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Bo the Lost Girl

Bo came into our lives through the living room window in February 2012. We had all just learned the term "polar vortex" and were in the middle of one when our two cats began reacting to another cat outside the living room window. We live in the woods so wildlife is plentiful, but I had no chance to even see much less catch the other cat. I began leaving the garage door open just a bit with some food and a bed.

My husband, on the other hand, just removed the screen, opened the window, and reached out his hand. Bo leapt into his arms and into our lives without a moment's hesitation She was so small I thought she was a kitten, and so affectionate that I thought she must belong to someone already. But when we took her to to vet the next morning, she was unchipped, un-spayed, flea-ridden, and malnourished, so I decided she was fair game. She was about two years old but extremely small for her age.

Bo is crazy-affectionate and extremely attached to me despite the fact that my husband is her literal rescuer. She is within arms reach of me at all times and prefers to be physically in my arms if possible. But she's got a bed next to my keyboard and she will go straight to it and lie down if I make it clear that I need to work. Her favorite position is to drape herself across my torso, resting her head on my shoulder and wrapping her arms around my neck and arms.

I've had cats my whole life, but Bo is extremely special. She's as affectionate and loving as I've ever seen and every day I'm grateful to the polar vortex for bringing her into our lives.

Milwaukee, WI

How Bhaaloo met Mowgli

Almost two years ago my mom and sister were driving when what looked like a piece of garbage rolled through traffic. Uncertain of what the debris was, they stopped their car and the driver next to them said that a terrified kitten had crawled up into their rear wheel well. My sister got out of the car and eventually fetched the kitten from inside the wheel well and brought him back into the car with her. Completely frightened and shook up from his experience he attempted to hide in the dashboard and wedged himself out of reach and out of view. Once they returned home, my mother hoped to coax him out by leaving food and water out in the quiet car, but even an hour later he was no where to be seen. Worried about his state, my mother took her car (and an empty cat carrier) to the mechanic in hopes of fetching the scared kitten. Our mechanic carefully removed the dashboard of the car and was able to pull the kitten to safety. His first several days back at my parents house were troublesome as he couldn't eat or drink, we later assumed he had hurt his jaw when he rolled across the road. My mother was able to nurse him back to health by syringe feeding him until he was able to chew on his own. Shortly after his rehabilitation, I moved into a new apartment and figured my two year old Mowgli(left) could use a companion. Bhaaloo (right) moved in with us and they've been inseparable since.

Casey Thompson
Riverside, CA

This is my cat Yuki

This is Yuki, my two year old cat. About a year ago, I came across her profile on a local animal welfare shelter website where she came in as a stray, but she was already spayed which made me think she belonged to someone at one point then strayed away. She was underweight and a little shy, timid of people's engagement. I am extremely allergic to cats, but always wanted to adopt one, even if I had to suffer for it. When I saw her profile, I immediately left work early to see her in person.

After spending 15 mins with her, I fell completely in love and decided to request for them to hold her for me while I get everything ready for her new home: toys, food, snacks, bedding, cat tree etc. That evening, she became part of my family. It took her a few days to warm up but when she did, it was like magic. She is very affectionate and loves cuddling with me. I never thought that I could love a cat this much. I have had series of allergic reactions, including chronic sinusitis, but I'm willing to manage this problem so that she can be happy and know that she's found her forever home. I am grateful that I can provide that for her. It took me over 30 yrs to decide whether or not to adopt a cat and now - I cannot imagine my life without her.

Hannah Yu
Seattle, WA

Love Overcomes Fear

It was a routine checkup for my tabby, Otto, I was chatting with the vet and asking questions about how to introduce Otto to a new kitten. The doctor stopped and looked at me. "Are you thinking of adopting? Because we found a feral kitten outside our clinic, and she needs a home."

So that day a frightened scrawny black kitten came home with us. Within days little Kikka and big Otto were best friends. They played, snuggled and groomed each other. Otto taught her the household cat rules. She adored him.

However, Kikka was terrified of me. She kept her distance. If I moved toward her she ran and hid under the couch! It was a bummer, but her feral roots ran deep and she just didn't trust humans.

I worked hard to win her over. I bribed her to come close with snacks and toys. I spoke to her a lot. Soon we started having "meow" conversations. Eventually I could pet her, just minimally at first, then more. But she was never cuddly with me, only with Otto.

