Thursday, June 29, 2006

So here's what happened yesterday...

The Flyer and I rushed down to AVA before 9am. Even though I knew fully well the urgency of the situation, I thought that this would still be a simple-enough rescue mission... that I would just go in and collect her. It never occurred to me to prepare myself for the worst. How foolish.

We got there and made our way to a small room. I walked in and there were two gentlemen in there, both wore long faces and heavy expressions. I introduced myself and told them why I was there, and I gave them the details about Tiffy.

The men did not seem surprised to see me at all. In fact, one of them, a Doctor, promptly told me that they were in the midst of discussing my case. They had just gotten off the phone with a CWS volunteer who was helping me to locate Tiffy. They had confirmed with her that Tiffy was indeed sent to them on Monday from a Mister So-and-So from a 'specific' area.

"Can I have her?" I asked, thinking that this settles the whole matter.

The Doctor shook his head and muttered, "I'm sorry. She was put down yesterday." He went on to explain that he hadn't realised that anyone was coming to claim her. He said that the man who had brought her in told AVA staff that she was a stray loitering in the corridor and that nobody wanted her. Because they have so many cats brought to them each day, they really do not have the space to hold on to the cats for long. The cats are all put down very quickly.

There wasn't even a chance that maybe... just maybe... Tiffy was still alive... that the Doctor was referring to a different cat, one who looked similar to Tiffy. Why? Because the CWS volunteers had already sent in a photo of Tiffy to AVA for identification. There was no room for an error.
Little Tiffy paid the price for a family's bitterness towards each other with her life
Now... I'm frustrated over two things.

One: Why didn't Melissa come to me the moment she discovered Tiffy was missing? If she had alerted me on Monday night itself when she realised that Tiffy was gone, even Tuesday morning, there was a better chance that I might have reached AVA in time to save her. But, because I was informed only on Tuesday afternoon, it was by then way too late to do anything for Tiffy. She had been put down on Tuesday itself just before noon.

As a foster, I don't just focus my efforts purely on the cats. I do my best to build up a good-enough relationship with the families my cats go to. I maintain regular contact with all my cats' adopters through e-mail, phone calls, SMSes, home visits and the occasional outing. And I've always made it absolutely clear to all the adopters that if any sort of trouble with the cats came up, they should and MUST come to me soonest. I CAN help and I WILL help. I've promised them that.

So where did I fail? Is it because I'm not approachable enough so Melissa did not feel like she could come to me? Maybe I haven't been enough of a friendly confidant? I don't know. I really don't.

Two: Tiffy's death was completely unnecessary. The bitterness and unresolved issues plaguing this family brought on such intense emotions that Tiffy had to die? I find this hard to swollow.

But it happened. And while I want to cry and rage, I have to reign in my own emotions and try to take control of the situation as best as I can. There is that one other kitty I have to think of and protect -- Gucci.

I spoke to Melissa's Mum yesterday afternoon. I explained to her that while I do not claim to know what was going on in her family, it is clear enough that things are not all fine... the family is now divided over this tragic incident and that I deeply regret, but I hoped that she would be able to bring everyone together one more time, to decide as a family if they truly wanted to keep Gucci.

I asked her what the situation was like for Gucci back home... if her husband was really okay with the cat. Melissa's Mum revealed that there were problems. I will not say now what these problems are because I would like to be able to work them out privately with the family. But these are serious problems that need to be sorted out quickly for Gucci's sake.

While I am deeply concerned for Gucci's safety, I am not about to forcibly remove him from Melissa's home. I believe that Melissa and her sister do love Gucci. But I have to find a way to help them understand that plain loving is not enough. Being a responsible pet owner has other requirements too. And these requirements must be fulfilled in order for both pet and family to live happily together.

They must also understand that they cannot 'play hero' in all situations. While they are more than able to defend themselves and fight for their own rights, certain other members of their family can't. All Melissa's Dad has to do is to wait until everyone is out of the house to get up to his nonsense again. And now that we know his 'pattern', we really can't risk that. The price to pay for such a mistake is just too high. And we all know who will be made to pay for it.

Melissa, her Mum and her sis, I believe, are good people. They just need some guidance to make the correct decisions for Gucci and themselves. Being in the emotional situation they are in, this will be doubly hard to do... but it isn't impossible. We are here to help them. I hope they accept the help and do what's best for Gucci.

