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Rock bottom to First Class! My furrever home finally came.

Hello, my name is Gracie and I am 13 years old. I had a long road finding my furrever home. My first 2 years were awful. I was dumped at the airport in Garden City, KS. l was there for almost a year! It was so hard to find water, and thunderstorms were scary! One day a friendly looking lady got off a flight and she had food! I was so hungry! The lady picked me up and took me home. I was safe and full for the first time in a long time! Good thing that I was in a safe place, because I was pregnant. After having my kittens, I thought this would be by furrever home, but my new mom had lupus and she could not keep me. It was sad for me because I like to sleep next to my human.

My pet mom’s friend had a daughter; I let her pet me once, although I was scared of anyone else. Her husband was not sure about getting a cat, but he gave in and I went to my new home. I ended up being a birthday present for my new cat mom, Andrea. I am sure that I won over my cat dad, Todd, by slowing coming up to him and sniffing him on the nose after work each day. Something I still do almost every day. It makes him happy.

I now have my humans trained to give me treats when I want them and wet food as a treat! I have a heated cat bed on my human’s bed for the winter! I have numerous kitty condos! I love my furrever home! I am a lucky kitty! I am so happy in my home and I snuggle with my pet parents every night.

Andrea Sandoval
Hays, KS

Houdini - The Kitten Magician!

My friend lives in an apartment complex and we were unloading her car from a trip. It's almost 2am and, miraculously, between thunderstorms. As I was getting the last of my things I heard the cry of a kitten. It took us a few seconds to figure out where the noise was coming from; the car parked right next to hers. Using the flash on her phone my friend managed to locate the kitten on the muffler. The light scared him and he jumped down and ran off into some nearby woods. My heart sank. Luckily, he was still meowing his little head off. I knew that he was saying, "I'm hungry, lost, scared, and nobody cares!" I couldn't leave him. My friend owns cats so she got some cat food. We spent about 45 minutes luring the kitten out of the woods. He fought me at first when I grabbed him, but he soon calmed down. No way was this kitten feral. He wasn't that dirty and seemed a good weight for his size. He had a major flea problem, though.

So I took him home and gave him a bath and spoiled him with attention and affection. And I fell in love. He loves to play and the first time he gave me a kitten headbonk my heart was sold. I couldn't keep him, though I wanted to very badly. Well, it turns out my grandmother was considering getting a kitten, since her cat passed away last year. So I called her and she wanted to meet him!

She liked him, even though he pulled a disappearing act on her that first night. The next day my father, sister, and I took him to the vet who said he's about 9 weeks old, weighs 2.1 lbs, and looked great for a stray. My sister took him back to the truck while we paid the bill. With doors closed and windows up, he almost escaped into a small opening in the floorboard!

Thus, the name Houdini; master escape artist, ventriloquist, and con-artist of the human heart :).

Samantha
Huntsville, TX

Frankie - Bayview's lifeline

Frankie resides at Bayview Retirement Community's Health Center in Queen Anne, Seattle. Frankie was rescued after his owner passed away. He was at a facility in Kingston when we saw his photo and adoption information online. He was 2 and a half years old when he came to live with us at Bayview. At first he was quite scared and shy. He stayed in the office for the first few weeks. Then he gradually became a "regular" at activity programs. Later on, he started exploring the halls and began visiting residents in their rooms. Several times he has done vigils with the dying of his own accord.

As seen in the photo, Frankie initiated a vigil with this gentleman, visiting him up to 6 times per day until his passing. The resident was missing his own cat, so Frankie provided an available substitute. Towards the end of his journey, Frankie sat on the resident's chest and put his arms around him. The family of the resident said that having Frankie there really eased his pain.

Frankie is more than just a cat at Bayview Retirement Community. He has taught us about peace, joy, and living in the now. He moves quietly but his impact is bigger than life.

Lynn Arntuffus
Seattle, WA

M'aiq, the cat who won the Life lottery

I was coming home with my mother when suddenly a heavy rain starts. We stopped in a roadside mall to wait for a bit. It was really cold which is uncommon in the city. Inside I noticed some people pointing at something between two plants. A dirty, soaked and malnourished little cat mas trembling. I couldnt leave this angel freeze to death. Asked my mother for $10 to buy a towel to dry the cat. I went to a store to get something do dry him. I took him in my hands and started drying him, while petting it. I feared that I had arrived too late - then I heard a faint purring, the most sweet sound I've ever heard. I looked at his little amber eyes and I realized that if I didnt help him, nobody would - people were laughing hard at me for holding a dirty kitten like it was a baby.