Then Otto passed away. Kikka and I were both heartbroken. Surprisingly, my feral kitty turned to me for solace. She started sleeping near me at night. For the first time ever, she purred when I petted her. One evening as I watched TV, she crawled into my lap and curled up there! We were finally bonding.

A few years later, a man came into our lives who loved cats and insisted on befriending my shy girl. When Kikka hid under the bed, he got down on the floor and talked to her. He gave her treats and petted her often. Eventually his persistence charmed both of us, and now we all live together as a family. I often find my husband and my cat snuggled up together on the couch.

Kikka's transformation since those early days has been heartwarming. That frightened feral kitten is now 12, and sweet as can be. Love has overcome fear. Kikka has found her safe place – not under the couch, but in our hearts.

Paige Wallace
Portland, OR

My girl Serina

When I was about 12 years old, my older sister and I were walking through the mall when we saw a pet store. After begging her to go inside, we found this little white and tabby kitten with a small splotch on her cheek. She immediately ran up to us and started meowing and scratching at the glass. We asked the worker to see her and I knew it was love. She pounced and played and was the happiest little kitten when she found us. My sister debated buying her, but we could not let this little baby stay in the run down store.

My sister couldn't keep her because of various reasons and I took her to my mom's house immediately. She instantly attached herself to me. She would lay in my room and cuddle with me and love dig and purr so sweetly. When she got bigger that tiny splotch turned into an adorable half mustache. She was my best friend in the entire universe and even came with me when I made the big move to NYC. I couldn't go anywhere in the apartment without her following me everywhere I went and she greeted me by meowing her deep meow everytime I came home.

After 11 years with her, I saw that she had lost a lot of weight and in a short amount of time, only a few days. I took her to the vet and they told me she had liver failure. Even with treatment she was going to be sick and wouldn't be healthy again. While in the vet, she let out a slow meow to let me know it was her time. And while it was the hardest thing I've ever had to do, I know she's in a better place now at the Rainbow Bridge. I am so thankful for every moment I had with my best friend, and not a day goes by where I do not miss her.

ashleigh maier
brooklyn, NY

Happiness in the Darkest Times

The story begins Christmas 2006. After months of bugging my mom for a cat, she caved and surprised me with two precious little rescue kittens -- Machu and Picchu. The bond I shared with Machu is unlike anything I could describe, but undoubtedly the most special thing I have ever experienced. In August 2013 my poor boy was diagnosed with lymphoma, and then began a five month long battle for his life. Tragically, my baby lost his battle in January 2014. But this story isn't really about him.

About a month before we lost Machu, my boyfriend and I were perusing Petco when we came across the friendliest orange cat in one of the rescue cages. With Machu's illness we could not take in another kitty at the time, but we just couldn't get this orange beasty out of our heads. A couple of weeks after Machu passed, Happy (the Petco kitty) came up in conversation, and we decided to email the rescue in hopes of learning that he had found an amazing forever home. Instead, we were told that Happy was having minor health issues (a stubborn lesion on his side), and was currently living in the founder's bathroom due to lack of fosters. We knew we were not ready to adopt another cat at the time, but I desperately wanted to honor Machu's memory in a meaningful way, and so we became Happy's foster family.

In the time that we fostered him we had lots of ups and downs. The lesion disappeared and reappeared, he was diagnosed with diabetes, had an ER visit after going hypoglycemic on his third insulin dose, and in the end had a clean bill of health and was in diabetic remission. At the end of it all we realized that handsome Happycat had done a wonderful job of healing our broken hearts (including Machu's sister, Picchu), and brought smiles to our faces everyday. And so, although Machu will always hold a special place in my heart, I am proud to say that Happycat is now a permanent member of our little mismatched family.

