Too Young to go

1 year 5 months ago - 1 year 5 months ago #558454 by Belle Bosse
Too Young to go was created by Belle Bosse
February 1st, 2023 the weather matched the events that followed... heavy rain and many tears.
The solar power batteries were down to 79.5% There was no sunshine to stop the batteries from falling to black out point. I ran the generator to top them up to 85% before I could be free to leave home. I was concerned about Chantelle

My sweet, true Tuxedo cat, Chantelle was struggling to breathe that morning. She seemed to have lost energy and lay listless on my bed. I rang the Vet to let them know I was bringing Chantelle in as her breathing was laboured.
She had first showed "wet" chesty, coughing and breathing symptoms in 2017 when she reacted severely to the Ceresto flea collar. She had been to the Vet on and off for her chest condition that lingered on, regardless of antibiotics.

The 2017 visit to the Vet for her wet cough almost had an xray taken, until I asked if the vet wanted the collar removed? He asked the name of the collar then told me to remove it immediately as it was not safe for cats.
The Vet was told Chantelle had asbestos exposure, but cats developing Asbestosis are a rare occurrence. Chest xrays never got done on those or other visits.

Unfortunately, this visit, the Xray showed tumours filling her chest, she was failing and there was nothing that could be done, except immediately put her to sleep. The Vet told me Chantelle's blood pressure was too low to find a vein and it would have to be directly into the heart. It would not be easy to stay as it would not be a gentle passing like in the vein. I could not leave my special girl.

 Chantelle was only 11 years old. She was born in Kone, northern New Caledonia where she was exposed, at birth and for the first 7 months of her life, to asbestos that was in the environment.  New Caledonia is rich in Nickle, but over the nickle is a heavy layer of asbestos, topped by rock and soil layers. The asbestos is exposed getting down to the nickle. Being left exposed, it gets into the air, soil, water. Much of the population only reach their mid 40s to 50s before succumbing to Mesothelioma.

Husband and I were posted to New Caledonia in November 2010, on a project for the new Koniambo Nickle Mine and were there 19 months. Husband was Project Manager for building a 12.5 kilometer long ore conveyor system from sea level to 1000 meters in the Massif ranges. As well as; the ore crushing plant on the Massif, a conveyor from the ore dump to the smelter and the coal conveyor to the smelter. The Koniambo Nickle Mine was a huge project.

Just days before our 3rd wedding anniversary in November 2011, Husband rescued a black and white kitten off the side of the highway on his way to work. The kitten was in the middle of nowhere, dumped on the highway 5 km out of Kone township. She was barely 6 weeks old. He brought her home and told me to "look after this smelly little flea-bag".
She was skin and bone, covered in ticks, fleas and ear mites, smelling of native cooking fire smoke, shivering with fear and cold. She went straight down the front of my shirt to warm up and began purring, earning her full name: "Chantelle de la Route", translates to "Highway Singer".

I nursed her back to health, trained her to harness and found the sweetest, most delightful companion in her. Chantelle learned some French words, knew what it meant when I said "Kitty Up" before picking her up. Her self chosen job was to inspect the groceries I brought home and she liked the taste of apple, peaches, nectarines, licking, hugging kicking the fruit, getting juice on her fur, licking it clean and starting over again. Chantelle also had the amusing method of eating her cat meat with her paws, alternating between left and right paw.

Chantelle was unafraid of dogs and would chase the fat puppies through the fence, chased a year old dog out the yard and had it lying feet in the air outside the gate. Given the opportunity to chase the litter runt out of her yard, she befriended it and brought it inside, standing guard over it, almost pleading he be let to stay and be her friend. She knew what it was to be hungry and was happy to supervise sharing her food with the runt puppy, gently reaching through the fence to touch his face as if to say I know how you feel.

Chantelle won Husband over by accidentally landing in his bowl of Millet custard and fruit salad as she raced around our home. It was decided next morning that she was going back to New Zealand with us. In June 2012 Chantelle immigrated to NZ.
She was introduced to our home area in harness and quickly settled into our home in Auckland. Chantelle befriended a Hedgehog and would escort it over to our caravan for biscuits in the evening for several weeks until the hedgehog was fly-struck and I had to take it on a one way journey to the vet.

A year later, Chantelle befriended and rescued an abandoned 7 month old kitten who became our much loved Simon pet. He has the knack of knowing when someone needs pet therapy and loving attention. Simon is also Chippy chicken's best friend.

Chantelle in her younger years was an excellent mouser and rabbiter. She taught Simon how to catch his own mice and rabbits. Unusual for a cat, Chantelle was gentle with birds and would lie in a Spinx like guard position with fallen fledgelings between her paws. Birds she caught were gently held and were released unharmed. She was frequently bombarded by Swallows and Fantails while relaxing in the sun.
She told me she really wanted to stay on our farm block and watch Fantails rather than travel back to Auckland. She loved the peace and quiet of the farm. She was a lady, but occasionally she would pluck up the courage to follow Simon and me out into the farm paddocks.

Chantelle is laid to rest under the tree ferns off the side of our driveway. Before covering her with wet soil, a prayer of thanks giving was said for the love and time we had shared and for the life of this beautiful pet. She will never be forgotten.

I was very upset by the unexpected loss of Chantelle.
And husband, bless his heart, offered a solution the next day... all the way from Gisborne where he is working! He had found online a 3 month old kitten named "Tom" at Kaitaia SPCA... go and adopt him! I checked the link, but the photo and write up did not speak to me. Tom was from a feral mum, was timid and needed socializing. He was a dark ordinary tabby in colour, but with markings more like hail spots, than stripes.

I looked up Kerikeri SPCA and they had many beautiful kittens. A stunning, bright Calico girl called "Nigella" stood out. I went, met, asked Nigella if she would like to come home with me, she answered, "yeah", so I adopted Nigella. She is confident, happy, playful, affectionate, cuddly and easily purrs loudly. She doesnt mind the harness, has let me know that Nigella is not her name, by ignoring its use. She responded immediately to AbbyGale! She met Simon pet and decided she loves him. Simon has quickly accepted AbbyGale.

Husband could not get little Tom out of his mind. Tom reminded him of his special Kitty Boy of 40 years earlier. He asked me to go adopt Tom. I went to Kitaia, met the timid kitten who had fear in his eyes and made an appointment to see them Sunday with Husband and Husband would make the decision. Husband went, met Tom and adopted him!

The SPCA lady was delighted that Tom was adopted by us, as he is one of the ones that usually fail to be adopted. She will be even more delighted to know, that in one short week, little Tom has accepted the harness, is running free of fear, running free inside and outside, startles less easily, recovers more quickly, is gaining confidence, is showing his sweet nature, loves cuddles, purrs to match AbbyGale's and boldly goes up to Simon and rubs against him. Simon has accepted Tommy, and AbbyGale is his best friend.

And the kittens have made me laugh and love again.

Last edit: 1 year 5 months ago by Belle Bosse. Reason: Broken into paragraphs to make reading easier. photos to follow.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Kalmara

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1 year 5 months ago #558456 by Hawkspur
Replied by Hawkspur on topic Too Young to go
Thank you for sharing that story with all the delights and sorrows.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Belle Bosse

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1 year 4 months ago #558487 by Stikkibeek
Replied by Stikkibeek on topic Too Young to go
Belle Bosse, I fully understand the sense of loss of special cats. I had my first Birman for 18 years and still miss his loving nature.
I hope Chantelle de la Route, sang all the way across the rainbow bridge.

Did you know, that what you thought I said, was not what I meant :S

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