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I hadn't intended...

I hadn't intended to get a cat. I had no intention. Zero. Zip. Not a thought.

One day, I was picking up supplies for my other pets (7 guinea pigs and two birds - I volunteer at a guinea pig rescue). I wandered past the rescue cubbies for the Arizona Animal Welfare League and SPCA, noting a lovely white cat. I wandered away to get more supplies. Soon, I wandered back, and took a longer look. She was friendly, and pawed the plexiglass when I put my hand there.

"Oh dear," I thought. "She is lovely." My logical brain then took over and I remembered that I didn't need a cat, or want a cat, or have any intention of getting a cat. Again, I wandered away. Soon, I was drawn back. I read her kennel card, and it all seemed a blur. She just took my heart, like that moment when you meet a special someone that you can't forget. I left. I left with no intention of getting a cat. Not even that very special cat named Brie, like the cheese.

She didn't leave my mind all night. The next day, as I volunteered at the shelter, I talked about her to my friends. I determined that I should go back, just to see. I worried all day that she'd be gone. They brought my friend and I into a small room where we could meet her. She came right out and demanded attention. She came home.

That night, she left her carrier for the first time and simply flopped on the floor. She knew she was home, and I knew she was home. She slept in bed with me that night, and has ever since. Brie is mine, and I am hers. Brie is outgoing and charms everyone she meets with her personality. I post a picture every day on-line, and people beg me for the post if I am late. I hadn't intended to get a cat, but this cat chose me, and I'm grateful every single day for her.

Phoenix, AZ


In 2009 I was able to take an early retirement and pursue work that I really loved. I was always passionate about art and started painting a huge mural in a friends courtyard. Many days on the way back to my car, I would see a cute orange and white cat hanging around. He seemed sweet but kept to himself. One day I got down on one knee and called out to him. He came right to me. I picked him up and was stunned to feel his entire ribcage. I realized he was homeless. Probably dumped or lost for a very long time. An old collar hung from his neck, at least 3 inches too large. I got him home, fed him and soon realized that he was totally blind. Two days later, LOST CAT signs hung in the neighborhood. I called and admitted that I had him, but asked how he could allow a BLIND cat to roam outside? He said he didn't know the cat was blind, so I asked, "Is he really yours?" Well no, the cat showed up a year ago and he just tossed him food at night. I easily convinced him to let me keep him. I named him O'Malley. O'Malley was just the sweetest boy and I fell crazy in love. The vet estimated his age at 18! He couldn't put weight on so I made him fleece jackets to wear in winter. At that time, I was volunteering with a cat rescue group and always had orphaned kittens and bottle feeders. O'Malley would lay in his bed and when the kittens got too close, he would grab them up and give them a head to toe cleaning and cuddling session. They all adored him. In this photo "Uncle" O'Malley cuddles with Tucker, an orphaned kitten who came to me with a broken leg. O'Malley was gentle, kind and loving with each and every kitten. He lived another 3 years before he passed on. I will miss this gentle sweet boy forever. He was the greatest cat I ever loved.

Patty Briseno
Buckeye, AZ

Lynettes trust

Last April i had a black and white cat take up residence in my backyard with her 4-5 week old kitten so i went out there every day to feed her and try to make friends. She would talk to me but the closest i could get was about 2 feet. After about aweek and half she disappeared so i went out and rescued the kitten who i named Jasmine. Through several forums i was told i had gained Lynettes trust enough that she had left her baby there for me. Fast forward to the last week of June, Lynette shows back up with 7 new borns so i started feeding her again hoping to gain her trust even more and to eventually get her and her babies inside well on the 3rd day she came over and rubbed up to me so i hatched my plan. I kept up the same routine in the mean time i had prepared her food, litter box and bed in my bedroom of which my back door opens to my backyard. So on the 7th day of her rubbing up to me i came out my back door instead of coming throiugh my carport and she came over and came in on her own. So i gently closed the door and went out the front and scooped up the babies and brought them in. When the kittens were 10 weeks old i had Lynette spayed. She has turned out to be a very sweet cat. I named her Lynette after another black and white cat i had named Linus he had crossed the Rainbow Bridge 2 years earlier at the age of 17.

turlock, CA

With Me Through the Worst

I got Bailey the week after my best friend died. A coworker was moving and couldn't take the 6 year old Maine Coon with him. I found out I was his fourth owner and promised that I would be his last. Within a short time, I noticed behavior that was distinctly that of an abused animal. I questioned other people who had known the previous guy and discovered that, yes, he was kicked around and hit for no reason. He HATED men. It took weeks to get him to trust me and months to get him to Really Trust me. And 3 years before he saw men as anything other than things to fear and hate. But, ultimately, my big furry boy became the most loving, wonderful kitty one could imagine. He helped me get through my friend's death, a break up with my fiance, was there through the dating period, marriage, and divorce. When I had to move to a place where he couldn't go, I left him with someone who looked after him and visited him as often as I could. When I found a new place, he was coming home with me.