Malvern, PA

Mean Old Feral Cat Finds A Home

During the spring of 2006, a white long haired cat began hanging around my yard. He looked hungry, so I put out some food for him. He was unapproachable at first, and I did receive a few bites, but eventually he warmed up to me. I had an old Dodge truck around back that I put a bed inside for him, along with food and water. His shelter became his name - Dodge. Over the summer and fall, he hung around more and more, "helping" me with my work. He had quite a reputation with the neighbors. I heard stories about him fighting with one neighbor's dog, attacking another neighbor when she tried to chase him out of her yard, and fighting with seemingly any animal that crossed his path. The general consensus was that he was a nuisance, with a few saying they would like to "get rid of him". But what I saw was a rough edged cat who liked me and greeted me with a kind of half-meow and chattering noises that sound quite a bit like raccoon sounds. So toward the end of the fall, I decided to eliminate the neighborhood problem and take Dodge in. I took him to be neutered, and the vet estimated his age to be at least ten years old. He was missing all of his incisors except two, and had to have six other rotten teeth pulled. He had to stay in my finished basement at first, but in time, he got used to the other cats and became just one of the family. Now, eight years later, his fighting days are long gone. He's far too busy deciding where to nap next. He's very intelligent, and even figured out how to defeat the child safety latches on my kitchen cabinets. Dodge sleeps right beside me every night, and has been purring constantly since he came to live with me. I don't know how much more time I'll have with him given his age, but at least I'll know the second half of his life was happy.

North Versailles, PA

Cody-Quentin the Coonhound

His foster name was Quentin, but we re-named him Cody. He just didn't seem to respond to Quentin. The couple of months that my husband and I were looking for a rescue dog we saw many that needed homes. Three years ago we lost our 5 year old lab/husky mix to cancer and it took that long to decide to get another "big" dog. We already had two smaller dogs, so our choice was a bit limited since we were looking for a breed that was a large dog and good with other dogs. We adopted him from a rescue society, but he came from a foster home and was 4 months old and 23 lbs. He is now over 10 months and almost at 60 lbs. We weren't familiar with this breed,(his mother was a treeing walker coonhound) but knew he needed a large yard and is very active. After we brought him home he got along well with our other dogs and was very smart. After they all got over a bout of kennel cough he seemed quite healthy. But then his ear got infected and his skin was reddish. After the trip to the Vet. it was found that he may have allergies. Sure enough, it appears that he may be allergic to chicken and/or beef. I never would have thought that could be possible. But he is now much healthier and loves his carrots and broccolli "treats" . I can feed him lamb, but I stay away from the other beef and poultry dog foods. We have had many dogs through the years, some now after a full life are in doggie heaven. I will always have dogs in my life, and will always go through a rescue or shelter.

Boulder Creek, CA

Ashes to Ashes

I had just lost my cat of 20 years the week before. I was terribly sad but wasn't ready to replace her yet. Then got a call from my brother. It was January, our worst Midwest winter in 20 years and he had gone out to get wood for the stove to heat his store. He moved the bucket of ashes aside and heard a faint noise. He looked under the cardboard partially covering the bucket and there was a 6 month old bundle of fur curled up on top of the ashes. She was filthy grayish black from head to toe, starving at only 3-4 pounds, and almost frozen stiff. She could barely muster a faint hiss as he picked her up, took her in and laid her on a towel in front of a space heater. It was several hours before she had thawed enough to get up to the food bowl. I went that weekend to see her. She was terribly afraid of people and hid the whole weekend. I was unsure, but ended up bringing her home. She hid in the basement and I did not see her for 2 weeks. I began coaxing her out and she slowly started coming around to check out the house and me. After a couple more weeks she finally began to learn that she was safe and did not have to fear abuse. Once she got herself cleaned up I discovered she actually had white toes, a white leg and a tuxedo. I figured since she was gray and was found in a bucket of gray ashes that Ashes was a proper name for her. She is now 10 pounds, is a very loving cat and rubs noses with me daily. She sits in the window waiting for me to come home from work and runs to meet me at the door. She follows me everywhere so I have learned to look first before I turn around. And she playfully "attacks" my leg to tell me she wants to play...catch, chase, or hide and seek.

Peggy Sue Bosley
Peoria, IL

A gift from ?

Last April 5th, I was just sitting in my living room watching TV with my Chihuahua, Lil Dude. Suddenly in walks a skinny, filthy little (Chihuahua/Min-Pin mix?) thru Dude's doggie door. We have a fenced yard, so no clue how she even made it into the yard. She immediately gobbled up all the dry dog food, plus a full can of dog food and drank what seemed like a gallon of water. After the obligatory sniffing of each other she plopped down and slept for what seemed like forever.

She had no collar, no micro-chip, no one replied to my numerous ads for her, (which secretly made Dude and I both very happy.) From that day on, Katy's been the most perfectly mannered young lady. She picked the right house and Dude has found true love.

Fort Mohave, AZ
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