Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Petco Foundation Grant--Charbonneau

From Straggly Stray to Elegant Charbonneau

In August 2012, a kind lady south of Portland, Oregon, was surprised when a tiny, timid, very thin stranger cautiously eased through her cat door. The stranger was emaciated, her fur was ragged, and she moved stiffly and with a limp. A collar scar around her neck showed that she had once been someone's pet, but it was obvious that she had fallen on hard times and was now barely surviving.

Stray Kitty came in to ask for help.
A local rescue informed the lady that, in addition to other health problems, Stray Kitty was diabetic and a senior—so together they reached out to Diabetic Cats In Need (DCIN), an organization that specializes in assisting diabetic cats find homes, and assisting owners of diabetic cats with their care. Because diabetic cats often have additional medical problems, DCIN also offers education about diabetes care and a financial assistance program for owners in need.

Within days DCIN posted Stray Kitty, newly dubbed "Charbonneau," on its blog and Facebook page. DCIN rehomes cats from across the continental US and Canada without distance barriers thanks to a dedicated network of volunteers. Like many of the cats that DCIN rehomes, Charbonneau was traumatized by her abandonment and her multiple health problems, so DCIN also offered assistance to integrate her into her new home, including assistance from an animal behaviorist if needed and financial assistance in providing necessary medical and dental care.

Dangerously underweight and in need of care.
DCIN quickly received an application to adopt Charbonneau from a family in Colorado. Charbonneau's health was too fragile to allow for normal methods of long-distance transportation; she would have to be escorted in an airplane cabin. One of DCIN’s many friends stepped up to donate the air fare for Charbonneau and her companion, and four days later, Charbonneau flew home.

Her new family's vet pronounced her dangerously underweight and badly in need of dental work and other care. Her diabetes was out of control, and she had a heart murmur, arthritis, and peripheral neuropathy. DCIN offered financial assistance immediately. After being put on a carefully managed insulin regimen, a special diet, and vitamins, Charbonneau had six teeth removed.


A year after her adoption, Charbonneau is a plump, happy little cat. With proper nutrition and regulation of her diabetes, her heart murmur has almost disappeared, her fur is soft and sleek, and her gait is no longer painful and halting.


Thanks to DCIN's suggestions for integration into Charbonneau’s new family, there were never any issues with acceptance by the resident cats.

New brother Onyx grooms Char.
It took almost a year for Charbonneau to completely regain her confidence, but she now sleeps in her owners' bed every night, actively seeks their attention, asks to be picked up and petted, and is loving, self-assured, and comfortable in her surroundings.

Char helps Mom in her home office.
DCIN helps diabetic cats whose owners are unable or unwilling to provide the necessary care—or who have abandoned them altogether—by finding them loving homes. We are proud of our many success stories, including Charbonneau!

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