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Nurture Heal Educate
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Shoreline, Washington

The Meaning of St. Francis

Written by Lora Schuldt, DVM.

In the 1200s, Francis of Assisi preached love and compassion for all creatures and inspired the current custom of the Blessing of the Animals. This service is often held on October 4th in Franciscan Catholic churches. One need not be a member of a congregation to value his message! In the veterinary community, images of St. Francis inspire us to tread carefully among animals and the environment they inhabit, and to value their needs as we value our own.

 Several years ago, we at Cats Exclusive were increasingly faced with difficult situations where a feline patient required medical help but the owner was unable to provide any of the care needed. Unfortunately, the reality in veterinary medicine is that thousands of pets are euthanized every year under such conditions. This is agonizing for the pet’s family, and veterinarians and staff sometimes find it emotionally impossible to carry out the euthanasia, especially when an animal has a curable or easily treated medical condition.

One such example is a fluffy grey kitty we’ll call Sam that was rushed into Cats Exclusive as an emergency. The owners had heard him in distress and were shocked to find that their young child had been playing with a power drill and had drilled into the cat’s side. Realizing the challenges of having young children, multiple cats, and a house remodeling project, the owners felt they could not handle the post-operative care and expenses related to the surgery Sam would require.

 Sam, and other kitties like him, inspired our formal establishment of the Cats ExclusiveSt. Francis Kitty-Harry St. Francis Fund. This fund allows us to give medical care to cats who are surrendered due to the owner’s inability to provide care for either physical or financial reasons. Beneficiaries of the fund are generally healthy cats with readily treatable conditions who are expected to recover and live a normal life after treatment. Because of these criteria, many of our St. Francis Fund kitties are young cats who have been the victims of trauma (e.g., being hit by a car). After successful treatment, we place these kitties up for adoption.

The St. Francis Fund has saved many patients who may have been euthanized otherwise. My mom adopted 2 kittens that were surrendered due to neurologic disease 12 years ago, Mookie and Ellie; they have been great companions to her. And Sam ended up doing very well and found a home with one of our veterinary technicians!

Our St. Francis Fund was set up to help some very special kitties in very specific situations, and cannot offer general financial aid or assist in adoption of unowned or stray cats needing homes. No-kill shelters such as PAWS are still the best resource for placing pets for adoption. We can provide some suggestions for managing your veterinary expenses (see How to Keep Veterinary Care Affordable) if your cat requires medical treatment that may pose a significant financial burden.

The primary reason that we publicize the existence of the St. Francis Fund is to encourage contributions. We are so incredibly grateful to the Cats Exclusive clients who have donated through the years, and we try to give regular updates on the kitties whose lives you have enriched so tremendously. Cats Exclusive doctors and staff are also major contributors to the fund, but it is always in need of additional financial help. We appreciate your help in this endeavor to help some sad situations end happily.

Learn for about The St. Francis Fund


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