At home, I set a warm place in my room, got some food from my mother's cats and made a bed for him. I didnt trust people to simply deliver him to someone else. He ate, drank some water. Next day we took him to a vet. Malnourition led to rickets, really watery blood - the vet had to take blood from his jugular vein. She said he was at maximum 3 months old. Besides his condition, he was active, purring, playing. There were no apparent signs of FiV or FelV. Bought meds and a special food for him. My flight was already set for the next day, I couldnt take him with me yet. I asked my mom to treat him while I was out. Every week she sent me photos of the cat.

A month later, he was completely different from when I found him. He got toys, a nice transport bag and I finally brought him with me to my home in the other state. Now he has 3 people pampering him, giving gifts and caring for him. He's becoming a happy spoiled fattie, with a family that really loves him.

Juliana Dias
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Dropped off from above

I am not sure what happened. I was very little and one moment I was in this big car and the next I was sitting in the middle of a road. The car sped off just as another car approached and it scared me so bad that I made a dash across the road and right in front of the car. The car almost missed me, clipping the side of my face and tearing my lower lip from my gums. I flew into a bunch of brambles and was so scared I couldn't move at all, only mew loudly in pain and fright. Suddenly, I heard someone saying "Oh, my God, oh no, oh kitty, here kitty, kitty, it's ok, just come to me." I didn't know what to so I stayed put and kept mewing loudly.That's when a pair of hands swooped around me and then I was being held against a warm chest. Little did I know that it was my new mommy's birthday, and that I was a gift from Heaven. The vet said my lower lip could not be reattached so I would always have a pout. They did a lot to nourish me and keep me alive, and I even had the vet and her assistant laughing because I wouldn't stop purring long enough for them to hear my breathing. I grew up with four other kitties and played and romped all the time. Now, I'm big (some even say I'm fat) and healthy and still love to run around and cause havoc wherever I go. My mommy and daddy love me very much and I am so glad that I was abandoned so I could find my true forever family.

Amelia
Terre Haute, IN

Darling's Little Darlings

I was living with my grandparents, waiting to leave for Boot Camp, when she showed up on our doorstep. She was small, about 1 1/2 years old, and the sweetest, most loving little girl we'd ever met - so we named her Darling. She was obviously pregnant, so we made sure to not let her have contact with our other cats - they had feline lukemia, we weren't about to let her unborn babies be affected by that. She came ever morning and evening, feeding time, for a month before she lost the baby-weight. It was obvious that she'd had them and that they were alive though - she was still coming around at mealtime, and was hanging low (sign of feeding babies).

I'm not sure how long, it was maybe about 2 months or so, and she did not come for breakfast. Later that day, I was out on the closed-in porch playing with the other cats when I heard loud mewing. I looked at the door, surprised. She was such a quiet thing, had never meowed much if at all - and here she was meowing loud enough to be heard through the porch door! I figured she was just hungry, so I grabbed a handful of food, opened the door, and reached to put the food in her dish. However, she hopped off the steps and started running for the woods instead of eating. I stood up and looked at her, confused - and she stopped and looked back at me...then she came back a bit and mewed again. I then realized she wanted me to follow her! So, I did. Every time I slowed up to move around something, she'd get impatient and mew again. Soon, we were at a pile of branches - and there in that pile were 4 kittens. Eyes and ears open, it was tough getting them out - my hands got scratched and bit. But I did, and took them straight home. I couldn't find pics of one of the babies, but got her and the other 3!

Twyla McKee
McMinnville, TN

My Lulu Puddinhead Cox

I was about down as a person could be. Trying to redeem myself for a DUI that cost me my license, my car, my savings, my self-respect; but mostly, my self-respect. In order to fulfill my community service, I signed up at our local animal shelter. I figured it would be a cakewalk, because I love animals and had loved and lost many animal companions over the years.

Cakewalk? Heck no. My service consisted of many hours of doing laundry, feeding the residents, and cleaning out the cages. It was hard and physically demanding work, but I felt like it was my penance for having behaved badly.

It was there I met this wobbly, crying kitten, who had just been brought in that morning. She was scared and unable to step out of her own filth. Her cage was in the room marked "feral" so I was afraid at first to go in. But I couldn't ignore her cries.