But, after 10 wonderful years, my darling boy got very sick. He had a growth at the base of his tongue that was going to kill him, and was inoperable. Between myself and the friend who looked after him, we made the very difficult decision. I petted my darling as he slipped away, petting around his face so he could smell me one last time. It still hurts.

Even though I have 2 wonderful boys now, I still miss him horribly. All my kitties in my life have been rescues. They always will be.

PS - That's a boot box. He was huge! <3

Seattle, WA

My Boy Sandy

I hadn’t planned to adopt a dog when I accompanied my friend to the animal shelter. Living alone, it was easier to have cats.

His name was Sandy. I don’t recall what changed my mind or why I chose him. He was a Golden mix, medium size, 3 – 5 years old. This was his second time at the pound, poor fellow! First owner had turned him in, and second owners, a divorcing couple with neither able to keep him. Unbelievable! But their poor sense was my good luck.

I promised that he would never have to go back again, and over the next 11 years, I kept my promise. I was afraid to board him but never had to, with someone watching him in my home or him staying with friends when I was away.

From the very first, it didn’t matter who else was in our lives, he was my baby and he knew it. My sweet boy! When I’d come home from, he’d scream with excitement meeting me at the door.

Well behaved, too. He never had to be on a leash, never straying out of the yard or away from me in public. He actually seemed insulted if a leash was required!

He liked to sleep on the couch, first bouncing up and down, front legs straight, to fluff it up. So cute!

He loved to go for car rides, but not very long. If I thought about taking him for a ride, he read my mind and start jumping up and down. He’d jump in the car, I’d go down the block and back, and he was satisfied!

Eventually, as happens all too soon, age caught up with him. He developed a cancerous sore on his leg that wouldn’t heel and began having signs of dementia. I put it off as long as possible, but the day came when I had to let him go. He was at least 14, probably older. I held him and made sure my face was the last thing he saw, my sweet baby boy Sandy, as he slipped away.

Lauren W
Tulsa, OK

The Rescue of Rocky the Chiweenie

Our dog Rocky was rescued from a house that had been foreclosed upon. He was left locked inside atop a pool table, I guess as the owners last laugh on the bank. Friends rescued him when they heard barks from inside the abandon home. He was about 6 months old when we adopted him. He is now 3 years old, 12 lbs and has quite a personality. He is a very smart pooch too with a good understanding of vocabulary, especially the word "cheese stick"! With our kids grown and on their own, we now have one more to raise. We are fortunate to have Rocky in our family!

Tim Gundlach
Melbourne Beach, FL

How Opie Chose Us

It was a cold night in November 2013 when I first encountered Opie. I was upset because I tried to orchestrate a rescue of an abandoned dog, and I wasn't able to get the dog that had been abandoned in a cage on the side of a road. My heart was heavy with the thought of the dog, then I saw a black cat eating wet paper in front of a dumpster. My heart grew even heavier, and I knew if I couldn't help the dog, I could at least help this cat. I took him to my back porch and put food and water out for him, He immediately started eating. I already had two cats inside, one a female who was not fixed yet, so I couldn't bring him in. I put together a box with lots of blankets to help keep him warm, spent some time petting him, and then went inside with my cats and dog. The abandoned animals I couldn't help plagued my dreams. Luckily, I was able to rescue the dog and find him a home the next day, but I did not see the cat for several weeks. I left food out every night for him, and it was always eaten the next day. Finally, when the temperatures hit below 0 degrees, he found his way back to us. My boyfriend put food out for him, and after much discussion, we decided to bring him in. My boyfriend, Jeff, and I bought him a new bed, and he refused to leave it. He only left it for food, business in the litter box, and cuddles with his new parents. We called him Opie, and I knew he was meant for us. He knew to come back to us each time he got out of my house. I knew then he had chosen us, along with our three other furkids (our cats Jax and Mila and dog Lexy), to be his family. My sweet Opie has brought much joy and love to our lives. There's no better cat than a rescue cat!

