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You don't pick the cat, the cat picks YOU!

When Thor, my boyfriend's 8 year old orange tabby, died unexpectedly early last year, him and his daughter were shocked and heartbroken. They checked the shelters for months hoping to find the cat they wanted. A male orange tabby that reminded them of Thor. They never came across one that 'called to them'. One day when I went in my yard to feed Mr. Sam, my alley cat (which happens to be an orange tabby), I looked down the alley and saw this orange furball bolt from top of an alley fence and dart toward the end of the street. I knew it was too big to Mr. Sam so I went around the block looking with a small can of cat food in my pocket.

As I turned the corner checking under cars and calling kitty, kitty I happened to look on a porch and there sat the cutest, most perfect orange tabby kitty I've ever seen. As I approached it I hoped it wouldn't skit away as they often do. It was November and rather chilly out and he was curled up on a cushion. I reached onto the porch and pet his little head. He closed his eyes, leaned into my hand, and.... purred. I opened up the cat of cat food and he began to devour it before I even put it down. I don't think I've ever scooped a cat up so quickly.

I hurried home and went to an empty bedroom to put the kitty down to eat. My BF followed behind me going "Is that a cat?!" I said, "No, THIS is your kitten!" He scooped up this kitty and the purring was immediate. I knew by my BF's face he was in love. SUCKER!! And now Loki is King of the Castle and his big sister, who was lonely for quite a few months after Thor died, is on the kitten diet plan cause they're forever running after each other and she's lost a few lbs in the process. I told my BF, the cat picks YOU! Good choice Loki!

Irene Gagliardi
Philadelphia, PA

The Shadow At My Feet

When I set out for the Cleveland APL in July of 2011, I had my mind set on getting an adult cat. Kittens always seemed too prone to biting and scratching, so I wanted a more tame, adult lap cat. I spent some time with the adult cats, but none of them caught my eye. Then I came across a two-tiered cage with several black kittens at the bottom, and one lone kitten above them. The solitary, 4-month old cat - "Frankie", according to his name tag - intrigued me, so I took him out to get acquainted. Right away, he purred and stretched his skinny little neck up to lick my face - much more like an eager puppy than a kitten! I was sold! I purchased "Frankie" and renamed him Shadow, as it seemed to suit him better.

Despite his earlier affection, Shadow was out of sorts when I brought him home. He ran around the apartment excitedly, knocked over my blow-dryer and scared himself so badly that he ran and hid under my couch. I got on hands and knees and talked softly, trying to ease him out, but he wouldn't budge. Hours passed, and eventually it was time for bed. I cried, thinking I'd made a horrible mistake and that this kitten would never love me. 24 hours later, he was still in hiding. I crouched on the floor again and spoke to him, pleading for him to come out. He wiggled closer to my face across the floor, not quite daring to come out. It took several more hours, but eventually he skittered out from under the couch toward me.

From that moment on, Shadow and I have been inseparable. Turns out, he's quite the talkative and social little man! He follows me happily around the apartment. Shadow is the most affectionate cat I've ever known, and so intuitive - he never fails to cuddle me when I need it most. He has been my dearest blessing, and I am eternally grateful to the forces that put us together in this life!

Heather
Lakewood, OH

My Brave Little One

This is my senior cat, Homer sleeping next to a picture of his late friend, Tigger, just how he likes to. Not long after my little sister was born, my mother saw little Homer sitting in the back of his cage at a pet store and fell in love with him. Unfortunately, the pet store told us that Homer was found abandoned and suspected he had been abused. We brought him home anyways, only to soon find out that he would only hide under the bed until everyone was asleep. He got along well with out resident cat, Tigger, but would run back to what he called sanctuary if anyone approached him.

Still, even shy, I knew he was always special. After a year, he would on occasion visit me in bed, dying for affection. I think he did love us and knew we were his family, but he was still frightened of strangers and being approached.

I'm now nineteen, just a few years older than him and am amazed at his progress. A year ago, I brought him into my room after catching him outside of his room and gave him lots of love. After that, my room became his resident area. Knowing he needed to get high up to boost his confidence, I cleared off my shelves and dresser and the perch by the window. After a while, he actually took to it. I almost cried when I first saw him bird watching in my window. It felt like progress to me. He wasn't the cat that only hung out under the bed anymore. He now hangs out mostly freely in my room, not under the bed and even sometimes ventures in the living room. I'm very proud of him. I'd like to also note he is in great health for his age and is quite the athlete. He still doesn't like when people directly walks toward him, but I know he will always be a little shy. Even so, he is my special best furry friend and I'm so happy to see him so happy and unafraid.