I have so much more to add, but it is almost 3.30am now and I am wiped out. I will write more tomorrow.

~5-Cat Style

PS. A big 'Thank You' to all of you who wrote in and offered us your support and kind words. Your messages, SMSes and phone calls helped us through a very difficult day.


singaporegrrl said...

You did the best you could. Don't blame yourself. We are all hurt by this tragedy though I can't even begin to imagine what it must be like for Melissa, her sis and mom. It seems that the family is in a very tenuous situation.

It's apparent that the father doesn't care to have the cats in the home. It's not the fault of the animal itself. He took Tiffy with malicious intent. Evidence by him telling the AVA staff that Tiffy was a stray. The AVA staff are just doing their job, I'm sure. I can't blame them either.

I hope that Gucci will not pay the same price as Tiffy. You might have to interfere in order to save Gucci. I respect all that you do and I understand how delicate the situation is. Even if you are able to temporarily remove Gucci from the situation, I think it's for the best. Who know what else the father is capable of: throwing the cat down? putting in the rubbish chute? It's horrible to think of.

Perhaps I am over reacting to the situation. Of course I do not know all the facts as they are private. My heart is with the animals, they can't defend themselves. I hope that this situation can be resolved with no more heartache. If it means that Gucci has to be re-homed, than so be it.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Zeus said...

I understand that the family needs to work out their problems between themselves, but at the same time, if I were in your position, I would be wondering whether or not I could expect a phone call if they decided not to keep Gucci. Considering there was not even a phone call concerning Tiffy, it appears that you and your sister's operation are not in this family's thoughts when it comes to the lives of these two animals.

I live thousands of miles away from you, and I know my advice may prove to be unwanted. However, I don't think I would leave Gucci there while the family struggled through this crisis. They need time to work out their issues with heartfelt communication, patience, and love. People who do not understand the emotional value of animals are not going to utilize their pets in such a manner during this time, no matter how much you may try to convince them to see that value. Sometimes, these animals can be treated violently by humans...just like Tiffy. They serve as easy targets for hurt, pain, and loss.

I am almost certain that you would feel better if Gucci were with you. I know you would not be up at night wondering what would happen because then you would have a sense of security. There's nothing that prohibits Gucci from returning to his family either...just as long as they resolve their issues with one another and pet ownership. If they never do, then at least you gave them that time to come to terms with themselves in a gracious manner and saved the life of an otherwise emotionally abandoned feline.

I hope you forgive me for being so bold in stating my thoughts/opinions. I hope you receive them in the manner I conveyed them - carefully and lovingly.

Hugs to you and your sister in this time of difficulty...

-Marina, Zeus and Isis' owner

lambj said...

Unfortunately, some people won't accept help. And unfortunately, some people wage emotional war using pets as weapons. In the US, people sometimes stay in bad relationships because they can't take a pet with them and if they leave, they know the pet would die. And I know people who left and their beautiful pets were killed out of spite. I really don't know the situation there, but it reminds me of the ones I described. Have you hugged your pets today?

Jasmine said...

I wrote about little Tiffy on my blog today. Thought you might like to see the post. I used one of your adorable Tiffy pictures. I hope this is okay.

Zeus said...

I sent her some Air Mail.

Just Ducky said...

Let us all hope that the family can work out any issues and that no further animals or humans get hurt. Physically or emotionally.

5-Cat, you did the best you could. You can't control what other people do.

Anonymous said...

Dear 5 Cat

I feel your heavy heart when you wrote. As much as you want to believe that there is some goodness in the family, you won;t be in time to avert a tragedy. Some of us feel strongly for Gucci to be relocated. It happened twice. Don;t let it happen the third time. Rule with the logical mind you have, over the believe in your heart.

You cannot control what people do or will do, but you can do what is right for Gucci. It is not enough through love, it is through many things you can do to protect him.

There is already an admission that not all is well with Gucci in the family. You need not forcefully take Gucci away from them. You need to make them realise certain decisions you make is for the best interest of everyone now.

There is a chinese saying, "Leopard doesn't change its spots".

Take care.

Carolina Cats said...

