Save The Cat Who Saved Me

$1,130 of $1,000 goal

Raised by 30 people in 49 months
Jennie Gann  YORK, PA

UPDATE (9/28): Clive did not make it. He was in immense pain and was put down very early this morning. Please the latest update post for more details.

Original Post


This is a page to raise funds for an 8-year-old orange tabby named Clive. But first, a little backstory...

My name is Patrick, and I'm ... a guy. I have a wife and 3 kids. And the last few years of life have been tough. I held down a steady job for 4 years, but in the last year I started feeling really, REALLY worn down, worn out, and unappreciated. I felt lost and like no one would find me. I was depressed, and even though I was taking paxil, it didn't stop me from having a pretty severe breakdown.

After a week in a mental hospital, when I got out, one of the things my psychiatrist suggested was adopting a pet as a "therapeutic aid." My wife and I adopted two cats: Clive (est. age 8) and Freya (age 3). Freya immediately bonded with my wife. Clive was my buddy.

He's helped me through some really hard times in the last year. When I felt lost or confused or lonely, he was always there for me. He's a handsome man who loves belly rubs and chin rubs and ear rubs and he purrs at the drop of a dime. Just the sweetest, most wonderful cat ever. And when I was laid off from that steady, well-paying job in April, and as I've applied to dozens of jobs and received only a few interviews and zero offers ... he's been a solid rock, a safe and familiar place amidst the hell of the outside world and the noisy (but lovable) chaos made by my three children.

He understood me in a way no human could. When life just seemed bleak and terrible, he was there as a comfort and as someone who understood. He had spent a year of his life in an animal shelter, and who knows how long before that on the streets.

Exactly one week ago, Clive threw up a whole bunch and we didn't know what was wrong. We took him to the vets, and they determined he hadn't urinated in days (this we did not know, 2 cats 1 litter box). He had a "blockage." Possibly a kidney stone, possibly some other problem.

They had to put a catheter in him and sedate him and do all sorts of crazy stuff. That first bill cost $700 and was footed by some meager savings account funds and a loan from my own parents. After that, they said he had to urinate on his own, and if he didn't, we'd have real problems.

We brought him home, and monitored closely. He couldn't pee. I watched the guy stand in the litter box and wait and push and struggle and meow in pain ... nothing would come out. It was heart-wrenching.

The vet gave us two options:
1) a $1500 surgery (on top of another $500 we'd already accrued just for more catheters, sedatives, antibiotics and steroid shots to reduce swelling). This surgery essentially turns his physical goods into a more female shape. It allows for much easier urinating (this "blockage" problem typically only affects male cats), though it might also lead to some incontinence. He'll also require a special diet that is 6x the cost of the food he'd been eating before.
2) "put him down" -- euthanize him

I told the vet flat-out that we didn't have the money, but that I couldn't ever bring myself to put down a guy who's only 8 and, other than this peeing ordeal, is healthy as a horse and just the most wonderful little guy.

The vet then offered this solution: I would relinquish ownership of Clive to the vet. They would perform the surgery. If the surgery was successful and he survived, he would then be put up for adoption among a select clientele who are willing to pay top dollar for "rescue cats" -- that new owner would pay for his surgery and all other expenses.

I knew what the right choice was, so this morning I signed the papers. Clive is no longer a legal part of the family.

But I haven't been able to eat or sleep. I've been crying like a pathetic little child all day. I can't write (one of the few activities I have that I usually enjoy, and can sometimes bring in petty income). I can't think of anything but him.

He underwent the surgery today, and we don't know if it'll be enough to save him. I'll update this page constantly with any new information.

But here's the thing: I want to pay this bill. I want him back in the family where he belongs. His last year with us he's just been so wonderful. We brought items to him today before the surgery: a red blanket and a pillow that he loved sleeping on. It broke my heart watching him sniff those items, the only thing that were familiar to him in that sterile office.

I've never publicly begged for money before. But I'm begging you -- I need my Mister Clive back! If you can spare anything to help foot the bill so I can re-adopt my little guy, it would mean the world to me.

