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She walked into my husband's lap - and our hearts.

In 2002, my husband and I were walking some friends of ours out, and he spotted this little calico cat. He tried to get her to come over but she would not go anywhere near our friends. So after they left, he sat on the sidewalk and coaxed her onto his lap - then grabbed her and brought her inside. We quarantined her in the bathroom and she was completely freaking out. She was absolutely filthy and it took weeks to get the dirt out of her fur (even bathing her). We named her Cinnamon Buttercup.

She had not been fixed and we're pretty sure she had been abused, as she was afraid of her own shadow. You so much as raised a hand near her and she would freak out and go hide. She finally would let us pet her and we kept her inside, but the turning point was when we got her fixed. She was obviously in pain after the surgery and for the first time, she came to me for comfort. I stayed up with her well past my bedtime and that was the beginning of her transformation.

She is possibly the most affectionate cat I've ever known, now. She is constantly begging to be petted and loved, and at 12 years old is still pretty playful. And yes, she does love almost everyone! She has learned to give "kisses" and when I come home she cries until I lean down so she can lick my cheek. She is VERY insistent when she wants something! Also, she has a fondness for pink toys (even though cats aren't supposed to be able to see pink!) She and our original kitty, Azehrei, were best friends until his death.

Despite her multiple health issues (asthma, allergies and multiple benign tumors) she is doing well. No more abuse or cold and hunger for this special girl!

Dover, OH

This polydactyl baby stole our hearts.

One drizzly, gray morning, around 5AM, my cousin and I had walked from her house to the parking lot next door to use the pay phone there. I saw this tiny, cream colored kitten with paws bigger than he was. As the rain came down and hit the puddle, he would pounce the little splashes the raindrops made. I immediately scooped him up and took him back to my cousin's, where my then-fiance (now husband) was sleeping peacefully. I crawled back into bed and the kitten immediately jumped up and curled up with us. After my husband sleepily called him the names of my cousin's two cats, I told him it was our new kitten. He shot bolt upright and scooped the kitten up to cuddle him. We named him Azehrei, a word meaning "Dragon King" from Melanie Rawn's Dragon Prince trilogy.

He was polydactyl - so much so he had toes between his toes. He was incredibly smart and friendly. Once, he even saved my life. I had bronchitis and had fallen asleep in a hot bath. I woke up with my nose less than an inch above the water, and Azzy pawing my face and meowing frantically. He was my husband's teddy bear and often slept on his back in his arms.

Sadly, when he was 7, he had a kidney blockage. We rushed him to the vet, and they were able to clear it once. He blocked again though and when they sedated him to put in the catheter, he took the choice away from us and crossed the rainbow bridge. We did everything we could to save him and it is suspected that he might have been inbred (since the family that may have had his parents would not fix any of their animals), which could have been a contributing factor.

This is one of the last pictures I took of him, and one of my favorites, as he is smiling. I know we gave him enough love to fill a thousand lifetimes.

Dover, OH

He filled a cat-shaped hole in our hearts.

In 2008, our beloved Maine coon mix Azehrei crossed the rainbow bridge after his kidneys failed. We were absolutely devastated, as was our other kitty. We decided we wanted a younger male Maine coon mix, since Cinnamon is an older, feisty female. We thought a younger male would help maintain the balance without threatening her "rule".

So I got on Petfinder and began looking. The first cat I saw was through a rescue an hour and a half away. His name was "Mango", and he was found as a kitten in a parking lot on Easter, with frostbitten ears. I called the rescue frantically to make an appointment to go see him at his foster's house, but it took them a couple of days to get back to me.

His picture did NOT do him justice. He was about 9-10 months old, and had a majestic plume of a tail. He was still on the thin side, and somewhat timid, but after a little while he let us pet him and hold him. We discovered later that he had been adopted twice and returned each time. One of the potential adopters took him home for a couple of days and returned him when he didn't get along with the cat he already had. The other returned him because he had issues with diarrhea and extremely stinky flatulence.

