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Sox and Patches

On May 25th, 2014, I took one of my brothers up to my mom's house with me, and we took my other brother to the river. To do that we had to go over a levee and through a lot of homeless camps. These guys are cool, though, and my gosh are some of the cats there gorgeous. On our way back my older younger brother spotted this pretty little smokey grey cat and jokingly asked some of the Campers: "Is that your guard cat?"

One thing led to another and the next thing I knew they were handing us two tiny 4 week old kittens, a little male and a little female. They both had eye infections and feline herpes (upper respiratory infection), and the little girl's case was so awful we were at first afraid she didn't have a left eye. But my mom cleaned her up and we found it, and after me and my youngest brother begged and begged, and the Campers were hiding so they wouldn't have to take them back, we finally got to keep them.

The following Tuesday I spent three hours in the vet's office with them and spent $70 I didn't have to learn what was wrong and how to treat it. I fell deeply in love with the little boy, whom I'd named Sox (Soxy Boy, Sockpuppet), who actually helped me through bouts of depression for the next two weeks. Then I took two healthy six week old kittens back up to my Mom, and she immediately fell in love with the little female, whom she successfully renamed Patches. Someone tried to take off with my Soxy Boy not too long ago but he found his way home after three hours. My Mom had been desperate to try and find him since she saw how much we loved each other, but it was within minutes of my arrival we suddenly heard frantic meowing outside, and opened up the door, and my handsome little boy leapt into my arms because he knew his mommy needed him. Cats really are amazing creatures.

Sierra Ahrens
Citrus Heights, CA

The Little Black Dog in the Corner

I still remember when I first saw her, she was curled up in the back of the kennel scared for her life.

Back track to a week before: my families beloved Golden Retriever was dying, he was probably the best dog I've ever known, Bailey was my dream dog. This dog was no Bailey, she was small, timid and unnerved, I could tell she hadn't come from a good place. I came to the shelter two days before Bailey passed away, hoping to find a dog I could foster and give a little love. I didn't expect to be taking any dogs home to keep, I already owned another dog, Lola, the "gentile giant" as I liked to call her, 60 pounds of Australian Shepherd mix who loves to run and play fetch. However, my boyfriend convinced me into thinking about fostering since I was feeling so down about Bailey, he thought it would be a chance to help another needy animal.

I agreed to go "take a look." I walked into the shelter, a dark and dingy place that wreaked of animal urine. I searched the kennels looking for something to pop out at me and that's when I saw her. She was nervous and skittish but despite that we asked the kennel assistant if we could take her out to the play pen. Her exact words were, "you don't want this one, she bites," I looked anxiously at my boyfriend but proceeded to take her outside anyway. The lady gave us a tennis ball to throw and although she seemed apprehensive to get it, she obliged. I knew right then that this scared & battered dog would need to come home. I told my boyfriend I would take her and two days later I had a new dog. She was so happy to be out of that kennel, she was full of life. Today Reecie is almost a year old, she has come from a background on the streets starving for food and likely beaten but now she has a happy and fulfilled life with Lola and me.

Orlando, FL

A Best Friend

I had always had dogs. When I moved to college, I was lost without an animal.

I took my boyfriend at the time to the shelter. My original childhood dog had come from the same one, and I wanted to see what they had. My heart was set on an outgoing, energetic, cattle dog mix of some kind.

I played with several, and then the boyfriend pointed out a skinny, lab/pit mix that was hiding in the corner. Absolutely not. Not the personality I wanted, not the type, just no.

We took him outside and he stuck behind me like glue. I knew then I couldn't leave him.

For the first four months, he wouldn't look anyone in the eyes - he stared at the floor. Getting him to eat without trembling took almost a year.

Time heals all wounds, though, and he came around. Suddenly, his eyes lit up at "treat" and "walk" and "car ride". He knew when I brought home a stuffed animal it was for him. He developed his own unique traits - like furiously fleabiting your shoulder when he was happy. Or spinning fast circles when he was excited.

He was my best friend. And I his. He slept with me every night - we shared our pillow, a tradition that started that first night in college when I brought him home and saw him so scared. He was my shadow and my glue - while he was never comfortable with big crowds and new dogs/people, he trusted in me always and put on a good face.

I got him at a year old, and lost him at seven due to a sudden onset of Primary IMHA. Six years was not long enough.

His name was "Buddy". The first few weeks I had him, "hey little Buddy" was the only thing that fit - and it stuck. In my heart, always.

