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My Kitty Found Me at the Shelter

On my way into town one sunny Saturday in 2013, my car made an unexpected swerve to the right, opposite of where I intended to go, and I ended up at the local animal shelter. I had been wondering what I could do to make the upcoming cold weather any easier for the cats in this concrete block building with jalousie windows. Apparently, this would be the day I would ask shelter staff. As I was standing beside one of the cages, talking with a staff member, I felt claws in my sleeve. Unable to continue avoiding eye contact, I turned and saw the most adorable face with green eyes and a white bib. She clearly indicated that she planned to go home with me.

Getting another cat was not on the agenda. Already possessed by the sweetest cat I'd ever known, I was well aware of her desire to remain Queen of Sheba. No intention of expanding the tribe.

Green Eyes had other plans. She spoke plainly to me and I HAD to open the cage and hold her. It was just going to be for a minute. An alto purr thrilled me. He fur was sleek and shiny and she had a tail to be proud of. My heart melted. My head intervened and I asked for more information about her. She was one year old, had been spayed and was current on shots. She had been surrendered by an elderly gentleman who had entered a nursing home a month earlier. Many had looked at her but no one had taken her home.

Head ruled. I went home without her but could not get her out of my mind. Thirty-six hours later, when the shelter next opened its doors, I was waiting to be claimed by Green Eyes, who became known as Mitty. Of course, no one else had taken her...she and I were meant to be together.

Anne Ellis
Crossville, TN

Bandit, the Wonder Dog

We did NOT need another dog. We had already adopted 2 within a year and everyone was settled and we had it good! Our 2nd baby, Dash, wasn't the rough-houser our energetic Nola craved. Went to the local SPCA 'just to look'.... Most weren't OK with cats/other dogs, or kids, leaving few to choose from.

Bandit is a goofy ball of energy who we HAD to have after hearing his story. He'd been there for 6 months! "Bandy" was adopted and brought back twice before that even. The SPCA took him to the dog park, socialized him with their "Freedom Runners", taking the energetic dogs who need extra exercise for walks/runs. They brought him to every event/fundraiser and he loved and got along with everyone, animal and human alike.This was a major part of why we brought him home, as we needed a playmate for our other babies.

Bandit was anxious in his cage, therefore underweight from pacing constantly. His heart beat FAST and never calmed while he was locked up. He had chewed/licked parts of himself raw from stress, so took daily herbal calming pills to keep his anxieties under control.

After bringing him home, he seemed completely different! Bandit attacked our other dogs CONSTANTLY. His saving grace was that we couldn't stand to give up too quickly, and we loved him already. Most importantly, though his attacks were very scary and loud, he never actually bit/hurt them. 5 months in now, after LOTS of stress, patience, trial and error... he is doing wonderfully. He has developed a fear of strangers, especially adolescent boys. He's obviously protective and we'll keep working to ensure he doesn't scare house-guests with his show of aggression (thankfully it IS just a show). He and Nola play constantly, he doesn't attack the dogs anymore, and NEVER has hurt anyone. Poor Bandit lived in a cage for over 1/2 of his 2 years. Of course there will be an adjustment period! We are so happy to have this cuddly, happy boy in our lives, and promise him he'll NEVER live in a cage again.

Northumberland, PA

My Peace of Mind

I'd always had pets growing up. But my first cat was definitely my mom's cat. I think it was because I used to pick her up more than she liked, and she never really seemed to warm up to me. I still loved her, of course. But I moved away to college and I was without a pet for years. It was really lonely. All I wanted was my own lapcat.

I moved in with my fiance but we weren't allowed to have pets. We lived there for a year and a few months before we had the fire. I was home alone, and I was asleep. Luckily, I woke up and was able to get out alive, thanks to a neighbor and some firemen but not without a cost: 15% of my skin and definitely my peace of mind.

After a year, we had saved up enough money to get our own place again. My fiance promised me a cat while I was in the hospital having surgery on my burns. So, the first thing we did after finding an apartment, was go to the local shelter. We had seen some of the kittens online, and we were there to see some of them in particular. But, the second we walked into the cat room, my eyes couldn't leave his little fuzzball who kept mewling non-stop and reaching out for me. We saw the other kittens, but this one stuck to me. I could tell he'd already chosen me and I chose him right back.

We brought him home. He cured my loneliness, sure, but he did more than that. For a while, I was uneasy about being left alone in the apartment. I was uneasy about even going to sleep, thinking a fire might suddenly erupt in my home. But he was always there, sensing something was wrong, and ready to snuggle up to me and help me feel better. He's definitely rescued me from my own mind.

