else who genuinely cares, even though I don't know her personally.

    I don't know if I've shared these pictures here before, but I found them when I was cleaning off my desktop. She really was the most adorable little cat, wasn't she?
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  2. Tobermorey

    Tobermorey TCS Member Top Cat

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    Seeing pictures of Chai always makes me smile. I don’t know why, but something about her touched me deeply. You’re such a good writer that it wasn’t hard to get to know her, and you have some wonderful pictures of her. It’s more than that, though. I can’t adequately describe it. Her face, her eyes, her resilient little body, her indomitable spirit.

    I have loved all of my cats body and soul over the years (more kitties than are pictured in my signature), but one cat—Sara—was my once-in-a-lifetime cat. I think Chai will be yours.
     

  3. Antonio65

    Antonio65 TCS Member Top Cat

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    Chai was so lovely and cute!
     
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  4. rosegold

    rosegold Thread Starter TCS Member Super Cat

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    I think so too. I hope to rescue another shy/feral cat someday and help it come out of its shell, since I’ve learned I have the patience to do that, but I can’t imagine any cat ever stealing my heart quite like she did. I know she was just a cat, but sometimes she really seems like some wise, ethereal, angelic being (in a chubby, awkward, goofy, happy, three-legged kitty body). :)

    Yesterday I was watching some of the videos I took of taming her in those first days of being in the bathroom. Sometimes I forget how terrified she was! She came such a long way and blossomed into a happy loving girl, but she was really so very afraid at first. I have a few videos of her hiding crouched behind the toilet and slow blinking at me with only one side of her face peeking out. They are so precious and pure and they melt my heart. She was scared, but so brave too to risk everything and trust me by closing her eyes. Brave kitty.

    I love these pictures too.
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  5. rosegold

    rosegold Thread Starter TCS Member Super Cat

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    I miss you, baby. Just so hard to accept that you’re not here.

    FF9AD421-15A0-41BA-92D1-6877D2E680C5.jpeg 76174A99-2A01-43D5-97B4-797B4EDBA51A.jpeg 2E5B7810-5401-4D47-B95D-7961A4436B1E.jpeg 5F310F55-71D7-44B5-9A36-EA32F391BC1C.jpeg
     

  6. rosegold

    rosegold Thread Starter TCS Member Super Cat

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    I will never cease to be amazed and inspired by this cat.

    It seems like every time I'm struggling and having a hard time dealing with the grief, it's like she sends me a message of how she did get a happy ending after all. I was browsing the Korean blog that the cat shelter posts since I saw it on a link to something else, and I came across several posts detailing Chai's history and rescue. And more pictures that I've never seen before. I couldn't understand everything so will have to spend more time translating it, but it sounds like when she was first rescued she actually barely survived. She collapsed due to anemia from the extreme blood loss she had undergone and it was a crisis situation. There was a fundraiser for her care and a plea for blood donations so she could get a transfusion.

    On one of the posts, after she recovered, they wrote something like "Boeun [her Korean shelter name] is healing, but still needs time. Someday, we believe that she will open her heart and learn to trust people."

    How lucky I was to be that person. My dear, wonderful, brave girl. You went through more than we will ever fully know. I can't believe you still found more courage and love within yourself, after all that. But you did.
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    Bonus pic: the most adorable kitty ever, hiding with her other shy friends.

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    And I love this picture too. I've never seen it before. That's *almost* the happy girl I know and love!

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  7. Lari

    Lari TCS Member Top Cat

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    What an amazing cat.
     
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  8. Tobermorey

    Tobermorey TCS Member Top Cat

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    Those first two pictures are almost more than I can bear. It hurts to see how terrified she was. It makes the pictures of her happy and relaxed and trusting in your home even more special.
     
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  9. rosegold

    rosegold Thread Starter TCS Member Super Cat

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    I know, they are so sad. I know she was not only terrified but also hurting. And you can tell she was young, too, with those giant feet and lanky body and big ears. I can’t believe that’s the same cat that rolled around purring in my house.

