Happy Tails; Chester:The Cat Who Saved Cats

Well here we are in the middle of the week. Bearing that in mind it occurred to me that I haven’t yet told you the story of Chester. Chester is gone now but his story and his memory still live on in our hearts.

Chester in the summer of 2005

Seventeen years ago Chester was a stray that wandered into my husbands yard. Skinny and infested with ear mitesit was clear he had no home. He was one of my husbands first rescues, although if you asked him I am sure he would tell you it was Chester who rescued him.

Todd took Chester in and took him to a vet. He treated his ear mites and cleaned him up. Chester began to gain weight and his personality began to emerge. Oh what a personality it was! Chester was more like a dog than any cat I have ever known. By the time I met him in the summer of 2002 he was eleven years old and quite set in his ways. For Chester that meant he was about five years into his life’s work of rescuing other stray cats.

Now I know that sounds funny, but it is true. Chester was an outdoor cat (neutered of course) he liked to roam the neighborhood and all of the neighbors knew him well. Neighbors that hadn’t seen him in a few days would stop by and ask about him to make sure he was okay. Chester was fine, and so were the many starving cats he brought home on a daily basis. I don’t know how many stray cats we fed, caught, and found homes for over the years, suffice it to say that there was a time when every house on our street shared their home with one of Chester’s rescues.

Sammy after his surgery in 2006

I live right next door to the owners of Chester’s most amazing rescue. Sammy a DSH was in bad shape when Chester first brought him home. He had gotten into a fight with a raccoon and the raccoon had got the best of the deal. Sammy’s face was ripped apart. Chester of course brought him home.We tried to live trap the cat, we knew he needed medical attention, but Sammy would not be fooledby the live trap. Chester however, unable to resist a free meal would get caught in it three or four times. A few days after our first attempts to catch the injured cat Chester brought him home again. it was clear Sammy had gotten into another fight, both sides of his face were now ripped apart. Now it was even more important that we catch the injured cat. Our neighbor was a cat lover so she got involved as well. A few days later she managed to catch Sammy.

Sammy was in bad shape. The first set of wounds had begun to become infected. The flesh was dieing on his face. Anyone else would more than likely have had the vet put Sammy to sleep, but not my neighbor. Sammy’s face needed complete reconstruction, an expensive endeavor. The surgery was done, at a cost of over two thousand dollars. The only outward sign that Sammy was ever injured is a mismatching of the stripes on his face. Had Chester not brought Sammy home that day, he would have died of infection from his injuries. We believe that Chester knew we would help his friend, and that is why he brought him home.

Before meeting Chester I wasn’t much of a cat person. I rescued them same as I did dogs, but I never really took to them. Chester changed my perception of cats, he made me see them for the truly wonderful animals they are. We lost Chester in May of 2010. He was nineteen years old when kidney failure set in, within 48 hours his body began to shut down and he was gone. Every day I leave my home and meet up with Sammy in my driveway. Seeing Sammy reminds me of Chester the cat who made it his job to save other cats the way my husband saved him so long ago.

The next time someone tells you an animal does not understand that it has been rescued, think of Chester, and know that animals do know you have saved them. Chester knew, he also knew that we would do the same for any cat he brought us. Chester spent his life paying it forward, it is one of the things I loved most about him. If a fifteen pound cat can do it, SO CAN YOU!

Until Tomorrow Remember