Vitani
Covington, WA

A first-time Foster Failure

I had never had a cat before, To be honest, I never really trusted them. But my two daughters really wanted a furry friend. My husband and I still weren't sure we were cat people, so we decided that fostering would be the best way to discover what cat guardianship was all about.

We went to our local pet store's cat adoption day, filled out the paperwork and went to choose a kitty. One of the volunteers immediately plunked a very nervous cat into my arms, who promptly scratched my face and tried to run for it. I had a cut on my forehead and was scared and completely humiliated. Clearly I was not cut out for this!

I took the girls outside to collect myself and decide if this really was something we wanted to do. My older daughter said that she had been petting a cat named Kid who was incredibly sweet and was purring the whole time she had been with him. At that point, I decided that this would be more of a community service to help a cat rather than something that I would get a whole lot out of, so I went in to see Kid, and he looked sweet enough. Shaken from my first experience, I shrugged and said OK, still unsure.

We brought him home in his cage and let him out in our basement and he immediately ran and hid under a desk. About an hour later, he decided to come out and immediately came over to nuzzle me and purr. My heart instantly melted. By the end of the first week I knew we could never let him go. We changed his name to Kit Kat and he has become my feisty but very sweet little shadow. He is incredibly patient with my girls and loves to play toys and sleep in whatever room we are in. While we are still considering fostering in the future, for now I am learning all there is to know about kitties and loving on my sweet boy. I am a proud Foster Failure!

Allie L.
Centreville, VA

My Fer'ful Boy.

Tommy was the first cat I had ever adopted. It was 2002, I was 15yrs old, and I was set on getting a new friend. Mom and I walked into PetCo too see the adoptable cats they had available. When I saw Tommy, it was love at first sight. He was hunkered down all scared in the back of a cage. He was a recent caught TNR that the group had acquired and was already 6 months old- and scared to death! Mom wasn't sure. He wouldn't even look at us and immediately stiffened up upon contact. But I knew. So he came home with us.

It took me 3 months before Tommy would willingly come to me for attention. Another 3 months before I could pick him up. We had been through so much together; him learning to trust and me learning the patience required to teach him to trust. I was absolutely crushed when he got out of the house almost 4 years later. My cat Raja passed the previous October and my Grandma had passed that April. I couldn't lose him too!

We saw him constantly, but he had become feral again. A big orange Tom was taking care of my boy. Things seemed to happen in threes. Another 3 months later, right before we moved out of the city, my boy remembered and came home! He's now 11 years old, going on 12 and my joy. I could not have gotten a better cat and each day I thank him. I am a shelter worker now. The fearful cats who are a little more feral than domestic, like he was, are my favorite. We call them "Fer'ful" cats. They are the ones he trained me for. The ones I can work with and make a difference.

Ashley Renshaw
Pevely, MO

Peaches the Wonder Kitten

Peaches was born in July 2013 and was dumped at a kill shelter when she was only 4 weeks old. I fell in love with her and decided to adopt but I soon discovered that she was dying from a diaphragmatic hernia....probably from being thrown or kicked... Luckily a wonderful vet was able to do emergency surgery and she survived, despite the odds, and made a full recovery. Her growth, however, was stunted because she was unable to absorb nutrients in the first few months of her life so she is very tiny. Her vet suspects she may have dwarfism. During her first year she had to have gum surgery as her adult teeth never came in and then developed an infection that led to 10 days in the hospital. She was so brave through it all, even though she had to endure countless needles and pills. She is still the sweetest girl and is a total little love. Every one that meets her absolutely adores her. She loves to cuddle and purr .. even at the vets office.

Nerissa Spannos
Sunrise, FL

Complete Opposites Get Along Best

Our friend and his wife own a farm that she calls a "cat drop-off" farm. They get people dumping cats on their land all the time, so their farm is teeming with anywhere from 30-50 cats at a time. They don't have the opportunity or finances to get all these strays fixed, so there are often kittens being born on the farm. One Sunday night while I was out of town, our friend put out an APB asking everyone who might want a kitten if they could let them know, because they had a momma with her litter indoors and needed to find homes for them.There were also a couple outdoor kittens that were up for adoption from them, for anyone interested.