    The shelter raised the equivalent of almost $3,000 USD for medical care for Chai and Bogul, another kitty rescued around the same time. He was a little orange guy that had been tied for months with a wire around his belly, but he miraculously recovered too and was adopted. As far as I know he’s still doing great! I met him the day I met Chai. (When I first walked in the room they were cuddled up together.) He was also an amazing cat. If Chai hadn’t been there I would’ve for sure adopted him. He had the same loving, gentle, special personality that Chai did.

    So much money and care went into saving them. And there was also a kind person whose cat donated blood to save Chai’s life when she needed a transfusion... without which she probably would’ve been euthanized. The grief begins to fade a little when I focus on how GLAD I am that she got those last joyful 3 months that she deserved. Especially when I read all these things and know how easily she could’ve NOT gotten them. So many people worked so hard so she could get that life, including myself.

    Was all of that effort and money and pain worth it? For us, of course it was. But for her?

    Yes. I truly believe, if she could talk, she would tell us it was. I will never forget how happy she was. The joy was bursting out of her. I never thought of animals as being able to show gratitude, but I think Chai showed it to me constantly. If she caught my eye across the room she would slow blink and start purring.

    She did die prematurely, yes. But she did not look like that cat in the first picture when she died. So that has to count for something. I let her go sooner than later, so she was not suffering badly. She was soft, clean, rotting teeth all gone, nails clipped, well-brushed and well-petted, wrapped in her favorite blanket, relaxed and high on painkillers and purring in my arms while I kissed her face. Losing her was horrible. But if she had to go, I can think of no better and kinder way. So I have to constantly comfort myself with that.

    It will be four months in a few days. Sometimes it seems like no time has passed at all. Grieving sucks. I’ve decided to start seeing a therapist, since this is still impacting my daily life so strongly. I know that talking about her is the best thing I can do, even if I just say the same things over and over.
     
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  10. rubysmama

    rubysmama Forum Helper Staff Member Forum Helper

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    I've, again, got tears streaming down my face for a cat who lived in another country, that I never met, but nonetheless loved. The tears are a mix of happy and sad.

    Happy, of course, that so many people did so much for her, and that she survived long enough to have a love-filled, albeit short, life with her human mom, and her feline sibling. :hearthrob:

    Sad, obviously, because despite all that everyone did for her, it seems Chai just wasn't meant to have a long life on earth.

    It reminds of of a sweet, precious, well-behaved kitten our family once had that was killed by a car before he was even 1 year old. My mom always said he was "just too good" to live. That's what I think, also, about Chai. Kitty angels only get to spend so much time on earth with their human family, before they're called back home. It's so painful for the humans that loved them, but the mark of love they leave is never forgotten.
    :angelcat:

    I'm glad you've started seeing a therapist. And do continue to share your thoughts here, whenever the mood hits. Even if I don't always reply, I will read every word. :hugs:
     
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  11. Lari

    Lari TCS Member Top Cat

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    I agree with all of this.
     
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  12. Tobermorey

    Tobermorey TCS Member Top Cat

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    For me, it counts for more than something! Every time I read one of your posts about her, I think “OMG, what if rosegold hadn’t gotten Chai??” And I’m SO glad she had you.
     
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  13. rosegold

    rosegold Thread Starter TCS Member Super Cat

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    Long post ahead... It's been four months today since I pet that pretty little face for the last time. A whole third of a year. How is that possible? It's a sad day. It was so weird, I was sure I saw her out of the corner of my eye today, with such certainty that I actually gasped aloud. But it was just Clove.

    Chai, this lookalike calico rescue baby you sent me is still a holy terror compared to you. But she's a wonderful terror, and we love her, and she purrs for me and rubs on me every day in your stead. She's doing you proud and she's living the kittenhood that you deserved and I wish I could've given you. You would be happy to see how much your beloved Chilli loves her, too.
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    I really wish my house had room (and I had time) for just one more kitty... a shy one. I felt for a while like I would never be able to adopt and socialize another scaredy-cat because it would never be Chai, and I would have too many expectations... but lately I've been remembering and realizing just how much I LOVED every aspect of doing it. It was an incredible thing to witness Chai coming out of her shell and making tiny steps of victory every day. My two current cats are awesome, but I can already kiss their entire faces and brush their teeth and trim their nails and hold Clove upside down like a baby. Even the vacuum cleaner doesn't faze them anymore. Chilli is basically a perfect cat. Clove requires some patience, but more the "if you don't stop biting my face at 4am, I'm going to murder you" kind. ;)

