In Memory of Koal

Koal’s story with us began with a text that came in on October 10th at 7:10pm… “Got one, on my way”.

Koal was born in the summer of 2022 to a stray momma cat who frequented an area near the Food Bank in Airdrie. A very kind volunteer from the food bank, Susan, would ensure the stray cats and kittens had food and water left out for them. She waited with earnest hope for us to have room to take in the kittens, as our shelter, like most of Canada, was at over-capacity. She would spend many nights, especially when it started to get cold, out in the dark trying to catch the kittens. They were all very timid and would run away. She was able to catch Koal’s brother, Prancer, on October 8th.  Then on October 10th at 7:10pm she texted me, “Got one, on my way”.

We met at the shelter and transferred this terrified, hissing, little black kitten from his kennel into the same shelter kennel as his brother, Prancer. Susan asked, “Can you please call him Koal”?

Koal and Prancer were so scared. After their isolation period, we put them into one of our kitten rooms with 5 smaller kittens. Very soon, Koal and Prancer were cuddling with them, but they still did not play like the other kittens did. They would hide in the cubbies when the volunteers came in.

On December 13th, Koal and Prancer went into foster care with Tammy, who has a special touch with shy and afraid kittens. And her magic worked once again. 

“Koal came to me in the middle of December as a scared, timid little boy. But after only a few short days, he realized he was safe and loved and the cuddles didn’t stop after that.”

“He would wait for me to come into the kitten room each morning, sitting at the door. He would cry until I picked him up and wanted to be always in my arms.”

“When I would sit on the carpet to pet the other kittens, he would gently push his way through and take his spot on my lap, where he would remain, purring and rolling around until it was time for me to go.”

On January 25th, Tammy called me from the vet – Koal was not doing well. He was losing control of his back legs, lethargic, jaundiced and in pain. Tests were done and then Tammy took him home. She knew it was serious and spent these remaining days holding Koal and kissing him and comforting him. We didn’t know the diagnosis, but his condition came on quickly and deteriorated quickly. 

This little kitten, black as coal and as sweet as sugar, was not destined to linger long on this earth. On Saturday, January 25th, we said good-bye to Koal. Tammy’s heart was broken. He was one of the most precious kittens she had ever fostered, and she has fostered many. 

Koal came into the world a stray, scared, hungry kitten – facing many dangers. He was rescued through the efforts of many people – Susan who rescued him and brought him to Tails to Tell. The volunteers who cared for him at the shelter. And by Tammy, who gave him a loving home with his brother and his kitten friends. Koal’s life was too short, but Tammy filled it with love and cuddles, and gave him a place to play and be safe. Her love surrounded him as he left this world and crossed the rainbow bridge.

“Koal was the gentlest soul. He loved cuddling and grooming the other kittens and would watch from a chair while they played. He was the most loveable boy I have ever had the pleasure of fostering.”

“The most amazing quality of an animal rescuer is in their willingness to love again and again, even when letting go hurts so much. Their focus in on the animals who need saving, and they expose their tender hearts to those joys and sorrows daily”. – Donna Pearce