Kitten Associates, a home foster-based cat rescue group located in Sandy Hook, announced this week that one of the kittens who helped heal residents following 12/14 through its established “Kitties For Kids” program, has passed away.
Fred, an orange tabby and white domestic short-haired 10-month old kitten, was the star of the Kitties for Kids program, according to Kitten Associates, and he died due to complications stemming from a fatal illness called Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP).
Only a month prior, Fred had been honored with the Connecticut Veterinary Medical Association “2013 Pet of the Year Award,” as well as being part of the team given special recognition by US Senator Richard Blumenthal for “providing compassionate and dedicated service” in comforting traumatized children, first responders, and caregivers following the events of 12/14.
“We worked so very hard to save Fred’s life. FIP is a diagnosis made by ruling out other diseases, as there is no test for it. We spent weeks seeing specialists and trying different treatments hoping the results would not tell us it was FIP,” said Kitten Associates President and Founder Robin A.F. Olson. “Fred was a charmer, his high leaps made children giggle with glee, but the FIP, over the past month, robbed Fred of being able to move at all.”
Ms Olson chronicled Fred’s struggles on her blog, www.coveredincathair.com.
Kitten Associates does not euthanize cats who need specialized veterinary care because the costs are too high, according to Ms Olson. Over $7,000 was raised online to help Fred.
“Everyone was rooting for Fred to survive. We had a saying; ‘Go, Team Fred!’” said Kitten Associates Vice President Sam Moore. “Tens of thousands of people knew about Fred’s story and many of them sent us messages of encouragement and love. We know if love cured illness, Fred would never have been sick for even a second.”
In honor of Fred’s passing, Kitten Associates is going to rename its “Boo-Boo & Sniffles Fund,” which they use for special veterinary care, “The Fred Fund,” said Ms Olson.
“Though I am devastated at losing Fred, a few people said to me that they thought maybe Fred had finished his work here and that the children who died in the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary needed him more,” Ms Olson explained. “That’s why, after Fred passed away, we tied a green and white bow around his neck so the children would know him when he arrives in Heaven.”
As a final gesture, Ms Olson and Mr Moore filled out and signed Fred’s adoption contract, formally adopting him as one of their own family. They wanted Fred to have what all Kitten Associates cats have—a forever home, even if in this case it was only for a day.
To donate to the Fred Fund, interested parties should email Kitten Associates at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 203-744-9CAT (9228). For more information about the Kitten Associates, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, visit www.kittenassociates.org.