    Honestly, not to get unnecessarily self-reflective, but I really grew so much as a person when I was in that bathroom with Chai for those 5 weeks. (And beyond, of course, but especially in that initial period before I could touch her). Even more so, I began to show myself the same unconditional patience and love that I was showing her... which, as a very self-critical person, was a huge change. In a very real way, she taught me how to approach and love myself with unlimited kindness and patience and no time limits or pressure, just as I was doing with her. I realized that I *liked* myself more, I *liked* the person that I became when I was with Chai. My more selfish or lazy tendencies completed melted away when I was with her, and I was able to access all the patience and action and love deep within me and become the best version of myself I could be. She wasn't just a cute little cat that I took care of. Her presence was powerful. She had a huge impact on me. She taught me things about myself. She without a doubt made me a better person.

    All that to say... I don't think it makes sense for me to get another cat anytime soon. But I do feel that when the time is right, I may get a third one and I want to try opening my heart to another shy kitty. Opening my heart to a cute kitten like Clove was a non-issue. Opening my heart again to another shy kitty, who may or may not ever come around and accept love, and who may or may not remind me constantly of Chai, will be a bit more difficult. But, with Chai's blessing, someday, I do want to do it again.

    Today, I am so sad. But Clove is being a relatively good girl, and Chilli has jumped on my lap and made purring muffins on my chest four different times just today. (She NEVER jumps on laps!) When I stopped petting her, she gently reached out and pulled my hand to her face and then rubbed her face on it. Isn't that the cutest thing ever?? Today is sad but today I'm so glad I became a cat person. They sure break your heart but it couldn't be more worth it.

    I guess I will always consider Chai my first cat. Even though Chilli was technically the first one home, I considered Chai mine from the moment I saw her. And that is something special.

    I don't think I've shared this video here before but it is very special to me, even though it looks so simple. It's the first video I ever took of her, and it's the one defining moment that I knew she was mine. There was something about the way she crawled forward on that little single paw to lick my finger... the bond was formed in that instant, I think. I visited other rooms in the shelter that day but I just kept coming back and sitting next to her. I just wanted to be with her. She would hiss if the volunteer came to her but not at me. She just looked at me. I told her she was a good girl and that I was going to be her new mom.

    I know it's incredibly unlikely she remembered me from this day... But when I came back to visit her, 9 months later, she looked at me and blinked and meowed at me, several times. Something she'd never done to anyone according to the volunteers who were there every day. I think somehow, she knew she was my girl. And that I was going to come back and get her no matter what.
     

  14. rosegold

    rosegold Thread Starter TCS Member Super Cat

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    Missing this girl today. :(
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  15. Antonio65

    Antonio65 TCS Member Top Cat

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    She is so cute :redheartpump:
     
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  16. Talien

    Talien TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    You remembered her, why would she not remember you? From her reaction she definitely did and I'd say she felt that same connection. With animals what you see is what you get, there are no masks, there is no pretending, she showed you trust from that first moment she came out of where she was hiding in that cubby and licked your finger. Don't ever doubt that bond you had because she knew from the start the same as you did.
     
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  17. rosegold

    rosegold Thread Starter TCS Member Super Cat

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    Look at this cute picture that a former shelter volunteer shared with me of Chai cuddling her kitty friends. ❤️
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    I don’t know why, but seeing new pictures of her is always really precious to me. I guess it’s because there’s a limited number of photos that exist of her, and there won’t ever be any more... seeing a new one makes me feel like I’m getting a little part of her back. I sure do miss her, though...
     
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  18. rosegold

    rosegold Thread Starter TCS Member Super Cat

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    Missing Chai... so I drew her. I didn’t have the energy to draw the rest of her body but I think it still turned out cute. :)
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  19. Antonio65

    Antonio65 TCS Member Top Cat

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    At least you have this great gift of drawing so perfectly.
    This image is Chai herself, we can see the life in her eyes!
     
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  20. Tobermorey

    Tobermorey TCS Member Top Cat

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    Wow! I love this! You’re very talented.
     
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