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Percy, the kitten I saved who saved me

Last Christmas I was mourning the loss of not only my sweet dog that I had raised from the age of 4 weeks, but also one of my cats earlier in the year—both sudden and unexpected deaths. I had just moved into a new apartment, and being in the mountains, I was afraid that my other cat, who is indoor/outdoor, would get snatched by a predator. I asked my sister and brother-in-law to take her to live at their house, since they have a big, fenced back yard in a quiet neighborhood in my hometown. I was all alone with no pets for the first time in over six years, and feeling tremendous sadness. I went to my hometown for Christmas, a few hours’ drive from my place, and headed over to my sister’s house to see her and my calico. I turned onto the dirt road to their house, adjacent to a large empty field. Out of the corner of my eye, in the field, I saw something small and orange—a kitten! He ran into the weeds where a dead tree laid overturned. I told my sister and we started looking for him. She spotted him under the dead tree, and while he focused on her, I sneaked up behind him and grabbed him. At first he was feral—biting and fighting against me—he couldn’t be more than 6-8 weeks old. I brought him to my parents’ house and spent the next week giving him food, water, and cuddles. It didn’t take long for his feral nature to melt into a loving, affectionate kitten. I named him Percy and he’s my best buddy now. I am raising him to be an indoor-only cat in my mountain apartment. I think that my furry loved ones across the Rainbow Bridge sent him to me, knowing I needed him. P.S. my calico is happy as ever living with my sister, and my niece absolutely adores her.

Sara
Nederland, CO

A Fitting Name

In 2003, I had adopted an FIV+ cat named Buddy from a local rescue group; shortly thereafter, they contacted me to ask if I would be interested in adopting a second FIV+ cat named Frisky. I said sure, as long as the two cats got along, as I live in a tiny Manhattan studio, and letting them each have their own space is not an option.

Well, the two cats got along just fine... the only issue was that "Frisky" had been an outdoor cat and my little apartment seemed ridiculously small to him - he just didn't understand Manhattan real estate! He would charge the length of the apartment furiously like a caged tiger, jumping on every surface and knocking/breaking everything in his path. I spent the first week yelling " stop being such a spaz!!" at him, until I realized that if we were to get along, I'd have to accept him the way he is ... so I renamed him "Spaz" as Frisky just wasn't descriptive enough ( a little false advertising on the rescue group's part).

Its 12 years later, and he has calmed down a bit in his middle age, but he still likes to charge around the apartment (yes, the same one - thank you rent stabilization) and yells for no apparent reason in the bathtub, other than he must like the acoustics. He has never had a health issue despite being FIV+ and his last blood panel was perfect, especially for a 15-year old cat. He's the smartest cat I've ever met, and has me completely trained to his beck and call - which I don't mind at all as his enormous personality and loving character has filled my tiny apartment with giant love.

Marie
New York, NY

Looks Can Be Deceiving

I had been a volunteer at my local shelter for over two years, so I was there when Kit was surrendered due to her owner being evicted. Immediately, I thought she was a gorgeous cat, but soon found out that she wasn't very "friendly." Didn't appear to have a cuddly bone in her body!

Fast forward two years - I am now able to adopt my own cat. I knew I wanted to either get a cat with FIV or one that was considered a "long term resident." I had a couple choices; one in each of those categories, and of course, Kit is one of them. She never got adopted out and had been there those two long years. I felt, I had to give her a chance - at this point, it seemed like no one would. She was older, a "black" cat, and no one could say many positive things about her.

So, the chance was given. I put in an application, was approved, and I was all set to spend a month or more working on her to get her adapted to the apartment and being my companion.

No time was needed! The moment I got home and opened the carrier door, she was out and exploring, mewing and rubbing against my legs! She was letting me pet and brush her, and following me from room to room. It was amazing! She sleeps with me now, greets me when I come home, and is my car ride buddy when the mood strikes us.

Don't let what appears to be an "unfriendly" cat make your decision. Shelters can be very stressful for the animals and thus, not allow them to put their best foot forward. Give them a chance; everyone needs their furever home.

Valerie
Menomonie, WI

A Lifetime of Second Chances

When I adopted Dora Mae she was already grey in the face. The rescue told us she'd been adopted once before and returned for being too quiet. Still, she leaned into my hand every time I petted her; she was my dog; I had to bring her home.