(Photos: 4 months - 10 months)

Terre Haute, IN

Sparklet, a gift from Heaven

On Friday, May 16th, 2014, I heard a meowing from our backyard. I asked my husband, and he said it might be a neighbor's kitten. After walking my daughter to school, I kept hearing the meowing and went to check. As soon as I opened the door, a thin, little and hungry tuxedo kitten ran to my legs and rubbed against them. I gave it a wiener, that was instantly devoured and as it kept meowing, gave it some milk. I sent a picture to my husband, asking if he has seen the little kitten before in the neighborhood. His answer was negative. I took the little kitten to my next door neighbor to check if it was theirs. The kitten was relaxed and calm, all comfortable in my arms. My neighbors said "No, it was not ours". I was already late for work, so I left the kitten safe in my backyard, with some food and water. "If it is still there when Rebeca comes from school, and as soon I come back home, we would take it to the vet for a check-up and anti-parasite medication". Rebeca was all happy when she found the kitten in the afternoon at our backyard. We took her to the nearby vet, and she confirmed it was a female kitten about 2.5 month old, a little underweight, but otherwise healthy. Rebeca named her "Sparklet" (Chispita in Spanish). And also that there were no reports of a missing kitten.

Even though I have had many pets in the past, I've never had a cat before. I have said, that if one day I have a cat, I would prefer it mostly black, with green eyes. And Sparklet (Chispita) is all I have wanted in a cat and more.

Since I am Catholic, my husband says that Sparklet was a special deal from Saint Francis of Assisi to me. I truly believe she is a gift from Heaven. She is a very special, lovely cat. She makes us laugh everyday and have different ways to play with each of us.

Ana Jimenez
San Joaquin de Flores, Heredia, Costa Rica

Agnes, my saint

Our story began the same day she was "owner surrendered" at the local shelter I volunteer. The same day I tried to convince her owner not to leave her there...that little or no chance to adoption would be possible. that she could get sick over there... My predictions were awfully accurate : that beatiful long-haired white cat refused to eat for the next weeks, each day i would visit and she wouldn´t move, she was simply there as if she waited her end to come. 4 weeks later, 1kg less, and a lot of fuss over the internet...I got someone who would adopt her or so I thought...18 days later and when chronic renal failure was diagnosed, her so called adopter was ready to put her down. This perfect and fragile 1.8kg snowball was being abandoned one more time. I decided or should i say I was forced by the circumstances to foster, to give her one more try. Agnes was nearly breathing when I brouught her home, she was not eating, she was surrendered. Sleepless nights of an endless week would follow, until one day she started to eat on her own, one bite at the time- This foster home became her permanent home after a couple of months, after all, her disease wouldn´t let her live long neither normal,right? Over a year has passed since my saint and I are sharing our lives. Agnes taught me well not to give up, not even when everything around tells you the opposite. She is my little miracle.

Veronica Isa
tucuman, Argentina

My Best Friend

Labor Day weekend, 2007, my husband finally relented to my pleas for us to adopt a dog. We had recently moved into our first house and all we needed was a furry friend to make our home complete. That following Thursday, I had the day off so I was checking online for adoptable dogs. I found Fizgig's picture on the local dog pound's website and immediately knew he was the one. I hurried to the pound to meet him and sign up to adopt him. The next Wednesday, September 12, 2007 was his adoption day, and I rushed out of work to get him by 5:00, our designated time to meet. When we first brought him home, he had skin allergies, chronic ear infections, kennel cough, a hernia, and trust issues. He bit us many times and would hide from us behind furniture. We never gave up on him, and gave him the space, patience, and love that he needed. Soon he was my constant companion and cuddle buddy. We went everywhere together; running errands, to the park, to my parents' house, my sister's house, and even on vacation. We played fetch and went for daily walks. His trust issues disintegrated, but he continued to have health problems throughout his life, and we made frequent trips to the vet. About a month ago, after our most recent vet visit, we figured out he had a bad heart. The vet gave us heart medication, and he was like a puppy again, playful and full of energy. However, last week we went back to the vet to discover he had developed pneumonia. On April 9, 2015 he passed away at home, in my arms. We buried him outside our bedroom, right next to where his dog bed was, since the bedroom was his favorite place to be. I miss him every day but am so grateful to have had 7 1/2 years with the love of my life!

Newington, CT

Hex, the cat who never gave up.

The first picture was the first I saw of Hex, from his litter's "free to a good home" ad. I was taken by the zest I saw in those ice blue eyes immediately. When I visited the litter, I explained that he would be a playmate for another kitten, Jinx, who was older, and I'd need a kitten that could keep up. The lady pointed to the same little guy I'd loved on that ad and said "You need HIM!"

"Like fate", I though, as we drove home.

His eyes told the truth. His hobbies were climbing furniture, stealing things, and skittering them across the floor with an upbeat chirp. But even greater than his rambunctiousness was his heart. He developed the habit of putting his front paws up on my knees, like a child asking to be held. I always gave in, and he'd wrap his arms around me like he never wanted to let go, his tail as puffy as a porcupine. He grew so fast, and soon I was daydreaming about the day I'd come home to them in six years with a medical degree and a dream accomplished.