The staff named her Janis Joplin, because she wobbled and fell over, as if she was drunk. She was later diagnosed as having a condition called hypodisplasia. But after getting her cleaned up and acclimated, the staff (and I) discovered that she was the most loving and adorable kitty you could ever want to meet. But she was designated as a special needs kitty, and not considered to be adoptable.

Once my service was complete, I decided I had to adopt her, I had fallen in love. I knew that both she and I needed some redemption in this lifetime. From the moment I brought her home, Lulu became quite famous in our neighborhood. She had no idea she had any disability, and was active and playful and friendly to everyone, especially dogs; she was fearless. She even had her own Facebook page! I swear, I don't know how she had time to write! Losing her was hard, but having her in my life was a wonderful lesson I will remember, ALWAYS. Open Your Heart!

Simone
Santa Cruz, CA

A feral cat named Baby

You know what is amazing? The power of love and trust. I remember when I first took Baby home back in November 2009. He was feral (I was warned) and therefore had to be trapped humanely in order for me to bring him home. There was no getting him into a carrier. He hid under the bed for a while. Puma was already here because I picked him up first from a lady that was fostering him. They both lived together before that with an elderly lady. She did not give him enough attention for him to become socialized. He still didn't trust people. They were both fully grown adults. Puma was around 8 years old and Baby was about 5. I was originally interested in adopting a kitten. However, I knew that if I didn't rescue them, they likely would have been euthanized. I could not let that happen.

Bonding with Baby took quite some time. I think it was about a year and a half before he would allow me to touch him. I'll never forget how happy I was the day I earned his trust. Soon my friends were eventually able to pet him as well. They got to see the wonderful transformation from shy feral to sociable, curious and friendly. Baby was diagnosed with salivary gland cancer back in September. The veterinarian originally gave him only a few months as an outlook. Thanks to a friend, I learned about the benefits of the herb cats claw. I started giving him the supplement. I am convinced that it helped him stay with me as long as it did. He made it much further than I expected. He was a fighter till the end. I know that he was happy here and I'm grateful for the time we shared. That I was able to give him a better life and earn his trust means more to me than anything material in this world.

I love you, Baby

Rest In Peace 5-28-15

- Lyra

Lyra
Stony Point, NY

Black Kitty Rescue

I've always wanted a black kitten. After a bunch of failed ads, the last place we called said "Yes!" I was thrilled and went right away. The man opened up a large carrier. Two "kittens" immediately ran back upstairs. One stayed behind.

Neither of these were the kittens. They were all a year old. The one that remained came up and meowed. The little girl, misbehaving and hyperactive, was jumping around and picked up the cat. The cat didn't run away or struggle. I talked to the father while the litter girl danced with the poor cat. I said I would take him, feeling very sorry for the poor kitty being flung around.

I didn't want him, but this cat has become my soulmate. I named him Merlin and he has been with me through the most difficult times of my life. He has always politely waited for me to wake up to great me good morning. He is always in the window when I come home and greats me at the door. I have never felt such overwhelming love from an animal.

A few months later I decided Merlin needed a friend. Since he was a calm and loving kitty I wanted to find the right companion. I tried out cats that I rescued, but neither fit quite right. One day a friend called me and said that a friend had 3 young kittens found in her barn. I took them in and decided I'd let Merlin chose one.

They came and were 5 weeks old, all back. One only had one eye. Merlin ended up choosing the fluffy one that looked like him, but I didn't feel like the runty black one-eyed kitten would find a good home. So I kept him. He was super shy for the first few months, he hid a lot. I was worried he'd be one of those cats that you'd never see, but he slowly came out of his shell to be just as great as Merlin. His name is Rasputin and they're both still with me today.

Johanna
Somerset, NJ

ANACONDA RESCUE IN COLOMBIA (SOUTH AMERICA)

While staying at the Juan Solito Lodge (Los Llanos, Colombia), some local fisherman spotted this 5/6 meters anaconda near their regular fishing pool in the Hato La Aurora Reserve. The fishermen decided that they would feel safer if the snake was a little further away, so they picked it up, and moved it to a more suitable pool in the middle of the reserve.

http://www.planetstillalive.com/america/colombia/colombia-slide-show/

The green anaconda is the largest species of anaconda and can grow up to 17 feet long and weigh as much as 100 kilograms. They are mostly aquatic and nocturnal, and will eat a range of prey from deer, tapir and capybara to caiman, birds and fish.

GRENOUILLET Marie-France (Wildlife Photographer)

http://www.planetstillalive.com/

GRENOUILLET MARIE-FRANCE
SAINT-CLOUD, France
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