Today’s patient story features a special kitty named Mr. Peepers, or Peeps for short. Mr. Peepers is one of our oncology patients here at VCA SFVS, and his human companions are Vanessa and Nathaniel.
After being diagnosed with leukemia in 2011, Mr. Peepers found out earlier this month that his leukocyte count is now that of a normal, healthy cat who has never had cancer. Go, Peeps!
Now, read Mr. Peepers’ story, as written by his mom, Vanessa. This older cat proves that it’s never too late to learn new tricks (harness/leash walking, anyone?) – or get some great news from the veterinarian.
Mr. Peepers was one lucky kitten. He was abandoned at birth, but fortunately he was rescued by Nathaniel’s mother and sister-in-law from the Grass Valley Animal Shelter in Nevada County at two weeks old. He was fed with a dropper and was so small that after he learned to walk, he could squeeze under closed doors!
He grew up with two large Malamute brothers, Ben and Sam, and because of them he has always felt comfortable around dogs. He didn’t learn to meow properly until late in life, and because the only noise he could make was a small “peep” sound, he earned the name Mr. Peepers, and his nickname, “Peeps.”
Peeps lived the life of an adventurer for thirteen years in the Sierra Nevadas. In addition to two dog brothers, he had countless kitty friends that came and went. As a mostly outdoor cat, Peeps was free to roam on the four-acre property, and because it was unfenced, sometimes roamed much farther and had many encounters with the local wildlife. One time as he was sitting in the driveway, his adoptive mother looked over and noticed that he was staring intently at something and “peeping” at it…and it turned out to be a full-grown rattlesnake! The snake shook its rattle at him, but Peeps didn’t run away. He charmed the rattler, and the snake slithered away, leaving brave Peeps unharmed. His favorite spot at his Grass Valley home has always been shaded under the rosemary bush, right next to the house at the top of the driveway. On hot summer days, you could always find him snoozing there.
After Vanessa and Nathaniel got married and moved into the Grass Valley house, Vanessa had the chance to spend time with Peeps and fell in love with him. Nathaniel had always loved him, and had lived with Peeps for many years at the Grass Valley home.
When they decided to move to San Francisco to finish college, they asked if they could bring Peeps with them to try out the cosmopolitan life of a retired kitty in the city. Everyone agreed, and so Peeps began his big adventure to San Francisco! Vanessa thought leaving his freedom in the mountains might break his spirit, but Mr. Peeps took to city life very well, partly because at the ripe old age of 14, he learned to walk on a leash with a harness. Who says old cats can’t learn new tricks? He loves going for walks, and he trots along just fine, occasionally stopping to nibble some grass or flop down in a patch of sunshine.
In 2011 he was diagnosed with leukemia but as of June 18th, his leukocyte count is that of a normal, healthy cat again after almost two years of prednisone and chemotherapy treatments. Hurray!
He can always be found snoozing on Vanessa and Nathaniel’s bed or in any patch of sun available, and he loves to go for walks. His favorite treat in the whole world is toasted nori (seaweed). He goes crazy for it! He also enjoys eating mashed avocado, salad greens, prosciutto, salami, hummus, and Indian naan bread (though he doesn’t get most of those very often). In fact, he loves all kinds of bread, but is on a grain-free diet so he doesn’t get to eat it much. At Halloween he loves to chew on raw pieces carved from pumpkins, and dress up as The Cat in the Hat.
He is extremely talkative, sassy and opinionated. He will always insist on having the last word in a conversation and believe me, he will “talk” with you and answer you forever!
He was born with a spot on his left shoulder shaped exactly like a heart, and it was serendipitous because he truly is an angel kitty–it would be hard to find a sweeter, more loving cat.
He spends each night curled up on Vanessa’s pillow, or curled between Vanessa and Nathaniel under the covers, letting Vanessa hug him like a teddy bear. He is generous with kisses, and will give them to anything placed under his nose, be it a finger, elbow or another nose!
Though he turns 15 this year, he plans on having many more full and exciting years ahead of him.
Want to stay up-to-date on Mr. Peepers? You can – this kitty has his own Facebook page.
Would you like your dog or cat to be featured in our Patient Stories series? Please email us for information. We look forward to hearing from you!