I am so very sorry, for you and your sister and for Tiffy's people, but most of all for little Tiffy. She was such a sweet little girl and she deserved a long and happy life. You did all you could for her with the information you had. Please do not blame yourself, there was so much more going on here than you could control or help. I hope that Gucci is safe and remains so, whether he comes back to live with you for a while or stays where he is.

Many hugs for you
Finny, Buddy & Mom

cat_aunty said...

They shouldn't keep Gucci now, after what had happened. The uncle is mad. He might do it again, and get away scot free.

Goddess Adrasteia said...

Seriously?!?! Gah. This is nightmarish. My own cat Kadi was a foster cat. And she had a hard time getting used to my Maddie, who'd been with me seven years at that point. But you don't just throw away a cat who needs some time to adjust. Whether she was leaving unwanted "presents" around the house or whatever perceived wrongdoing there was, she's just a baby. My heart breaks for you and for Tiffy, and I'm going to hug my girls extra-tight tonight. Thank you for sharing this story -- you're doing amazing things by caring for the humans just as much as the furry people.

Aloysius said...

Oh, this is so sad! I am really devastated about little Tiffy, and I hope that you can get Gucci away from this troubled family.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the other posters: little Guicci is not safe. Get him out of there! The Dad, (Uncle, whoever the heck he is), has shown that he is deceitful and without feeling. Does he even really care for his kids and wife, I wonder? Or, just his selfish self?

Poor little Tiffy paid with her life, don't let Guicci meet the same fate.


kuro.shiro.neko said...

dear 5 cat

the last 2 posts by yourself and the flyer really made me cry (and i am in the office!)

while i agree with u that u are open to lend a hand to your adopters, i believe this case needs special treatment.

from the previous posts and comments by melissa and her sister, i gather that they are quite young. thus i and other cat lovers are of the opinion that gucci is not safe in the household.

do u know if the father is remorseful of what he had done? until the family is back to one whole again, the entire family (not only melissa and kenny) should be treated as a "not suitable" adopter.

am sure u have come across many adopters whom later you found that they are not quite right.

so, whatever your reason may be should not stop you from doing the "right thing" here.

just my 2 cents

KXBC said...

To 5-Cat & The Flyer,

I really concurr with what Zeus, KSN, Moglee etc had said. Bring Gucci back to your home for a period while the family sorts out its problems. But even if the family reaches a truce and wants Gucci back, you will have to seriously consider whether Gucci will ever be safe in their home. He is totally defenceless there.

The 2 sisters, Melissa and Charissa, are too young to be able to defend Gucci. I don't think their mother can help too. Locking Gucci permanently in a room is not fair to him and will bring about long term behavorial problems which will make everything worse.

For Gucci's sake, please talk some sense to the 2 sisters. Melissa's post about "ive already lost one, no way am i gng to lose another even if it means moving out away frm my own house" shows a certain immaturity in handling the whole deal. She sounds young and moving out will be a big financial strain. Talk to her from that point and see how it goes.

Regards, kxbc

Anonymous said...

5 Cat Style, this tragedy sounds like a result of unresolved conflicts building up and exploding into a terrible climax. though Tiffy's careless toilet habits may have been blamed for this whole incident, certainly the father was not acting in good faith. if help was what he felt the family needed, he knew it was on its way because Melissa had found a friend to take Tiffy in and had already told him so. he also knew u and cld have asked u for help.

we may never know what moved him to do what he did. he may have been upset with melissa or clarissa and wanted to hit out at them. or he may have felt slighted and frustrated by his family ganging up against him over the issue of the cats. but reading your narration of events and even Melissa's own, one gets the picture of a man who does not like cats and yet had to live with not one but two of them in his home. he may have been objecting and complaining for months before taking thgs into his own hands. i am justifying what he has done, i think he has done a terrible wrong with an innocent life, but i am merely pointing out that we cannot impose our own love for animals on family members that share our home with us. this is of course a very extreme culmination of events but i am sure it isn't the first time a pet has paid the price for a family feud. and sadly, it won't be the last.

i would echo the sentiments of everyone else here about taking Gucci away. please do it while u can. judging by what happened the last time, u may not get a second chance.

Anonymous said...

sorry i meant to say i am NOT justifying what he has done...

The Meezers or Billy said...

