A Message from Dr. Monica Rudiger

August 2020

Dear Nine Lives Supporters,


It is with a heavy heart that I announce the necessity of my retirement as Chief Veterinarian at the end of this calendar year. 


As many of you may already know, I have been struggling with health issues for nearly a decade and, more recently, had to take a few months of leave to recover from my ongoing illness. I have a rare zoonotic disease called neurobartonellosis, a form of cat scratch disease that primarily affects the central nervous system.  As a veterinarian for 21 years with a focus on cats and cat medicine, I have had constant exposure to kittens and cats, which put me in the path of this devastating condition. It’s a hazard of the profession—but a risk I gladly have taken in exchange for an incredible career.


My career as a veterinarian has not been just my job, but a passion that has driven me every day to push through the severe headaches, fatigue and balance issues characteristic of this condition so that I could continue to care for needs of our cats and kittens--something my doctors and even family have found difficult to understand.  Sadly, though, I realize as a health professional that it is time now for me to start taking care of my own health and allow my immune system to recover. 


These past 16 years with the Nine Lives Foundation have been the most rewarding years of my life, allowing me to pursue my passion for rescue medicine, perfect my surgical skills and continually learn and develop new protocols to treat cat diseases and injuries. More than 20,000 lives have been saved and nearly 100,000 cats and kittens have been fixed since the start of Nine Lives in 2004!  The chance to save lives every day is an unimaginable gift and I feel incredibly blessed for this opportunity. The task now is to create a new team of veterinarians and staff to continue the mission of Nine Lives so that we can continue to create a lasting impact on the community. 


What the new Nine Lives Foundation will look like in 2021 is a work in progress. The Board of Directors and I have been working together over the past weeks to develop new ideas and strategies to restructure and grow the foundation in my absence.  In addition, the Board is now undertaking a professional, formal search for a new veterinarian.


We are counting on you, our supporters and community of cat lovers and rescuers, to help support the new Nine Lives so that we can continue to save lives and help cats all over Northern California. The Nine Lives Foundation has always been a community-based organization and we hope you stay by our side as we move forward.  Our perseverance and commitment to the cats has helped guide us in the past and will continue to do so as we reshape our new future!


Truly, it has been my life’s dream to focus my career on the mission of the Nine Lives Foundation. Thank you to everyone who made this possible. I could not have done any of this without support from all of you.


All the best,

Dr. Monica Rudiger

Founder and Chief Veterinarian

Nine Lives Foundation

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