Amber P.
Pittsburgh, PA

Our squishy midget...aka Swidget

We used to live in So. Cal & at least once a year, we would take a road trip to Tucson to see family. This particular June 2004, we were to meet a new friend. While at an event, my daughter made plans to visit with her best friend, & while she was in the hotel parking lot, this tiny little calico ragamuffin showed up. She could not have been older than 2 months, so tiny, but was obviously hungry. My daughter came back to find me & told me I had to do something because she was going to get run over by a car! One of our friends walked by & when she saw the situation, she went into the hotel gift shop & bought a little can of Vienna Sausages. This kitten was full of fire & not going to be friendly at all, but her hunger was fierce and she could not resist the lure of those smelly little sausages. While she was eating one, I grabbed her by the scruff of the neck and didn't let go. She shredded me good. I had scratches all over my hand and arm, but I stuck to her and never let go because I knew once I did, she'd be long gone. Her fight didn't last long because her tummy was so full. Eventually I was able to put my other hand under her bottom and she fell right to sleep. I took her home later that evening with the intent of finding her a home and once we opened the box and let her have a look around, she started being friendly and letting us hold her. We had to leave Monday morning to go back to California, so we took our little passenger with us. She sat on my daughter's lap the whole trip. Her name is Skwidget, or Skwidgy for short, which is a compilation of squishy midget, a nickname my daughter used often. 2.5 years ago, she made the trip by car across country and now lives with us in upstate NY.

Anne Kramer

Buddy the Giant my 20lb cat....

I had moved into a trailer house with a couple friends while in college. None of us was looking to have any pets. Of course that all changed one day in early spring of 2006, when my roommate and I were outside cleaning the yard. It had started to rain rather suddenly and we ran into the porch, leaving the door open to let some fresh rain smell in. As we were watching the downpour, I heard the faintest meow. I started "meowing" back, on a lark.

As the meows got louder and louder, out from under a neighbor's shed ran a soaked, miserable, lop-eared, scrawny, and very diseased looking tabby. Full grown, and in very poor health, he looked like his fur was falling off faster than he could grow it, and there were ticks coating his entire body. It was the most disgusting thing I had ever seen!, and I felt horrible thinking that, but it's true! We let him into the porch, and gave him a saucer of milk, and a couple hot dogs. We were terrified to let him into the house, as we weren't sure what ailed him, and didn't want to invite unknown problems into the main living areas. We spent an afternoon pulling ticks, during which time all he did was purr and lay there letting us pick at him. After that, my heart just broke. I couldn't take it anymore.

It was going to be all on me if anyone got sick, but I didn't care! I took him inside, gave him a bath, called the vet and waited. After a checkup, and a neuter, the vet said he was perfectly healthy. The missing fur was from malnutrition and a collar that had been too tight. The lop ear was damaged, most likely from a fight.

He filled out to 20lbs of lean muscle. He talked to everyone and never went out again. He was lost in a housefire in 2007 from kidney failure and severe burns. But I will always remember and miss Buddy the Giant!

Natasha Combs
Box Elder, SD

A Twist of Fate

I met Lexi quite by accident. My mom first saw her outside and had told me about her. For many weeks, I hadn't seen any cat, but then one day she just showed up at our back door crying and the first thing I noticed was her ear. It was crinkled down and her neck had a large dripping wound. Weeks passed and I saw her off and on never knowing where she would come from. One day, I made the mistake of feeding her and this became a routine. She knew exactly when I would go outside in the mornings to water my plants and would be patiently waiting for me.

Not seeing a collar or knowing who she belonged to I took her to a no kill shelter to get her off the streets and tested so I had time to convince my mom that I wanted to adopt her. She was such a sweet and loving girl despite all her mishaps that I couldn't imagine my life without her.

The vet said she had a hematoma in her ear that was old, but it wouldn't bother her. During exploratory surgery, they discovered that she had cactus needles in her neck that were very fine and had them removed.

She spent every night sleeping with me, under the cover, with my arm wrapped around her as if she were a person. She and I were bed buddies and inseparable. Unfortunately, Lexi developed a very aggressive cancer, of which I pursued every option possible to keep it from coming back, but in the end I had to put her down and only had her for 6 years. It was so heartbreaking, but I will forever be grateful that I had her in my life and she will always be missed especially at bedtime.

Sabrina Nicholson
Killeen, TX
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