That was nearly taken from us. The second picture is the last taken before the illness. He was puking white foam often and wouldn't eat. I rushed him to the vet to find out that his GI-tract had stopped working. Due to his playfulness, we assumed he'd ingested something. Surgery proved us wrong. Before I knew it, the vet was sending me home with a very sick cat, no answers, and little hope.

But Hex wasn't done.

After weeks of syringe-feeding, I the baby steps began. First was grooming, then drinking, then a little soft food, then purring and snuggling. Soon, he was eating kibble and playing again. I never gave up and neither did he. I cried tears of joy. My spunky boy survived. He's fine now, as if it all never happened, but things like this make you appreciate what you have. Give your cat a hug today. You never know when you might lose them.

Misty Beason
Weaver, AL

Gracie found me and changed my life

Early September 2014, I was heading home from a meeting with colleagues in North Hollywood. I was offered a ride, but on that night I just felt like walking. I was passing some funky apartments on Cahuenga when I heard the unmistakable sound of a kitten crying out. I went toward the sound and found a tiny kitten, under a fence in the driveway of one of the apartments. I approached and she ducked under the fence.

I panicked. Knowing how dangerous and terrifying it is for kittens out on their own, I was desperate to succeed. I went around the fence, thinking I was already too late. But there she was! A tiny, filthy, beautiful kitten. I slowly approached her, hoping against hope that she wouldn't bolt and disappear forever. She didn't. She let me pick her up! She smelled--well, let me just say I've never smelled anything quite like what was wafting off her fur. I held her close and walked off. I knew right away I was taking her home to stay!

As I walked down Magnolia Blvd people kept looking at this little kitten I had. I was so happy to tell them I'd just found her and was going to keep her. We cruised into Ralph's supermarket where I picked up some flea shampoo, food and litter. The check-out guy wasn't pleased, but whatever. We split and went home! I gave her a bath, turning the bathwater into a tepid swamp full of dead fleas. Then she ate a ton of kitten food, had a nice jaunt in her new litterbox and passed out! I named her Gracie after George Burn's wife, Gracie Allen. She needed a good L.A. name! Now we're best pals and I couldn't be happier. Thank you, Gracie, for finding me.

Alexander Prendergast
North Hollywood, CA

Reunited At Last :)

8 years ago, I fell in love with an energetic, teeny-tiny, gray ball of fur at a local kill shelter. She was the runt of her litter but she didn't let that stop her as she repeatedly climbed over her litter mates and quickly scaled the bars of her cage, following my every move while meowing at me loudly, desperate to get my attention. After I played with her at the shelter for at least 30 minutes, the shelter manager told me she was born with only three feet and would likely have a hard time getting adopted. I couldn't believe her... that little kitten was faster than all the other four-legged kittens!!!

I took her home that day and she quickly became my best buddy. She slept on me every night and spent most of the day draped over my shoulder or following me around so closely that I often almost tripped on her. She was the most affectionate cat I've ever met. I named her Bunny because when she wasn't flying around "crazy-kitten style", she hopped like a rabbit due to her missing foot. Two years later, I had to suddenly move out-of-state due to my father's unexpected death. I couldn't take Bunny, so I left her with my ex-boyfriend, thinking he would take good care of her. Unfortunately, several years later, I learned he was leaving her outside during the harsh winters and hadn't taken her to the vet since I left the state. I quickly drove several states to rescue her again. When I arrived, she was sickly, had putrid diarrhea, was terrified of everything, and was severely matted.

After a serious grooming session, several vet visits, lots of medicine, high quality food, and lots of patience and love, Bunny is once again a happy confident cat, is rarely out of my sight, follows me around non-stop while "chirping" at me, sleeps on top of me at night while purring loudly, and is almost always touching me. I wish I could tell her not to worry... she's home for good this time.

Tampa, FL

Healed by love

I wasn't looking for another cat. My boyfriend and I already had 2. In August of 2014, someone had dropped off a tiny kitten in my boyfriend's sister's driveway - just dumped it there. I had to see her- I'm not that fond of girl cats but he said she was so tiny and one of her eyes was sort of closed and I just felt like I needed to see her. I did, and we took her home.

She was only 2 months old, if that. She weighed just a little over a pound. She was very under fed and her eye was in bad shape. She was so tiny that I was worried that she would not make it. But she did. She was eating and drinking everyday. I gave her medicine for her eye and made sure I wiped any excess fluid off it. As months went by she got better and better. She is now a heathly little girl - as you can see from the before and after pictures.

She often pestures her 2 brothers and she rules the entire household, including her humans - so I named her Gemma (after my favorite Sons of Anarchy character) and we love her. I am so proud I found her because I am helping her grow into a beautiful cat. I can't imagine my life without her. She fits right in with our little family.

Slidell, LA
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