As it turned out, the gas and diarrhea were because he was never dewormed properly. He and Cinnamon get along. We renamed him Kazander and he answers to that name, and almost always comes when I call him. He's still a little shy, and runs from loud noises and sudden movements. But at the same time, he is so affectionate it's amazing given his rough start. He has a very sweet personality and loves to talk. He shows affection by doing what I call a "rolling headbutt", headbutting while rolling into your arm. The people who returned him had NO idea what they were missing out on - and while no cat could ever replace Azzy, Kazander has helped us heal.

Dover, OH

Coco Chanel

And here is Coco Chanel today, happy and playful, a long way from where she was a couple of months ago! <3

Linda Carpenter
Milton, ON, Canada

Pawz - follow-up story

Pawz and her babies. (at left 1 day old; at right 9 weeks old)

Two months ago I told our rescue story of Pawz and her babies. She was left behind when her original family moved and left her behind, pregnant and alone.

My husband and I took her in and have raised her babies in our home. This past weekend they were 9 weeks old. Three of them have gone to their forever homes and the fourth will go to hers on Wednesday. I am grateful for my network of wonderful friends who stepped up to offer each of these beautiful babies a safe and loving home.

Pawz is staying with us and our 6 other rescues. She goes to the vet this week to be spade, bring her shots up to date and then come home to spend the rest of her life with us. She is such a sweet girl, has been a protective and very loving momma to her babies and we are sure she will fit into our home life well. If it wasn’t for the crummy neighbors who abandoned her, we would not be blessed to have her in our lives and to have shared the birth, nurturing, love and growth process of her babies. All is right in the world…for her and for us.

Deltona, FL

Tosser's Tale

I live at a horse and small farm animal rescue and one day in July 2013, as our director was leaving the ranch, she noticed a truck pull over by the vacant property next door, a woman got out opened the passenger door and threw something out into the heavy brush then took off. Our director went to see what was up and saw a kitten, she tried getting to to no avail so called me to help.

When I got out there the kitten had crossed the road then back again, we finally were able to get her when she went under and up in the undercarriage of the director's truck. We managed to get her out but the poor thing was terrified, we were shredded and dirty but luckily there was a towel in the truck so we wrapped the kitten in that and I took her back to the catio. It took about a week for her to settle in but she has become the sweetest thing.

It turned out that the woman who tossed her was the housekeeper at a ranch down the road. When confronted with throwing Tosser out to be eaten by coyotes or bobcats (we have many of both), she at first denied it then said she did it because the cat had fleas, we reported her license number to the police but never saw the truck again or heard anything about it.

Once calmed down enough to hold her, get flea meds on her and get her combed, it turned out she wasn't a kitten after all just a very small cat. We named her Tosser since she was tossed away and she now rules the roost!

Sharon Carter
Winchester, CA

Pompon, our fluffy pom-pom

A few years ago, my mom was talking to a woman on Facebook who wanted to get rid of her kittens. She decided to adopt one and drove all the way to the other side of the country. When she arrived, she sat in the sofa, discussing which kitten she would adopt. While she was sitting there, a black cat was walking in circles around her legs, nuzzling against her, and basically asking for her attention. So my mom asked "what are you going to do with this one?" to which the woman answered: "Pompon? He's going straight to the shelter."

My mom couldn't let that happen, because she knew that nobody was going to adopt him. So she decided to take Pompon with her. When she came home, he hid behind our couch for three days. I hadn't even seen him yet. A few days later, he finally showed up and I saw him for the first time. It was love at first sight. His head was too tiny and his belly was swollen like a balloon. He looked AWFUL and his smell was even worse. But we already loved him.

And now, a few years later, he is the prettiest cat I have ever seen. He's also the sweetest cat in the world. He has never bitten or scratched anyone. Wherever I go, he follows me. I can never sit alone on the couch, or in my bed, or even on the toilet! He always wants to sleep on my lap. Someone said that if you want a cat that sits on your lap, you shouldn't get a longhaired one. Well, that someone obviously hasn't met Pompon!

