Gentle Giant Big Ben

Big Ben was one of six cats trapped across from Santiam Christian in Adair Village. A bird lover/cat hater had contacted the county, demanding the cats be killed, the county obliged this man, despite there being no ordinance about free roaming cats, and gave the two women who fed them a few weeks to remove them. When Ben and another of the cats tested positive for FIV they came to OCO where they would be safe for life. Big Ben loved to play nanny to kittens when we'd get a batch--giving them baths and protecting the small ones from other grumpy adult cats. In return, when those kittens grew up they would stick close to Ben, even following him around the sanctuary like a little parade. And Ben's love for people was tremendous too, though his being a 20-pounder made it hard for folks to carry him around much!

Unfortunately, now it is time to say goodbye to Big Ben and my heart hurts to think about life in the sanctuary without this lovable, kind, sweetheart of a big guy.

Turns out Bennie had cancer... and he hid it well. I thought he was just suffering from a cold brought on by the change in the weather and had taken him in on May 16th to get a dose of antibiotics to help him get over it. So I was completely surprised to see him stagger and fall 10 days later--the cancer had blinded him in one eye! That was just last Wednesday. Thursday he saw the Animal Eye Doctor who told me he had a mass behind the eye... and that she felt he had cancer in his brain and his right kidney was lumpy too.

The cancer was aggressive... and painful for him, yet Big Ben still responded to my voice and touch with love. He was blind at the end, but would turn his head toward me, sniff, then move close enough to rub his face against mine. And, he would knead my arm like a big baby kitty too.

We eased Big Ben across the Rainbow Bridge yesterday evening... R.I.P. my treasure.

~ Keni