Feel free to ask any questions, and again, I'll update more as I get more info from the vet clinic. I'll also add pictures and video if people would like to see more of Clive (the default picture I've added is my wife and Clive together at the vet today).

-- Patrick Gann (and family)

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Update 5
49 months ago

Mr. Clive's journey has ended sometime in the wee hours of the morning (between 1am and 3am our time). The vet did a late-night check and Clive was in so much pain that he had to do something, so he sedated and euthanized him.

His kidneys had failed and his body seemed to be rejecting the surgery in general.

I've created a YouTube tribute video (photo and video collage) that I hope you all watch.

The out-pour of love and support during this difficult time has made all the difference to us. Thank you all for your help.

If you donated, you should be receiving this update via email. Consider this your formal notification that we are willing to refund full or partial amounts of your donation, but we'll need an answer that you would like this within 72 hours because we still need money to pay his final bills (other than the surgery: the vet ate that cost when he formally took ownership of Clive.)

I have to say: the vet was also extremely wonderful and caring during all of this. His name is Dr. Ingold and he has a clinic in West York. Anyone local should consider taking their pets to him for regular check-ups and emergency treatment. He cared and understood in a way I wasn't expecting.

My family will hold a memorial service for Clive tomorrow.

Please watch the video, and thanks again, all of you.
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Update 4
49 months ago

Great and awful news simultaneously:

1) An old friend, a good friend I've not spoken to in months because she's out of town, made an offer to pay the remainder of the surgical bills (whatever the fundraiser didn't reach) given Clive recovers.

2) Clive doesn't seem to be recovering. Apparently in the last few hours his condition went from good to ok to quite bad. The vet suspects renal failure (kidneys giving up), and if that's true, there's absolutely nothing that can be done.

I'll have more news either tonight or tomorrow morning. I've prayed for miracles, but if no miracles come, I'm going to be there for my little orange buddy in his remaining hours. I have to stay strong.

-- Patrick
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Update 3
49 months ago

9/27 -- today's update:

Last night, the vets removed Mr. (Ms?) Clive's catheter to see if he would urinate on his own. As of this morning, his pee towel is still dry.

This is not uncommon, nor is it the end of the world. However, the nurse I spoke with said her hopes are guarded -- there's a possibility that Clive's urethra is damaged deeper in, in such a way that no surgery or other treatments could do any lasting good.

But you know, it's kind of like that saying "a watched pot never boils." So I'm just going to put my mind off it for the next 24 hours and know that if the surgery worked, it worked. And if it didn't work, then we have some tough stuff to do this weekend.

As stated in previous updates, we will offer refunds individually to everyone who donated if Clive has to be put down (though we still have at least $400 in remaining bills outside the surgery -- caths, antibiotics, steroid shots, etc).

But let's hope for the best! And thank you everyone who's donated so far.

If GoFundMe isn't broken this time for the update, the picture you'll be seeing is a picture of Clive at Christmas 2011. I'm still hoping and praying that Clive will have a happy Christmas 2012.

- Patrick (and family)
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Update 2
49 months ago

Added another photo for y'all (don't ya just wanna give him a big belly rub?!), and I have an update regarding verbiage:

Some close friends and family expressed concern over the title that suggests Clive "saved me." No, Clive is not Jesus. But he's an amazing friend and companion and like I said, he's gotten me through hard times.

If the worst happens, I'll find a way to cope. But the vet wasn't willing to give up on Clive (which is why they worked out that whole re-adoption scenario to try the surgery: otherwise they'd have just put him down). So I'm not willing to give up on him either. I think our family has what it takes to care for him if the surgery was a success. It's just the finances that are a killer.

So thank you ALL that have supported us thus far! Keeping our fingers crossed for good news.

- Patrick
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$1,130 of $1,000 goal

Raised by 30 people in 49 months
Created September 26, 2012
49 months ago
Ted Del Guercio
49 months ago
49 months ago (Offline Donation)
49 months ago
Martin and Devon
49 months ago

Best of luck to you all.

49 months ago
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