He is my best friend and I can feel that I am also his. The love he gives us, is the love of someone who knows he got rescued. I could never live without my fluffy pom-pom.

(What's also ironic about his name is that he only wants to play with little pom-poms!)

Tiffany Van den Abeele
Mechelen, Belgium

Destined to be mine

The summer of 2013 was a hard one. I work in the veterinary field and losing my own can be so hard as I should be able help them. 10 year old Merlin died with no warning. One moment he was there and with me watching he was gone. Charlie was only 3 when he started having seizures they progressed quickly and his quality of life was not longer there. I was down to 2 cats within just a few months. In August 2013 I received an email from a Veterinarian friend that said "I'm sending pictures and guilt" Everyone knows I have a thing for orange tabbies. Sure enough. He was maybe 6 weeks old and had been caught in a car fan belt. The owner of the automotive shop brought him to Dr Marianne to put him down. She took him but once she looked at the injuries decided he was fixable. And she knew just who to fix him for. I opened the email with my heart closed to another cat. The face that stared back was a ragged looking orange baby. One ear torn off and most of his tail. Otherwise fine. With a look of fire in his eyes. At first I said no. But then my best friend saw him and off we went to see him. They warned me that he did not sit still and would run up me and dive off. So prepared I got him out of the cage. He proceeded to climb up to my shoulder, snuggle my face and go to sleep around my neck.

Capt Jack is a crazy adult boy now. Smart, destructive, funny, loving cat. He was destined to be with me. Thanks Dr Marianne to seeing what he could be. A big handsome orange tabby.

Kristy Weldon

Free cat...$100 later

I had been trying for years to convince my fiance to let me get a cat. He always said no because of his allergies. On one lucky day, I was able to wear him down and he said fine just please stop asking me. I searched through all the local newspapers looking at ads and I came across one ad from the upper peninsula of Michigan advertising free cats to good homes; one was a 10 year old short hair female and the other was an 11 year old long-haired male. I called the women who placed the ad and found out that no one had called about them and if she couldn't find them homes she would have no choice, but to give them to a shelter. I told her I was looking for a cat and asked if I could see them.

I met with her the next day and instantly fell in love with the 10 year old female tortoiseshell calico. One thing led to another and we brought her home the same day. We weren't prepared for a cat so I ran to the store and spoiled her rotten by spending over $100 on a free cat. We ended up changing her name to Honey because she was so sweet when she finally came out from hiding. Her previous owner said she is the nicest cat and so quiet. The quiet part I don't believe, this girl has a set of pipes and when its time for breakfast she will let you know shes hungry by yowling in your ears until you feed her. 3 years later Honey is thriving in her new home and enjoys being pampered. Now that she is the only cat she has turned into this little bossy beast that I love; who will steal my food, cuddles with me, and sleeps on my head.

Superior, WI

Baxter, the 3-legged love!

My then fiance, Jason, and I wanted to adopt a second dog to allow our first rescue puppy, Brodie, to have a companion. When we were looking on line and at the local shelter, there weren’t many dogs available. I sent Jason to go in on June 9, 2014 to take a peak and see if any new dogs had become available. The dog Jason was originally interested in wasn’t available anymore and he texted me upset about it. The adoption counselor mentioned to Jason that there was another dog that was about to be available, named Chester (he is now Baxter), who was being okayed by the Vet for adoption after his recent surgery. Jason decided to give this dog a look and see if he would be a great fit. When the adoption counselor brought him out, Jason noticed the surgery was to amputate the rest of his leg as he was born with a leg deformity. Jason and Baxter hit it off! He sent me pictures of him and said “leave work early, I think he is the one!”

Later that night we all went (including soon to be big brother Brodie) and Baxter became the member to complete our family. Baxter is great! He is finally potty trained, he can go up and down the stairs, fly on and off the couch and bed, and plays very well with Brodie. His front right leg is super strong now and occasionally I can feel it when he gets too excited to see me. We love him and he is completely perfect the way he is!

Jessica Gardner
Lynn, MA
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