Dallas, TX

My Ginger Boy

I already had 2 cats when my sister who is a Police Officer called one day to say a kitten had been reported causing traffic congestion locally as it was on a busy 60mph road and nobody had stopped to help it, just driven around it causing the problems with the traffic, my sister's colleagues went to collect it with the intention of taking it to the local animal shelter. My sister stepped in and said she couldn't bear to see it go so took it to the vets as it was so small, thin and covered in fleas and ticks.

I went straight over to the vets with her to collect him and fell in love with the most gorgeous little ginger boy I'd ever seen, he would not get out of my arms (even ate with me holding him) and after a phone call to my fiancé we decided he was meant to come and live with us. We called him Chesney and had 6 wonderful years with him, he was the loveliest cat you could have wished for, everybody loved our gentle giant and he adored our other 2 cats and they went everywhere around the house together. You would walk in on him and our other male cat cuddling every day. He died earlier this year of an unknown heart condition and we miss him every day - he brought so much joy to our lives. RIP Ches, you'll be forever in our hearts xx

Wiltshire, United Kingdom

Our Rescue Kittens Rescued Us

We lost our beloved cat Ollie earlier this year, she "adopted" us in 1999 when she wandered into our lives - already an adult cat with a previous life, she lived with us until old age and infirmity finally caught up with her.

This was one of the worst moments in our lives and one of the hardest decisions we ever made, it felt like losing a huge part of us and as we let her cross the rainbow bridge with tears streaming down our faces and broken hearts, we knew it was the right thing to do as her quality of life had diminished so much but that doesn't stop the pain.

We having been addicted to Jackson Galaxy and also following some of the excellent live streaming foster web cams that are out there, "Foster Dad John" & "Shelly's Tiny Kittens" being some of our favourites.

Wanting to support one of our local shelters we filled out our forms and in a matter of days we were interviewed and met two of the cutest creatures on the planet, naming our new boy Nibbler (Black&White) and Amy (Grey&White).

These two darlings were born feral before being picked up by the shelter and they were not socialised with people, when they came home they hid from us for the first hour or so, although Dreamies brought them out eventually.

After 2 months they are now coming out of their shells, playing with us, demanding cuddles, they still don't like to be picked up but that will come in time.

Sharing our lives and home with them is the sweetest thing ever.

We don't like to think what would have become of them if they hadn't been picked up, but we are eternally grateful to the shelter for what they did and considering they are "Ferals" we get so much love and affection from them its difficult to believe where they were just a few months ago.

All we can say is our favourite breed is rescued and these darlings certainly rescued us !!

Sean and Miriam with Amy & Nibbler
Newcastle, United Kingdom

The Impulse Adoption

I work at an Emergency Veterinary Clinic, so quite frequently I see sad situations of owners not being able to afford their pet's vet bills or the prognosis being so poor to the point that owners have decided to euthanize over treat. I always want to help but I never knew about being able to adopt until I came across Mose (Louis at the time).

It was a Saturday and I was scheduled for Reception from 8a-3p. I came in and the Overnight doctor told me about a 1 year old orange tabby in Treatment who might be euthanized. She had hinted at adopting him but I did not take her seriously for a bit. When I saw him, however, I immediately fell in love. In one of the kennels was the cutest orange tabby I've seen. He had that Garfield sort of look about him, and he was such a sweet boy. Despite the Femoral fracture that he had he was purring and rubbing up against my hand when I pet him.

The owners of Mose decided to come in to visit and make final decisions. The options were either to go through with the pin surgery, amputate the leg, or euthanize. The owners could not afford the pin surgery, and they did not want him to have 3 legs, so they were leaning more toward euthanasia. The morning doctor then brought me back to the treatment area, and asked if I was serious about adopting him. I automatically said yes, even though I hadn't thought it through completely. I had just impulse adopted a cat.

However, it was the best choice I had ever made. The owner of the business helped me out with any financial issues I might have had and the surgery went amazingly well! My parents were a little freaked out at first but now love him. He's the friendliest cat I've ever known, and the best orange tabby a girl could ask for. I think he moreover adopted me, and It's a choice I'll never regret.

