Nine lives, sixth sense: Cat at veterinary clinic seeks out ailing cats

By Diana Samuels

Daily News Staff Writer
Posted: 08/18/2010 08:04:38 PM PDT

All cats may have nine lives, but Christopher, an orange and white tabby who lives at a Redwood City veterinary clinic, also has a sixth sense.

Dubbing him a "guardian angel," "wonder cat" and "miracle kitty," the staff and volunteers at the Nine Lives Foundation's Feline Well-Care Clinic say Christopher can tell when other cats need help. He will sit outside the cages of sick felines until someone lets him in, and last month, the clinic says, he saved the life of a kitten in need of a blood transfusion.

"It's weird, it's really true that he seems to understand things," said Monica Thompson, Nine Lives' chief veterinarian and founder. "He knows when he can help. He alerts us when things aren't right about a cat."

Christopher, who is about 3 or 4 years old, was found on the side of a road by a group of bicyclists in March. He arrived at the clinic unable to stand, his pelvis fractured.

He recuperated, and one day simply jumped out of his cage while it was being cleaned.

Since then, Christopher has lived at the clinic. On Wednesday morning he snoozed in his favorite cat bed on a desk, ignoring the hustle and bustle around him. As is typical for Christopher, he was napping next to a terminally ill cat.

"He'll often paw at a cage door to be let in so he can clean and comfort a cat in there," said Robert Lowery, a San Ramon resident and volunteer at Nine Lives.
He even became known as the "feral kitten tamer" last month, when he asked to be let into a cage with two feral kittens that were "untouchable, just hissing and growling," Thompson said.
Christopher taught the kittens all about being a cat, and within a couple of weeks they were tame. One has since been adopted, and the other is still available.

"The kittens were so excited to see (Christopher) that when he left the cage they would sit and cry," Thompson said.
But Christopher's biggest claim to fame is likely saving the life of a tiny black kitten that came to the clinic July 11 with severe anemia. She needed a blood transfusion immediately, and Thompson couldn't draw enough to even determine her blood type.
"I didn't know what I was going to do," Thompson said.

Christopher kept jumping up on the operating table, rubbing on Thompson and nuzzling the kitten. So Thompson grabbed Christopher and used his blood for the transfusion.

Thompson didn't know it at the time, but the kitten had an uncommon "B" blood type found in about 20 to 25 percent of the cat population. It's also a blood type usually found in purebred cats, Thompson said, so she wouldn't have expected to find it in the black shorthaired kitten.

As it turned out, Christopher also has Type B blood. The kitten was standing up within about four hours of the transfusion, Thompson said, and has since gone back to Humanimal Connection, the rescue foundation that was caring for her.

"If I hadn't paid attention to (Christopher), I probably would have lost the cat," Thompson said.

Though many people have inquired about adopting Christopher, Thompson said, he "serves a purpose" at the clinic.

"Who knows how many cats he'll save in the years ahead," Lowery said.

E-mail Diana Samuels at

The Nine Lives Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the welfare of cats and kittens. It operates a veterinary clinic and shelter, providing low cost spay/neuter, rescue, medical and adoption services. Its shelter welcomes all cats and kittens regardless of their physical, medical or behavioral conditions.

The Nine Lives Foundation shelter: 3016 Rolison Road, Redwood City, 650-368-1365

The Feline Well-Care Clinic: 1683 Broadway, Redwood City, 650-368-1365

For more information on how to donate, and to see cats available for adoption, visit

Photo comments: "Miracle kitty Christopher sleeps in his bed at the Nine Lives Foundations Feline Well-Care Clinic on Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2010. The feline seems to know when other cats are in distress and he recently provided blood to a seriously ill kitten that needed a transfusion. (Kirstina Sangsahachart/ Daily News) "

News on Nala

For those who don't know her, Nala is a pretty cream colored cat our volunteer, Robert, rescued from the Dublin Animal Shelter. Nala's family had overfed her to the point of morbid obesity and then left her at the Dublin shelter where she faced certain death.

Robert saved her and brought her into our shelter on July 11, 2010. He and another volunteer, Laurel, set up a newly donated, tall cat condo for her so she would need to move around to get her food and litter and bed.

Upon her arrival Nala weighed 21.9.0. That's right 21 pounds 9 oz. We started her on a wet food only diet and she has daily weigh-ins. As of yesterday, 7/25 Nala weighed 19.12.5. She was playing with a toy in the get acquainted room and is looking and feeling much better. Dolores, one of our kennel staff, is going to start work on a new room for her so she can get more exercise.

If you haven't met her, stop by the shelter and say hello to her. She is a really nice cat who loves pets and playing with a wand toy. She is starting to get attention from potential adopters. We love her here and are so happy that Robert saved her life.

CA Spay and Neuter License Plates

Spay & Neuter Saves Lives!

Help reduce pet overpopulation with the CA Spay & Neuter License Plate!

The California Spay & Neuter license plate, sponsored by the California Veterinary Medical Board, provides a fun and easy way for pet lovers to help reduce pet overpopulation. Proceeds from the plate provide funding for free or low-cost spay & neuter surgeries across California, and also help to raise awareness about the importance of spaying and neutering.

