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Just Call Him Al

He looked tired and dusty as he sat on the porch after filling his belly. He had eaten from the bowl filled with dry kibble a few moments before, He moved off the porch on to the walkway as I emerged from the house. I squatted down and holding out the can so he could smell the wet food. He hissed at me, as I scooped some out and put it in the bowl. He sniffed the air in my direction, but didn't move till I was inside

He learned that if he came at 6:30, he'd get "good stuff". Some nights he wouldn't show, and I'd worry about the old cat I had started calling Al. Then I noticed that when he was eating, he'd hiss at the dish and run away - I knew he HAD to go to the vet soon because he had a bad tooth.

I put a cat dome on the porch. The first night he went in, I picked it up, opening against my belly as I moved in the house. We put him in our spare bathroom because we didn't want him near our indoor cats until he was tested for FLV and FIV.

He went to the vet, was neutered, had 2 teeth pulled, etc. Unfortunately, the test for FIV was positive - the vet explained that it can only be passed from heavy fighting/deep penetrating bites. I kept him in the bathroom, using 2 baby gates, stacked on top of each other. He had to get the rest of his teeth pulled because of severe infection, it was 4 weeks of recuperation before I started letting him out.

He made friends with one of my cats and ignored the rest. He is clean and happy. He covertly follows me around the house, seeks affection, and plays frequently with his friend.

Update: He had a name, a warm, loving home, a friend, a person to call his own, and someone to shed tears because he's not here anymore. RIP Al (2/25/2013). I'm glad I could make your last few years comfortable.

Elaine Thomas
Ware, MA

My Sunshine

When I was seventeen, I begged my parents to let me get a cat. Finally, they said yes, and took me to a family friend's house to pick out a kitten. I chose a tiny alien looking kitten. She had huge blue eyes, and loved to be held. I fell in love instantly. She reminded me of an ice cream sundae (she was white, with brown on the top of her),so that became her name. She was my angel. We played together, slept together and were almost never apart. She got me through many deaths and losses, drying my tears with her kisses. I moved in 2012 and could't take her with me. My parents held on to her until we found a way to bring her to me. We were finally reunited! We flew together to Oklahoma for a brief period before flying together yet again to Idaho. Shortly after arriving, she began to show signs of being sick. I took her to the vet, only to be told that she had feline leukemia and wouldn't last much longer. A week after our vet trip, my little sunshine was gone. She waited until my fiancee and I were in the room with her, and holding her in our arms. She put her paw on my hand (like she would as a kitten), and crossed the rainbow bridge. I held her for a few minutes after, singing to her as I had everyday before she passed. It has been months and I still miss her, but I remember all the great times we had, and I smile. She was my sunshine, my only sunshine. She made me happy when skies were grey.

Post Falls, ID

Our own little Rescue

Missie came into our family on purpose, because I wanted a home-raised kitten. Our other two shelter cats are sweet and friendly, but are not lap cats. A friend of a friend had taken in a pregnant cat, and we selected a gray and white female from the litter when she was about two weeks old. I wanted her to stay with the mother and other kittens as long as possible; the family seemed very nice and agreed to keep her till she was seven or eight weeks old. (Their daughter was thrilled, since she had wanted to keep her.) But they called me about three weeks later and said we should get her ASAP because they were moving. Without thinking too much about it, I made a vet appointment and picked her up that night. Right away, something seemed wrong. Here was a scrawny little kitten with stiff, thin fur and barely enough energy to stand up.

Fortunately she made it through the night in semi-quarantine, and I was very glad we were seeing the vet first thing in the morning! After she looked her over, the vet was very concerned because the kitten was practically covered with fleas. Another day or two, and she might not have survived. After careful weight calculations, flea medicine was administered and within half an hour hundreds of dead fleas literally started dropping off of her. It was gross and creepy, but satisfying none the less. Die fleas, die! We continued to treat her (and our other cats, just in case) until we were sure that all the fleas and eggs were gone.

Now, 10+ years on, Missie is healthy and sleek with an incredibly soft coat that is a pleasure to touch. And, she’s a lap cat – just what I wanted!

Camp Hill, PA

A white kitty with a red tail...

When my daughter was a little girl she wanted a kitten very, very much. Although I like cats, our schedules were crazy and I did not want to get a kitten at the time.

