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.
"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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
Posted by Nine Lives Foundation