Sadie Eilis
Groton, CT

Tiger Lily

I wanted to send a message about my daughter, Anna, and her little Tiger Lily. Anna was 'fostering' kittens, which in my opinion was just a euphemism for shopping, when she first met Tiger Lily. As a family, we have always taken in stray cats, and loved them dearly. Anna had graduated from college, and brought her ginger tabby, Raio, from Italy with her when she relocated to Orlando. Imagine my surprise when I went to visit at Christmas in 2012 and found her with tiny Tiger Lily. The very first time Anna laid eyes on her, she burst in to tears because she was so affected by this tiny ball of fur. And I knew that when she introduced me to this baby kitty (already named!) she was going to be a permanent addition. So she began by "fostering" Tiger Lily (who was still too small to be adopted). It soon became apparent that soon Anna was going to be her parent. Little Tiger Lily was doing poorly and was suddenly very sick with a respiratory infection. And while the shelter was willing to pay some of her necessary medical expenses, they could not take on the entire treatment. So Anna jumped in, adopted her, and proceeded to save her life. On Christmas morning, she had to rush her to the emergency vet (again) because she continued to do so poorly and I was trying to prepare Anna that she might be too small to fight through it. But with Anna’s love and fierce determination, she pulled Tiger Lily through it all. The picture is of Tiger Lily with her big brother Raio. They are spoiled and well taken care of. I can honestly say that Anna saved Tiger Lily’s life. She could not have pulled through without Anna because Anna was not going to give up. These cats have won the lottery. As with all the cats featured, they were saved. But the reality is they were saving us too!

Orlando, FL

Cheynee and Bastet

After moving away from my parents, I was looking to get myself a cat (or two). I was going to try and get a pair of older cats, but instead ended up looking at kittens.

There was one house I went to that infuriated me. Five four-week old kittens were living under a sheet of iron at the mercy of two great big labradors - apparently one kitten had already been lost to their "playing". The mother was a beautiful calico, however she wasn't allowed inside as the mans wife hated cats - and it was "too expensive" to have her spayed so she'd stop having litters! However, I couldn't stop myself from falling in love with two of the kittens - a boisterous calico and a timid black and white boy. The day came to pick them up (at five weeks old, I couldn't convince the man to keep them any longer) and we nearly lost the black and white boy to the labradors. We quickly put the pair into the carrier (I cried, thinking of those poor kittens being snatched away from their mother), where they became Cheynee the Princess and Bastet the Black and White Boofhead.

They haven't suffered much for leaving their mother so early, Cheynee loves watching a football game and Bastet thinks feet are a great delicacy - and both are desexed for their own good. The other kittens found good homes too, and I'm so glad I rescued my babies - I just wish I could have convinced the man to have their mother fixed for her own good!

Brisbane, Australia

A Happy Ex-Camper

My rescue Holly had a tough start in life. Someone abandoned her at a campground in rural southern Missouri, with no shelter and nothing to eat. There were dogs in the area that were known to kill cats, so she didn't stand much of a chance of survival. A friend of mine who camped there became concerned about her, so he enticed her into a cage and brought her home for me to adopt. She was young, but emaciated and plagued by parasites. Our first stop was the vet, who treated her for a rare case of lungworm -- a parasite outdoor cats pick up when they're forced to eat slugs and snails to survive.

Now, Holly is a sweet, loving and healthy indoor pet, well loved and cared for. She shares my apartment with my other two cats, and seems perfectly happy not to be "living off the land" anymore. She's a great example of the wonderful pets that rescues make.

Julie J.
Saint Louis, MO

Nikki, The Kitty that Chose Us

Growing up we always had cats. When I was around age 11 we had two males, Marty and Doc, that ruled the neighborhood. They didn't let other cats come near our house. One day we had the front door open and the most beautiful little tortoiseshell kitty I had ever seen walked into our house like she owned the place. The boys weren't perfect, but they didn't chase her off. She only came to kitty at first, but I found she would respond to Nikki since it was close. After looking for an owner we came to the conclusion that she was most likely dropped off. We tried to foster her, but she ended up becoming my Christmas present that year. Nikki was the reason that I began a long, ongoing relationship with our local humane society that turned into 15+ years of volunteer work.

Throughout our lives, Nikki was my family's little girl. She held the feisty attitude many torties do, often telling us who was boss. Whoever I or my brother was dating often held her affection, but also had to deal with her being our jealous little kitty. Nikki helped us through my parents' divorce and many tragic deaths. She was a true blessing to not just me, but to my family. As she aged health issues came along. We had to have her thyroid removed, treat her kidneys, etc. Sadly, a few weeks ago my little kitty stopped eating and behaving the same. After performing x-rays on her chest a mass was found. We decided the most humane thing to do was to put her to rest. One day we will meet at the rainbow bridge, share some loves, and we can thank her for everything. R.I.P. Nikki Kitty. We love you.

Amanda Anderson
Pocatello, ID
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