My daughter had a toy, a white kitty with a pink tail, and said she wanted a kitten just like it. I encouraged this and explained that although pink wasn't possible, we could look for a white kitten with a RED tail. This thought appealed to her, since she has red hair. In the back of my mind I was thinking that red-point kittens might be fairly uncommon, and it would help postpone making a feline addition to the family.

Less than a year after I started singing the praises of a white kitten with a red tail, we happened across a kitten adoption fair. They had LOTS of kittens, and my daughter’s eyes grew wide at the selection. Thinking to head off renewed pleas for a kitten, I took a gamble and asked the attendant if they had a female WHITE kitten with a RED tail. And of course, they did. My daughter begged to hold her, and they brought out a sweet kitty that batted tentatively at one of her long braids and began to purr. I looked over at my husband, "Well, that was all I had…" and he hemmed, hawed, and asked for more information. They gave us her card, which indicated that she had been abandoned in a cardboard box and fostered back to health. And, her adoption name was the same as my daughter’s! We took that as a sign, and started filling out the paperwork.

We named her Pearl, and 12 years later we can’t imagine life without her. She is still a very busy cat who gets into everything and is endlessly entertaining and endearing. Occasionally she curls up for a nap on my husband’s desk while he is working, with her head resting on his arm. What a great cat!

J Nace
Camp Hill, PA

Life's Little Riddles

2014 has been rough. My fiancé had to say goodbye to his cat this year, several of our friends have experienced everything from deaths in their families to battling life-threatening childhood illness, and very recently I lost my mother. I have been planning my December wedding all year…now it’s hard to be happy without my sweet little mom.

Earlier this month, I was driving home from work in my car. Near home, I noticed a "tire pressure alert" and stopped at the gas station to air it up. While filling it, life threw me a curve-ball; my car meowed at me.

Having driven nearly 30 miles, I panicked. I couldn’t stomach having injured a cat. Surely, a cat can't survive this?! Well, as luck would have it, a tiny tabby can, if he climbs in through the splash guard and rests just inside the plastic liner under the engine. I ran inside, got an employee, and after about 30 minutes of trying to reach him ourselves, we called the fire department. A couple of (brave!) firemen came and got this frightened kitten out of my car. Unfortunately, he bolted! He ran to hide under the gas station's shed, where he continued to cower for hours before the employees captured him. A wonderful cat-loving employee took him home with her, and gave me a call. I went and got him.

The plan was to get him checked out and foster him so that we could find someone to adopt him. I refused to name him, and advised my fiancé to do the same. Well, plans changed when my fiancé tearfully told me he felt this kitten was the first “good thing” to come of this year, and he didn’t want to give him away. Perhaps what we need is a little life in the midst of all this death. So, we have decided he is a sign: Though life can sometimes be tragic, it can also be surprising, and remind us that sometimes we can survive even the bleakest of circumstances. Welcome home, Riddle.

New Port Richey, FL

Is this one of yours?

The Tuesday morning after Labor Day, 2000, I was ironing a shirt for work when there was a knock at the door. It was a woman I recognized from up the street, and there's a kitten, about four months old, at her feet. "Is this one of yours?" she asks. My wife and I had quite a clutter at the time, and also kept an eye on some of the many strays that lived in our neighborhood, getting them fixed or feeding them when necessary. No, this little fella with the white fur and gray tabby paint splatter wasn't ours, but I wasn't going to turn him away. Before leaving for work, I set him up in the bathroom with the essentials. Even at that age, Bongo had more personality than he knew what to do with.I actually thought he was deaf for a few moments the first night he was with us because he wouldn't respond to loud noises. But that, I would come to learn, was just Bongo; nothing fazes him. He's like no other cat I've ever known. Confident, grouchy, loving, stubborn, and loyal, he plasters himself at my side as I sleep. My wife brought him to visit a few times when I was stuck in the hospital, and he just made himself at home in my room and made the three-month stay go by much faster. He never hisses in fear, but does so constantly out of irritation, as when I'm walking behind him or I need the chair he's sitting in. Whether I call him by name or one of his numerous aliases, including "B," "17" (he had to have a toe amputated a few years ago), or "Bongo-riffic Super Bear" (his favorite), he'll always be the strange little malcontent who's more like me than I care to admit.

Mike Grunwald
San Diego, CA

My lovely Cindy

Hi! My name is Sabrina and I'm from Brazil.