By pre-ordering the California Spay & Neuter License Plate today, you can be among the first to display the new plate on your vehicle. You can pre order your new plates beginning today.

A sequentially numbered plate is just $50. A personalized plate, whether a new request or a transfer for an existing personalized plate, is $98. These fees are additional above your normal registration fee. After 7,500 pre-orders are received, the DMV will begin the official program, and will start issuing actual plates after the implementation process is complete.

Find out more about the plates and pre order them at:

Success story! - Thank for you for Tom (formerly Klondike)!

Thank you so much for rescuing Tom (formerly Klondike) and helping us to meet him. It is sad to think that the little guy was found in a wood pile as a kitten, but is so wonderful that through your organization, he has been matched with a loving family. It is hard not to spoil him, he is absolutely adorable and has a sweet personality to match his handsome looks.

He loves to cuddle and be brushed, and his latest interest is laying on my head and cleaning my hair. Whenever he is locked out of a room and craves attention from us, rather than hysterically meowing at the door, he patiently sits there and waits for us to let him in. He almost always follows me wherever I go in the house, and the few times that he doesn’t, he will quickly be by my side if I call out his name.

He has a new little Siamese-mix sister (Jerry), who was found at an autobody shop, and the two have bonded well together and become partners in crime, though Jerry is the one who commits most of the crimes. It is so cute hearing them charge around the house together and then eventually falling asleep on top of each other. In just a few months, Tom and Jerry have already brought a lifetime of joy into our home and we are looking forward to spending many many many more years with them.

Success story - Bella, now named Irie!

Hello Nine Lives.

I want to let you know that Bella, now named Irie, is a wonderful addition to our family. She has come a long way since we brought her home on May 27th and is starting to get some meat on her bones. We named her Irie as she has a wonderful kicked back personality and is just happy and easy going. Irie means - everyting is cool, no worries, feelin' good, everyting is everyting (everyting = everything in Jamaican Patois). We are absolutely in-love with Irie. I had a mobile pet groomer come to the house and bath and groom her and she looks and I'm sure feels fantastic. She loves to eat, sleep and roll around in dried cat nip many times a day (which she has successfully distributed every where in the house). She has found many favorite sleeping spots. She is also very playful, when she is not eating or sleeping. We finally have a lap cat (something I've always wanted) and she loves to go from my lap to my husband's, Mario, lap and back and forth if we are on the couch watching TV. She is adorable. She also likes to sit on Mario's lap when he is working on the computer. Irie has fit in to our household with no problems at all and gets along great with the other 3 household cats.

Thank you so very much for saving this beautiful girl (we keep thinking she is a kitten as she is new to us, but she is really a 12 year old that has had some very hard knocks, which shows in that adorable little face). She is thriving in our home and is now absolutely showered with all kinds of love and we think she loves us too and feels safe.

I've attached some photos of our sweet girl, Irie.

Thank you so very much!

Huggie Bear, we LOVE you!

Huggie Bear is a kind of goofy, DMH, black kitty with a white spot on his chest. Huggie came to us on 4/16/09 from Oakland Animal Shelter where he was being held on medical reasons for extreme hair loss and scabs all over his body, poor muffin had a extreme flea allergies. We treat him with flea treatment and steroids monthly to keep his allergies in check and Huggie is a happy cat.

He's pretty loving and like his name implies, he gives frantic hugs. Huggie can be very vocal about being put down when he wants to hug though and would be best in a very cat savvy home without children. Mostly he's a wonderful, grumpy old man who wants lots of attention his way on his terms. We consider him a resident cat but wouldn't mind adopting him out to a savvy, loving home who sees him as the scruffy love muffin we know him to be.

Huggie had a senior screen upon arrival and was found to be healthy except for his flea allergies. This past week Huggie had a dental and another Senior Screen, blood panel and he's still fit as a fiddle. We're so glad our special boy is healthy and going to be around for a while, we just wanted to shout it out!

Olivia - Foster home needed!

Just putting a call out to see if anyone would be willing to foster Olivia. Olivia is a super sweet girl but she's very introverted and shy. She's a brown tabby and white tuxedo girl, under a year old (est. DOB 6/09). She came to us as a momma kitty and has been out in foster care since her arrival. You can pet her and she purrs but she won't come to you. We're afraid that going to the shelter will traumatize her and set her back.

Our foster coordinator Debbie says, "I had her and her two babies the first few days and she'd rub on my leg and such and now she is so scared to go near people. I'd really like to get her in a place where someone would focus on her. Her kittens are more than old enough to be without her."

Please, if you're interested in fostering this sweet little girl, call or email Debbie Mueller at are 650-670-7056.

Success Story - Taylor

Dear Dr. Thompson & Staff:

In February 2009 we adopted Taylor. She has been a wonderful addition to our family, being known as the crazy one. Some of her favorite things to do are burst out the back door and roll around outside, steal our lunch - she seems to have a bread addiction, and run up and down the stairs. She's quite the little ball of energy. We especially like that after a long day of playing, she sleeps under the covers with us. Thank you so much for Taylor and all the good work you do.

~Laurette & Mike