I had lost my old lady, Miss Kitty, about 10 months before, and I was ready to move on and desperate for furry friends. We don't have much in the way of finances ourselves, so we'd been denying ourselves the opportunity. But, my fiance heard the APB and practically talked me into wanting two babies, even though he wasn't much of a cat person. It was close to my birthday and my parents are amazing and love to see happy, so we were able to adopt two kittens. We ended up with one all white girl (who went through a gender-confused phase where we weren't sure if she was a boy or a girl) from the indoor litter and one chocolaty brown-black girl who has the softest fur I've ever felt. They were about 3 weeks apart in age, and are now wonderful sisters despite a rocky start.

Yin is our little white kitty who loves rice and acts like such a derp. We call her a munchkin and other troublemaker names, because she's always finding adventure. Yang, our chocolate kitty, is the sweetest-tempered and most cuddly love-bug to her mom and she doesn't suffer most others to cuddle with unless I'm gone. They play together and are friendly with pretty much everyone, and I couldn't imagine life without them. And now my love is a certified cat-daddy!

Jessie
LaCrosse, WI

My baby girl

I was helping my mum look for a new friend, so we went to the CPL in the UK. Mum was busy looking at all these cats, but a cage set back from the path caught my attention. Inside, cowering at the back, was a small calico with the most beautiful face I have ever seen. The CPL lady said she was un-homeable, she was just over a year old and had already had four homes because she was so nervous. I fell in love instantly and had to have her. On the car trip home she peed on me, she was so terrified, and ran straight into my mum's big under-stairs cupboard when we got her home. I spent the next 5 days in that cupboard, just sitting and talking to her, finally getting her to trust me. From then on she was my cat. 14 years later and she has been with me through multiple moves, including one from the UK to Australia. She is still timid when it comes to loud noises or other people, but has the most incredible personality and the most demanding meow, especially when it comes to wanting belly rubs or her bottom smacked (a strange fetish she's picked up in the last few years!) She rules the house, is spoiled rotten and totally loved and we are bonded in a way i've never had before with a pet. She is my baby girl.

Diana
Sydney, Australia

One Girl, One Goal, One Cat.

My best friend was looking for a kitten and I knew someone that a stray with a litter. I went to see the kittens and send my friend photos to choose one for herself. I noticed immediately all kittens were about 1lb except one kitten. I tried to get my friend to choose the tiny runt but she really liked a different one. I knew then that I couldn't leave the little thing there, winter was starting up and he was too small to survive the cold let alone the other kittens pushing him away from their mother. I drove both kittens to my friends home and knew immediately I could never let this little kitten go to another home, as I spoke to him he would nudge his head into mine. When we took them to the vet, he weighed 2/10ths of a lb. He needed me. I brought him home and hid him from my family for one month before he started making too much noise. One day I got a text message from my mom, "do you have a cat in your room?" I knew the jig was up. I came home and brought him to her and she asked about him. I told her he couldn't survive on his own with how small he was for being 8 weeks old. I told her about how I'd fed him and taken care of him and vetted him. She wasn't happy but she agreed that I could keep him as long as I continued to take care of him. He is the best cat I've ever had. He plays with my Terrier all the time. He kisses me every morning. And we cuddle every night. His name is Squishy (Finding Nemo). I love him!

Anonymous
Columbus, OH

Cute little Mama

When I first saw the ad for Mama, I was just really browsing to look at all the cute little cats and dogs, not really intending to get another animal as I had just gotten a little black kitten. She was being given away for free. I immediately loved her cute little face, but talked myself out of it. I kept seeing the ad for over a month and fell in love a little more each time. Finally I decided my kitten could use a friend. I called the lady in the ad. Apparently Mama had just given birth to kittens only a few weeks before, but she was refusing to feed them. I went and picked her up, and named her Mocha because I thought her colors looked like my favorite coffee drink. At first I regretted my decision as she would hiss at my kitten (Gheera) every time she came near her so I had to keep her secluded in my bedroom. One day I went into my room to give her love and noticed this whitish spot growing on her teat. The next day, it had burst open and was oozing. I immediately took her to the vet and they found she had Mastitis. After her recovery was complete, the first thing she did was run over to Gheera and start cleaning her and following her as if she were her own kitten. That was over a year ago now, and she became renamed Mama as she mothers us all, even her humans.

Amber
Auburn, WA
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