This is Cindy! She was adopted by my brother when she was only 3 months old and he gave her to me in January of 1999 as my xmas gift. She is a lovely, yet a very bossy cat! Loves me, my mom and my brother but can't stand kids or visits hehehe never attacked anyone but runs to my bed when she hears the bell ring!

Last year she had a problem in her right eye and after a lot of tests and investigation, she was diagnosed with a high blood pressure that requires daily medicines and it unfortunately caused damage to her sight so she is currently almost blind. Even though she has this new challenge in her life, she is still the sweetest cat ever that comes to the door whenever she hears the sound of my car in front of the house... She wakes me up every morning asking for food and delights with the toys when I play with her. She will turn 16 in November and hopefully she will stay with us for a couple of more years, showing everyday who's the boss of the house!

Campinas, Brazil

BERK jumped into my truck & into our HEARTS!

Driving home from a soccer game, my son and I saw a cat casually STROLLING across Berkeley Avenue, (thus, his name.) I jumped out of my truck and stopped traffic. Berk walked right up to me when I called him, and jumped right into our truck, where he instantly made himself comfortable and started to clean himself.

After nearly two hours of going door to door to try and find his owner (with no success) we started to call around to around to the police, animal control, and any shelter I could think of, and the answer was the same....NOPE, no reports of a lost cat. Animal control came to pick him up for the mandatory 7 day waiting period to see if he was claimed. The shelter was overcrowded and Berk was at risk for being put-down if he was not adopted at the end of the 7 day wait.

I wouldn't have the money for the adoption fee until the 9th day, so my son and I called the shelter EVERY day, sometimes TWICE a day. He was a "teenaged" cat, and kind of funny looking (because of scarring of his ears due to untreated infections.) I knew that shelter cats like that don't have much success getting adopted. After the 4th day, the staff eased my mind by telling me that Berk would be safe. They knew that we wanted to give him a FUR-ever home.

On the 9th day, when I walked into the shelter, there was a kennel cage with his name on it, but NO BERK inside. I started to cry, I was afraid that I was TOO LATE. Then, a staff member told me that after the first day, Berk was so sweet to everyone and the other cats, that they gave him free roam of the whole cat area.

That was 2 years ago. Since then, Berk has been nothing but a source of JOY to our family. That goofy-looking kitty found his FUR-ever home!

Kimberly Sarcinello
Beachwood, NJ

Moe the Kitten

Four years ago today I went to Petsmart with my sister so she could get bags of food for her dogs. I saw that they were doing a pet adoption, so I decided to go say hi to the kitties. There was one beautiful blue/grey 11 month old that I went over to and when I got there, I saw she was different. She had GIANT paws with extra toes. I asked to hold her and she grabbed onto my long hair as if to say, "Please take me home with you!" I'd spent the last six months living alone and I was ready for a furry friend. My sister and I decided that since polydactyl cats are nicknamed boxing cats, we'd name her Moe for Muhammad Ali.

Once we got home, there were some major adjustments! She would open cupboards and drawers with her hands (opposable thumbs help), so I had to baby proof my house. I also learned that she had some major separation anxieties and other mood disorders due to previous homes/situations she'd been in (at least 4 in under a year). She would bite and be totally crazy! She now sees a chiropractor and is doing so much better!

Today, she is totally happy and, half of the time, she thinks she's a dog. She loves car rides, playing fetch with mini tennis balls, chewing flip flops, and she'll even sit for a treat! She has been with me through boyfriends, sickness, family crisis, and is the best sweetheart I could ask for. She is my best little friend and I've promised her that she has a home with me for the rest of her life, no matter what. Happy cativersary to my sweet baby girl!

Murray, UT

My baby

back in 2007, I was moving into my new apartment, I always wanted a cat, so I went down to our local cat no kill shelter, I went for Stormy, but as I was inside taking care of him, my boyfriend was outside, someone dropped off a kitten at the adoption center, they gave him the kitten and a bag of food, he told me we are taking this cat home; so I ended up with 2 cats. Stormy started acting sick by flinging snot around, eventually pooping everywhere. then I kicked boyfriend out and I started to notice how bony stormy had become then he died. I kept the kitten whom I renamed to Lily after he left, she is a very loving kitty who is my best buddy now 7 years later

Huntington, IN
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