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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

Leo's Story

I was happily shopping at a small store when a woman ran in and yelled "Who drives the silver Toyota? There's a cat in your engine." It turned out this lady had witnessed a small kitten almost get hit as he ran across a busy road. He took shelter under my car. When the kind woman bent down to try and get the kitten, he climbed up. By the time I popped the hood, the kitten had wedged himself behind the engine. I couldn't see anything but a tuft of dirty grey fur. It was hot out and the car hadn't been off that long. I got him out and immediately took him to the vet. The Dr. guessed that Leo( kitty's new name) was between 5 and 6 weeks old. Little Leo was bleeding, infested with every type of creepy crawly you could think of, had burns and appeared to be missing an eye, but the good news was that he was FIV and FELV negative and, in fact, had both eyes. One was just seriously infected.

After getting Leo healthy,we introduced him to our 2 older cats. They adopted him and showed him the feline ropes. It didn't take long until Leo was the perfect kitty. He was fun, tolerant, affectionate, responsive and he loved watching shows with me. His favorite was "My Cat From Hell". I kept him updated on all of his shots, and aside from his hard beginning, he seemed to be healthy vibrant cat. Then one day everything changed. I sat down with him after dinner and noticed his breathing didn't seem right. I ended up taking him to an emergency vet clinic. Two hours from when I noticed Leo's shallow breathing, the doctor was giving me the bad news. Leo was dying and his feline leukemia test was positive. I was devastated. Leo crossed the rainbow bridge just short of his first birthday.

I didn't know FIV and FELV tests are not completely reliable at 6 weeks. Had I known, I might have been able to help him live a longer life.

Amanda Whyman
Williamsport, PA

My Sweet Angel, My Love, Dexter

I do believe that everything happens for a reason.

It all started January 26th 2015. I wasn't looking to adopt, but, on my weekly trip to our local Petsmart I decided to look at the cats and kittens. I was just looking around when I came across a beautiful 7 month old white kitten named Casper (renamed Dexter). He was fast asleep sprawled out on his back. There was just something about him that drew me to him, I JUST HAD TO HOLD HIM. I scooped him up and nuzzled him close to me.. From that moment on it was pure love. He couldn't get enough rubbies. I knew he was special and that he needed to come home with me. When we first got him out of his cage we noticed that he had a cloudy eye. The adoption agency assured us that he was just born with it. But when I got him home and he started to settle in I noticed he was getting sick, so to the vet we went. They gave us the diagnoses of feline herpes. I was terrified. I didn't know what that meant, and how it would effect my other cats. The vet that we took him to made us feel like we had a sever epidemic on our hands. But with medication, Dexter got better. Throughout his short life with us he was constantly ill. He had skin problems, tummy problems, and the side effects of the herpes virus. And then came the worse of it all............ FIP. My poor baby could never get a break. But through all of this he was the most loving baby, he would grab your face and pull you close just for kisses. He always meowed with a smile.

We had to have him put down Saturday April 18th 2015, just shy of being 10 months. I believe that we rescued him to give him a loving and stress free home for his final days on this earth. Not only did we rescue him, he also rescued us. He was the sweetest little angel ever.

Kathleen, GA
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