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Saving my sweeties

My husband was not a cat person.

But before we got married I demanded a cat to his dog. My Regina (the little queen, a black calico/tortie) came from a hoarding situation. at least 8 indoor dogs, and 6 indoor cats. Many more were outside. I adopted her, and her twin sister Georgina. Unfortunately Georgina fell to an illness before I could take her home.

Reggie needed a friend, and so, I adopted my black cat Claudia on the week of Halloween about a year later. She was a wal-mart kitten. Blind from an illness in her eyes, we spent nearly $200 to fix her vision within the first month of her being at our house.

Now they are the best of friends, and my husband can't deny the cuteness of a ball of cats in his lap after a hard day. The dog still gives them about a 6 foot span though. I couldn't ask for better pets, they are trusting and loving to an extreme. I can't walk by Reggie without her licking my nose (giving kisses); and Claudia, who we call the kitten more often than not, is a little special, and loves to shove her nose up her owners nostrils as her form of kisses.

I wouldn't trade them for the world.

Lake Ozark, MO

Little Jack

We heard from the neighbor girls that there was a cat living under our deck. We finally were able to see it the middle of October, which was still warm in MN. He/she was friendly but cautious. I fed the kitty and then didn't see it for about two weeks. The next time I saw it, it followed me into the house. This was a good thing because it got really cold within a week of that. Because we had four other cats, we kept this one away until we could figure out the next step, which, of course, was a 5th cat. We thought it was a pregnant female because of the big belly, but it turned out to be a starving male. The vet told us he was about 3 or 4 years old and had been outside for about two years. He has three and half legs (the back left is only half, but he was born that way). His ears are folded from the cold and mites and one of them is half-way missing. He has permanent scratches on his face and his shoulders from fights. He is gnarly through and through, but he is the sweetest, most affectionate little guy. He sleeps every night next to my husband's head. We saved him and he has been nothing but joy. Little Jack.

Forest Lake, MN

Mary Read, Pirate Cat

In 2013, we sadly lost our little angel, Misty, to hyperthyroidism. In her last few months we had to administer subcutaneous fluids, which she hated. It was so difficult to say goodbye. She was such a well behaved little girl and always wanted to be in our company. She was 19 years old. We did not adopt right away and were a little hesitant about doing so because we wanted to adopt another little sweetheart like Misty who was always so attuned to us.

After 9 months we went to a couple of shelters and were so overwhelmed by the many cats needing homes that we left empty handed, but there was one little girl that we couldn't stop thinking about. While most of the cats were roaming the cattery, a few were in cages for various reasons. There was this small, one-eyed, black cat in a cage having a grand time batting a toy around all by herself. Mary Read (named after a female pirate) had been attacked by a dog and lost her eye as a result. We returned the next week and asked to see her and the moment my husband and I held her we knew we would be taking her home. She immediately nuzzled my neck and licked me, claiming me as her own. She fits in so well with us that we feel as if we have always known her.

Cedar Knolls, NJ

Lulu's story

Our cat Jasmine was lonely after we moved, so we decided to get a kitten from the local Humane Society. When we arrived, they had just received a group of cats from a California shelter. The employees showed us to the kitten room and I immediately noticed a tiny little kitten hiding under a bench. All of the other kittens were running around and jumping on her, but she didn't seem to mind. We asked if we could visit with her and the workers tried to discourage us by telling us she was very shy and did not like people. We visited with a few other kittens but they just did not seem to be the "one". I asked for the tiny kitten one more time, and they brought her to us. She was so skinny, you could see every rib. She was shy at first, but when we pulled out a feather toy, she meekly came out from the corner to bat at it. Then she walked over to my leg, and gently rubbed her body along my leg. Then she walked to my daughter and my husband and did the same thing. It felt like she was telling us, "I choose you." We were hooked. I was so in love with her and so worried about her, my husband had to fill out the adoption papers without me because I didn't want to leave her side. We named her Lulu. When we took her home, she seemed very nervous and wouldn't eat at first. But, after a day and a taste of some wet food on my finger, she started to eat. A couple of days after that, she developed kennel cough. A couple of days after that she showed signs of ring worm and had to get medication for that. She had a very rough start but in the end, she became the sweetest, funniest, happiest kitty I have ever had. We love her so much, and we are so glad she picked us!

