Ken Pope

Everyone--human, dog, or cat--who saw Westwind fell in love with her.

When we adopted her, they told us she had less than 30% of reaching her first birthday.

a little black cat looks up at you


She'd been born with dysautonomia, chronic disorder of the autonomic nervous system, and megaesophagus: her muscles failed to move food and water through her enlarged stomach.

We built a little contraption so that she could eat with her body as close to vertical as possible, and then would carry her in a vertical pouch for 20-30 minutes after she ate so that gravity could move the food downward. (Any other position brought great risk that she would aspirate food and liquid into her lungs, leading to pneumonia and other complications.)

Her first birthday marked one of 11 years she lived as past of our family, beating the odds.

As soon as we brought her into our home, she made it her business to snuggle with each of the special needs dogs and cats who live as part of our family.

At night she would crawl up on your chest to sleep, purring happily.

She was the most resilient cat we've seen -- nothing seemed to slow her down, not a gallop in her heart, not the removal of part of her lung, not progressive leukocytosis, not gastrointestinal lymphoma, which was treated successfully for years with oral chemo and then, when the oral meds quit working, with injectable chemo.

She passed away unexpectedly in her sleep at home in our bed, coughing once then five labored breaths and she was gone, likely a catastrophic event of some sort.

Here are some photos of Westwind with a few of her friends.

Westwind snuggling with Dharma, a dog with an atypical seizure disorder:

a little black cat snuggles with a white dog

Here she snuggles up to Faith, a blind cat who was rescued after being hit by a car. Jonah, a cat who lost his front leg because of abuse, looks on from the window sill. Behind them, Winter, a white cat with lymphoma, sleeps.

a little black cat nuzzles in a window sill with 3 other cats

Westwind hangs out with Wendy, a cat with feline immunodeficiency virus and osteosarcoma:

2 cats share a window sill

Westwind spends time with Argos, an elderly dog found dehydrated, without functional hearing or sight, hardly able to stand, covered with heavily matted fur so deeply caked with filth that they'd had to shave him.  That's Dharma in the background:

a little black cat sits next to an elderly blind dog

Westwind shares a nice moment with Timmy, a 2-legged cat a vet had been asked to put down:

a little black cat touches noses with a 2-legged orange cat in a window

Westwind shares window time with Reiver, a cat born with cerebellar hypoplasia:

2 cats stretch out in the window

Here's a link to the family of special needs dogs & cats who live in our home


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