For the first several months we called her "Dora the Doorstop" because she was afraid of everything and rarely left the couch. Then her true colors showed and she became a fearless social butterfly. Over the next few years, I began to realize just how special she was, she seemed naturally drawn to people and people just opened up around her, so with a lot of training we became a certified therapy dog team.

Only a few months after got our certifiction, we were struck a blow, and Dora was diagnosed with terminal cancer. She had a splenectomy and began chemo, but we were told she would have 6-8 months left, at best. Still, with the blessing of the oncologist and the vet, we continued our visits--a therapy dog with cancer was something special in the nursing homes where other people were also fighting that terrible disease.

And against all odds, she kept going--8 months, a year, two years, and on... We retired from nursing home visits and started visiting elementary schools and libraries wehre people could come to her after about 2.5 years as it was less taxing, and kids loved her just as much--if not more--than the seniors did. She was truly something remarkable.

She finally lost the battle 3 years and 51 weeks after her cancer diagnosis, but we made a lifetime of memories and taught me so much that I will always appreciate her legacy.

Emily Ann Meyer
Frederick, MD

Orion,my starry-eyed kitten

He started out as a regular, cute, black kitty called Luis. My husband took him in when he was about 5 months old and loved playing with the dogs, and running around everywhere. His cute, intelligent and social personality made us fall in love immediately. One day, when my husband was out, the kitten stole the meat that the man took care of the place and animals while we he was absent, and in a fit of rage, he grabbed the poor baby and slammed him hard to the floor. The cat was paralyzed from the waist down. However, he still had feeling in his hind legs so we hoped he would get better and gave him his proper treatment. When we decided to move in together, we didn´t hesitate in bringing the kitty with us. We renamed him Orión, since he was living a new and better life filled with love, by our side, with our german shepherd, Osa, and our other black cat called Mina. It hasn´t been easy since he had a clear lack of sphincter control issues, and still couldn´t walk, but he became my baby and I wouldn´t trade him for the world. He has improved a lot, almost stands up completely and walks in all fours sometimes. However, even if he can´t walk completely upright or jump, he´s a master at climbing, running surprisingly fast and has managed to jump a considerable distance again... we just know, he´s gonna get better, and even if he didn´t manage get completely well, he´s going to be alright. I am the proudest mom ever.

Catalina
Cali, Colombia

All Hiss, No Bite

I recently wrote a story about my big fluffy cat, Earl of Sandwich, and now I will tell the little russian blue's story.

My husband and I moved to Maryland last July (2014) from Missouri. Earl was separated form his sister, which was good, since LuluBell was stressed out with her brother around. She wouldn't eat or play if she saw him. I'm please to say she is doing great now.

We found out we can have two cats at our new place. We wondered if another cat would be wise, especially with LuluBell's reaction.

Once Earl got settled in, he started to take up pouncing on my ankle. He never hurt me, but it was getting irritating. In September, we decided to see if we could find a playmate. We were looking for an order cat, who could hold their own, but loved others. We stopped by a pets-mart to buy a cat tree one day. We saw that they had cats that day, we took a look. I was drawn to the kittens, but they were too small. I wanted a cat that can run away if needed too. There was a pair of 2-month-old kittens, one climbed up on the cage door to greet us. My husband spoke, "I like this one! He reacts to people."

After playing with the kittens, my husband insisted on the one that greeted us. So we filled out the adoption paperwork, and took him home. Naming him Vodka Jasper Mewtini on the way.

Earl was happy about his new cat tree, but displease with the new brother. Vodka was freaked out and Earl just grumbled. He would complain, but luckily he didn't claw or bite; even at his height of anger. I spent the next few days, brushing both cat's fur with the same brush. Using their favorite toy, the bootlace, as a way to draw them closer. After 5 days of war, they both cuddled up together. I was so glad that the house had peace and the two were both comfortable. They've been close ever since.

Jennifer Senate
Savage, MD

An early second chance.