Vancouver, WA

Butterscotch Butterfly

I never planned on owning a cat. I am a dog person; always have been. Somehow they gravitate to me anyway. Our first cat had gotten extremely sick, and after a few stints in the kitty ICU with a "mysterious" neurological disorder, I finally accepted the fact that it was unfair to subject her to further trauma. So two days after 9/11 when she again got extremely ill, we allowed her to go peacefully. I often wonder if she sent our next kitty to us.

A few months later, another cat started hanging out at our house, in the bushes. She was so friendly that our neighbor's 1-1/2 year old would cart her around with hind paws dragging on the ground, without a hint of protest! One day his mom asked me if that was our cat. I responded "I thought she was yours" to which I was informed that their daughter was deathly allergic. It was then that we decided to keep her. I decided that with her wonderful disposition, that was the cat for me! Our son named her Butterscotch Butterfly. Off to the vet we went for shots and spaying. It was then that I was informed that "She" was approximately 2 years old, and was a emaciated (at 12lbs) neutered male! I tried as hard as I could to make him an indoor cat, but he never fully got used to that idea and would sneak out every chance he got! Tipping the scale at about 20lbs, he was always friendly and loving to all of us, always wanting to be with us and sleeping on my pillow each night. For fun he would lay on the coffee table swiping his paw at my dogs as they walked by.

We lost our beloved baby to a nasty tumor one year ago. It was devistating having to say goodbye to our angel after being together for 11 years. We love and miss you Butterscotch Butterfly, and we will never forget you!!

Laura Miceli
Ormond Beach, FL

Rescued in Israel

Last year we were living in Israel. Just 2 weeks before we left for Israel our 11 Year Old French Bulldog developed cancer and instead of moving to Israel we had to put her down. One week after we arrived there we saw daily postings for a French Bulldog that was lost and roaming the streets. She was undernourished and frightened when we adopted her. and brought her back to Florida. Today Chloe is happy, healthy and is a wonderful sister to our Long haired Chihuahua. It took a while to get her to follow commands as she did not understand English, only Hebrew, but she has now adapted and loves everyone.

Gary Rosenfeld
Bradenton, FL

Charlie's Story

A glance at a local shelter’s web site in 2012 changed my life and Charlie’s - a beautiful Pomeranian who had been returned 3 times and needed a forever home. I went to the shelter that same day and saw a dog that looked nothing like his picture. His last home had not groomed him so his beautiful coat had to be partially shaved; he still had mats, a yeast infection, fleas and walked with a limp. He was definitely going home with me. My vet said the limp was from an old injury that had affected the growth plate so we began pain meds. The pain worsened over the next few months so he was referred to the U of I Animal Clinic and admitted with preliminary diagnosis of meningitis. When the test results came back, everyone was surprised at the diagnosis-toxoplasmosis. After 4 months of antibiotics, he was finally healthy and feeling much better. Now Charlie gets laser therapy every 10 days plus medicines to help manage the pain in the leg and shoulder. Since he takes mid-day meds, he also goes to work with me and is the official office greeter. He is a special, well-loved dog and is now healthy and happy in his forever home. I can’t imagine my life without him.

Nancy Caldwell
Sherman, IL

Cats and Kittens Rescued From Iraq Combat Zone

Many of us have heard about dogs being rescued from the war zones in Iraq but few know that there is a wonderful group of people who are saving cats as well.

Alley Cat Rescue, the U.S. National Cat Protection Association picked up five kittens at the Washington Dulles International Airport. These lucky kittens were rescued and flown from Erbil, Iraq thanks to the efforts of a member of the U.S. Department of State Diplomatic Security Service. This means a second chance at life for these kittens.