5 cat, you are most certainly not to blame for Melissa not notifying you that Tiffy was missing. What you and Flyer do for these cats is amazing. We agree that Gucci is not safe and probably needs to come back to you. We will say some purrayers that Gucci will be safe until he can get back to you.

Anonymous said...

Dear 5-Cat Style

Please answer these questions:

1. Can anyone guarantee the safety of Gucci while he is in that household?
2. Is Gucci at risk?
3. Are you prepared to risk Gucci?
4. How would you feel if something happened to Gucci?

You may feel that the last 2 questions are unfair, but they are relevant questions.

The safety of Gucci is paramount. Why? Because Gucci is a defenceless animal.

A defenceless animal should not be left at the mercy of supposedly intelligent human beings who cannot resolve their personal issues.

Truth be known, albeit with the benefit of hindsight, there were earlier signs that the situation was less than ideal. It did not help that certain individuals were not prepared to face up to or tell the truth.

I am not casting blame on anyone, certainly not on you. I think you've done a great job in very trying circumstances. I am saying that this is the time to look forward and focus on the single most pressing issue on hand – the safety of Gucci.

I am sorry this is blunt, but it had to be said.

I am prepared to help by coming to take Gucci away. You may contact me through Dawn at CWS.


Maggie, Molly & Lucy Too said...

Oh how very sad. This seems like a no win situation. I hope the other cat will be ok.

Mary said...

Hi 5-Cat, you have to take Gucci away because he's now definitely stress out with all the shouting and 'fighting' in the house. i am very sure none of us will get to know should Gucci disappeared one day. Melissa and her sister have to learn animals are not meant for us to play, to pass time. The main intention for rescuing and adopting them has to be because we want to protect and provide for them. Duties like cleaning the poos and feeding time has to be carried out by us and not other memebers of the family. Having a pet is a hugh responsibility, no different from having a baby. I have never met Tiffy but i can only imagine her fear and confusion and as she lay dead, i can only pray she is at peace, no more feeling loss, no more pain. My heart cries out for you, Tiffy.

Buddy said...

5 cat, please remember what a blessing you both are to soooo many furrys. Tiffy loves you still for everything you have done I am sure. I am just so sorry Gucci will be alone in that place without her. Do what your heart tells you to and know you have alot of furrys and beans behind you no matter what. We love you!!

& the beanmom Gina

Lone Star Purrs said...

We agree wif efurryone else...get gucci out of there!!!! At least little Tiffy is safe, and in a MUCH better place than where she was.
~Meeko, Kiara, & Momma Becca

bL@cKc0ug@r said...

Please save Gucci!!!

Beau Beau & Angie Over the Bridge said...

We will say purrayers that efurrything works out wif Gucci. You haf such a big heart to help out animals and that's why you are hurting so much. Your heart will point you in the right way to help out now in this situation so it will turn out good. Feel better. We feel for you.

Anonymous said...

My mommy read this and cryed.We want to give our condolence and deepest sympathy.Tiffy was a very beautiful kitty.Please remember Tiffy's at the Rainbow Bridge out of pain honey.I will pray that god will see you through this difficult time and heal your heart.

Unknown said...

Our hearts are very sad on learning of your experiences. We are very sorry for Tiffy and for all who are so pained by these tragic and discouraging events. Please remember all the good your actions bring and not let discouragement affect helping others. Purrs and Hugs.

Diva Kitty's Mom said...

When we finally acknowledge that life is not disposable, we may evolve.

Kukka-Maria said...

I don't even know what to say. This is such a sad situation. I just don't know what to say, except I am so sorry you are going through this and I will continue to keep you in my thoughts.

Hot(M)BC said...

We're all so sorry *headbutts and purrs* and *hugs* from the beans.
Sanjee, Boni, Mini, Pepi, Gree and the Cat Staff

lighting bolt said...

I am sorry, man. You have a big heart. Don't forget that. Love.

Anonymous said...


Katiez Furry Mewz said...

I hope you reeds dis noo email...

Diz same fing happinned to Mom when she wents to pik up a gurl kitty who wz pregnant. Hur name waz Elizabit and the family she had given her to promised to get her spayed. They never did and took her to the KS Humane Society...

I will always luv hur.

Tiffy looked like my five babies that I am trying to save rites now.

Katie Kat.

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Talk soon,