I am a veterinary technician and I was on my way to work one morning two weeks ago, and right before pulling into work I saw what just looked like a sock or shirt laying in the road, I didn't think much of it. About 15 minutes later a woman came in holding a box and said she found a kitten on the road, and she thinks it is still alive. My heart sank knowing I drove right past this sweet girl without thinking twice. I took her in to the exam room and the doctor decided she may have a broken jaw and some head trauma. We administered a steroid injection, subcutaneous fluids, pain medication, and started her on antibiotics. The first two days were not great for her. She was in some pain and could not hold her head upright. On day 3, she was starting to improve, she was less stuffy, her head was upright, and she was eating well from a syringe. I decided to take her home and continue her care, and bring her to work with me every day. Since then this little girl has blossomed into quite the firecracker! She is still syringe feeding, as she is only about 4 weeks old, maybe 5, and she loves to chase my feet when I walk! If it weren't for the woman finding her, this little girl wouldn't have stood a chance out there along the road. My husband decided to name her Nook, and she is settling in quite well at home with our three other cats.

Candace
Williamsport, PA

April the Litle Survivor

APRIL THE LITTLE SURVIVOR

On April 1ST. 2001, the marina near where I live in Florida called. A kitty had been dropped off by a passing boat. It seems they saw a cat in the water abnd since they couldn't reach it with a net, the woman jumped into the Intracoastal and brought it aboard. The marina knowing we were cat lovers, asked if we would keep it while they tried to locate the owner. After calling other marinas up and down the coast, no one had reported a missing cat.

Our nineteen year old has pssed away recently.

During our travels we had found nine homeless kttens all over the country starting in California in 1952.

A few minutes later, friends arrived with a waste basket holding a nine pound white kitty. She was in need of a bath so after they left, I put her in the tub wiuth her paws on the side and she never moved. She was home and we had our tenth child. Since it was April 1st. it seemed appropriate to name her "April".

The Vet said she was a female and probably a year or two old. The lady at the marina had said she had been declawed. However it was discovered her front claws were all broken off. Her ears were full of water and she still has a scar over one eye and a chipped front tooth. Her arms were sore to the touch. She had obviously tried to cliumb up an oyster shell covered wall and had been swimming for a VERY long time.

After losing my husband in 2002 after 53 years, I was devistated. The thing that keeps me going is having April. We need each other and she has made ME a survivor, also.

Anonymous
Palm Coast, FL

Growl, hiss, spit, motor purr.

I first met Molly through a Craigslist add. The woman had found her in a dumpster, taken her in and had her spayed but ultimately found that she did not get along with her other cat, soon after bringing her home I found out why.

For the first few weeks of what would be many years together, she stayed as far as humanly (cattenly?) possible from me. If I dare so much as look in her direction I'd be 'greeted' with growls and hisses, to the point where I wondered if we'd ever be friends. One day after perhaps a month, I found myself honored by 'nearness', that over time became full blown affection.

In later years, she became my bedside companion, often cuddling my arm and using my hand as a pillow (and whoa is me if I DARED move it!) and if I went out of town, it would sometimes be days before I earned forgiveness (but when it came, it would be total!)

Last year, I had to take her to the vet to let her go. She got VERY ill, very suddenly, and releasing her from the pain was the only option. After a week of heartache, I met the ginger and white bomb of crazy who would be named 'Doogle', who thanks to 'Spay Day' at the local humane society, is also a semi reformed street orphan, now immunized, fixed, and chipped for a long and well loved life.

Now excuse me while I once again remove the ornament hanging from the screen door... ;)

Paulie
Seattle, WA

Furry Babies

My whole life I lived with cats, so much so, that I felt I was raised by them at some extent. My family has always loved animals, and have always helped anyone who needed some care with pets.

One April day in 2010, my friend's cat had 4 kittens. Unfortunately, 2 days after they were born the mother was hit by a car. Not sure what to do, my friend’s Mother contacted my own, asking if there was anyway the kittens could survive. My Mother said: “They can go to the animal shelter or I can try and take care of them.”

Next thing my Mom knew she was going out to pick the little ones up. When my mother got there sadly one on the male kittens had died. So she took the remaining 3 and started to take care of them. I got home form High School that day to find we had 3 little furry babies to care for. I was excited to help out, and would feed them in the early mornings and evenings. I remember how hard it was to get them to use the bottle, and how sharp their little claws were between my fingers. It hurt a little, but I bared with it. After all, I didn't want to go though the hassle of tring to get them back on the bottle, just cause my fingers weren't comfortable.

Today, these 3 kittens are 5 years old. My mother has the short hair black one named LuluBell. My friend's mother has the tuxedo short hair Elizabeta, nicked named “Lizzy”. Lastly, I have the big fluffy mass of 15lbs with his mixed coat colors and markings, Earl of Sandwich. The best cat a person can every have.

Jennifer Senate
Savage, MD
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