Little did Tony and his colleagues know that their Diplomatic Mission in Iraq would include cats, but it did. They became involved in rescuing homeless cats and kittens. Their mission includes providing the homeless cats with food, vaccinations, spay and neuter when possible and a safe place to live until they can be flown out of the combat zone to new homes in the United States. So far these kindhearted and dedicated people have saved 20 cats.

The latest group of kittens and their mother came from Baghdad to be fostered for a few weeks until they could be sent to America.

Soon after they arrived at Erbil, the group noticed that the mothers belly seemed to be getting bigger. Upon further examination it was discovered that she was already pregnant with a second litter. The mother cat, Josie, gave birth to five more kittens.

They tried to fly the first litter of kittens in early July, but were unable due to cargo restrictions. They tried again in August but all commercial flights were cancelled due to terrorist threats.

Finally in December Josie and her first five kittens reached their foster homes in the U.S. A few weeks later the second litter made it to the U.S.

Alley Cat Rescue in Maryland, was able to foster five of the kittens and they will be available for adoption soon.

It is a tribute to the service men and women in combat zones that they care enough for the animals sharing their dangers to take the time and money to save these helpless cats.

Tony Sanganetti
Erbil, Iraq

"Dog People" Get Converted

My family has always had dogs. I love all animals, and I used to volunteer for the local SPCA, where I got my first real exposure to cats, and found I liked them more than I ever thought I would. Noticing that (at our SPCA at least) the adult cats seemed to take so much longer to find homes than the other animals, I decided that someday, when the time was right, I wanted to give an adult cat a home.

A few years later, after our beloved rescued dog passed away, I convinced my widowed mother, who I live with, that we should adopt a cat. Mom had a few reservations. She didn’t want a cat that was “stand-offish,” as the stereotype goes, and didn’t like the idea of a cat walking on her kitchen counters. When she learned that Ragdolls, a breed known for being very friendly, were also reputed to not like to jump or climb, she thought that would be perfect.

Usually, adopting a Ragdoll means getting on a breeder’s waiting list. Waiting on a kitten that hadn’t been born yet didn’t jive with my original desire to rescue an adult cat that needed a home. It took weeks of hunting on the internet, but I eventually found a 3-year-old Ragdoll up for adoption. She had been picked on by dogs in her previous home. The rescue group was a 3-hour drive from where we live, but only a ten-minute drive from where my brother’s family lives. We arranged to adopt Chelsea on our way out of town from visiting him.

Now, 2 years later, our sweet, affectionate Chelsea has both of us wrapped around her little paw. We both love her dearly. I often tease Mom when I see her stroking the cat curled up in her lap: “Oh, you don’t like cats.” She smiles. “I sure like THIS one,” she replies.

Raleigh, NC

Ziggy, our ninja and comedienne

In 2011, my husband and I had just one dog, Kirby, our boy boxer mix. He was my best buddy, but we could tell he missed his Kitty sister. So, we started volunteering with a rescue agency. Our neighbor was a volunteer with that group and was fostering a beagle mix girl dog named Missy. She told us she couldn't walk Missy because Missy liked to pull.

So, after some discussion between my husband and me, we decided we would take a chance on fostering Missy, as long as Kirby was okay with her. After a few passing bys, Kirby and Missy were okay with each other. We took Missy to Petsmart for the group's adoption events. She HATED it there and would bark non-stop. So, September 2011 we stopped taking her. Nobody wanted her, but my husband was getting attached to her and her wild ways. AND her refusal to listen to us and the simple commands we asked of her. LOL.

So, January 2012, my husband said he wanted to adopt Missy, even though he had a layoff coming by the end of February. So, we paid the adoption fee, changed her name to Ziggy (she likes to zig and zag on walks).

She has been a joy for us the past few years and we hope for many more.

***I still prefer my Kirby boy, since he was my heart. But Ziggy is good for many laughs.

Jessica L S.
Cincinnati, OH
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