Happy Birthday to Me!

Today, my humans and I celebrate that I’m 6 years old and going strong!

Those who joined my cuddle family long ago know that this cuddle video and being 6 are big achievements for me. My newer family members might not know that I showed up on June 3 six years ago, shouting loudly UNDER THE HOUSE. I was just a tiny, gingery ball of fluff then, all on my own and extremely wary of humans. I stayed under there for a month, coming into the house through a hole in the wall (now plugged) to get the food Robin put out for me. She now realizes that I probably needed kitten milk still, I was so young, but I made it. I even avoided the firemen who came and tramped around a few days after my arrival.

Robin meditated near me while I ate, and I finally got brave enough to explore her, which of course, led to her grabbing me and taking me into the bathroom and to the veterinarian for tests, shots and flea removal.

I did OK for a few months, then the humans noticed that I had stopped growing and was coughing a lot. After the vets treated me for a few different things to no avail, it turned out I had fungal pneumonia. If you know anything about kitties and fungal pneumonia, you know that when we get this kind of sickness, we usually don’t survive. I did survive thanks to the diagnostic skill of Dr. Bill Campaigne and Robin’s persistence in giving me medicine twice a day for more than a year. This was not easy because I would not willingly let her touch any part of my body other than my tail.

Thanks to Greenie’s pill pockets and the support of wonderful anipal friends, I fought off the infection in my lungs. There’s still some scarring, and I cough a little, but this is the third year since my chest x-rays stopped showing something different, and I’m robust. At least that’s what Robin says.

I had some problems after I got better, and I reverted to, pretty much, completely feral kitty behavior. I went up in the rafters of our house and wouldn’t come down, even to go to the bathroom. The humans were pretty upset about how things were going for me, but they stuck with me again. Robin put me in a carrier and took me to my very own room downstairs. She thought that at least I would be safe inside, even if I hid for the rest of my life.

A few months after I moved into my own room, I started to relax and give the humans some affection by curling up on their backs while they were lounging on the floor. Then I graduated to sitting on their laps. THEN Robin discovered clicker training.

With clicker training to get me thinking about interesting things to do, I gained skills and confidence. Pretty soon, I started coming out of my room while Reggie was in another part of the house. Last summer, we worked on getting me used to Reggie again using some techniques Robin learned from Jackson Galaxy and other kitty behavior consultants and trainers.

Every now and then, I still yell at Reggie, but not often. This morning, we were in the living room at the same time and I was doing stuff where he could see me. I wouldn’t “read” like Robin wanted me to, but I didn’t shout and didn’t run away either.

My favorite thing used to be climbing up high. Now, I have three favorites: cuddling, clicker training, and climbing up high. In that order.

I inspired Robin to join the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants as a supporting member in the cat division. I hope one day she will move up to associate member and be able to help other people and kitties like she helped me. She’s also studying to become a Tellington Touch practitioner.

If you receive my posts by email, you’ll want to click through to my website to see the video. It’s one of my best, I must say!

11 thoughts on “Happy Birthday to Me!

  1. Sweet boy I hope you had the bestest birthday ever! You have come so far in your short life, are a true warrior. It is evident how much you love your Mom Robin and she loves you, your success is as much hers as it is yours. The special bond you share reminds me a lot of the one I shared with Ms. Phoebe. Kitties with special needs like you and Phoebe are worth all the extra help and time, and we are so privileged that you show us such trust and love in return.
    Phoebe adored you as much as I do Chessie, and I know she continues to look down on you with pride as you continue to flourish through life and all its pathways. Lots of smooches to you and best wishes for a fabulous and healthy 6th year to you!
    Purrs of love, Auntie Beth & Kaspars
    Please give our love and headbonks to Meggy, Lexi, Karma, Reggie, the Cheeses, and all other fur sibs

  2. Happy Birthday adventurer, brave cat, and wonderful furry friend. Life is an adventure and you are living it to the full. Well done.

    Harvey, Miranda and Silver

  3. Gosh, Adorable Kitty, I remember when you got sick. Robin was so worried and so fierce in her efforts to save you. I’m glad to see you cuddle and play now. Happy birthday.

  4. Happy Birtrhday Chessie! You are a very special kitty with a very special human in your life. M says she remembers hearing about you in your earlier years and you have come a LONG LONG way since then. Now you even cuddle with your human. Amazing. Kudos to Robin for hanging in their with you and helping you become the handsome kitty you are now. We is proud to be your friend.

  5. Happy birthday, Chessie. We remember when you had to take all the meds for Fungal Pneumonia. Thank Cat that Robin was so persistent with you. We also remember when you used to hide and got your own room. And then Robin worked with you and you allowed the other kitties near you. You lucked out with Robin. Stay well, friend.
    Hugs & Happy, Happy Birthday

    1. Thank you! Reggie and I slept on next-door cushions on the couch! I stared at him a bit while he was asleep, but I stopped when U.H. said it wasn’t nice.

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