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Manke Nelis (Nelis with the limp)

When we moved to our new appartment, I wanted a second cat for our Hector to play with. So we went to a shelter near Antwerp. At first I wanted to take a ginger cat that was really afraid, but she hadn't been in the shelter for long enough to take home at that time. The girl there showed us another cat, who was hiding in a cage. He'd had an operation on his hip and had had to rest in the cage for four weeks. He was just ready to be taken home. I saw two big eyes staring at me and decided to take him home. We named him Nelis, after a singer who is called Manke Nelis (mank=limping). His hind legs were very small and he couldn't jump or walk well. When he wanted to get on the sofa, he climbed up via the back, just by his front paws. He was so scared and stayed under the sofa for a few days. He wouldn't eat. After a while, I put him in our bedroom and there he relaxed and started to eat. He was introduced to Hector, our other cat, and they got along ok. They're not the best of friends, but they can live together. Nelis has grown a lot and is now a strong, healthy cat, who can run and jump as much as he wants to. Every morning he waits for me when I get up and when I get home, he's wating at the door. We love him a lot!

Kathleen Verwaest
Antwerp, Belgium

Abandoned Eleanor

In March of 2013 a co-worker found 2 kittens, their mother, and pregnant aunt in a basement of an abandoned house. He trapped the 4 cats in a cage and brought them to work, with the hopes of finding them homes. He already knew my partner and I were at the pet limit for our homeowner's association and my partner would not allow me to sneak her in the house.He tells me no you can't have it because he knew I would want that one particular kitten because she looked like my other 2. I brought her over to my partners location at our company and convinced him to at least let us foster the kitten for the weekend because the co-worker who found them was supposed to find them homes. Another co-worker was willing to take the momma cat and the other kitten for the weekend and a local vet was willing to take the pregnant cat. My partner agreed to let me foster this kitten. After returning to work on Monday, I was told someone was willing to take the momma cat and the other kitten, but the only people my co-worker could suggest giving my "kitten" too, were people that I knew would not be forever cat people. I refused to give this kitten up to just any one. I wanted her to go to someone who would treat her as a family member not something that would be thrown out the first time she misbehaved. So after having her checked out at the vet and finding out she was in good health and could be around my 2 cats, she became part of the family. Eleanor has brought so much love and happiness to our house, we do not regret the decision to keep her.

Poconos, PA

Sweetheart; the sweetest cat I have ever met!

I adopted an adorable tabby named Sweetheart from the Toronto Humane society on August 11th 2014 and it was truly the best decision I have ever made. Sweetheart came from another shelter prior to being at the humane society, I was told that he was adopted as a kitten and then abandoned after growing out of his kitten days (which I could only imagine to be extraordinarily adorable) he was left on the street and then collected by another unknown animal shelter where he was adopted by someone else and then returned to the Toronto Humane society.

When I met sweetheart he was two years old and terrified. He displayed a lot of anxiety but at the same time was so friendly and eager to play with me I couldn't resist taking him home. Once his cage was opened to pack him up take him home he instantly became terrified. I stood by his side playing and petting him for about two hours until he was comfortable enough to come home with me. After all the trauma he has experienced and a confined life in a shelter he opened right up to me as soon as I brought him home! He rolled on his back and showed me his belly, basked in the sunlight on my bed, jumped,played, snuggled and kissed me all day and night! a few weeks later I introduced him to my other cat (I only waited so long because the other cat was territorial and hostile for the first two weeks) and they became best friends grooming and chasing each other. Sweetheart is now happy in his forever home, he is incredibly sweet, affectionate, and playful.I wake up to little kitty massages and kisses every morning and he enjoys life almost as much as I enjoy having the little guy! I can't believe someone could return a cat so sweet but now I am the lucky human who gets to keep him.

Toronto, ON, Canada

My Sunny bunny

Sunny was found in 2005 injured by the side of an Oklahoma road. He was brought to a friend's clinic, where his front right leg was amputated. I received a phone call, reminding me that I had wanted a second dog. So Sunny came to Minnesota in 2006 and has been part of my family since then. He has no idea he is short a limb. He runs, chases the ball and swims like a fish! He has the sweetest temperament and often leans against people, hoping for some attention. His best friend is my golden retriever, Kalli. They play tug-of-war, chase each other and snuggle together at naptime. I can't imagine my life without my Sunny-bunny!

St. Paul, MN

Autumn and Summer -- Developing Trust

I lost Tigger Too from cancer in 2007 at age 7 ½ years. I was grieving. Two months later I saw an ad for two lapcats. I wondered why a machine shop was advertising free cats. The shop was alive with loose cats and kittens. Rescued cats. Lynn spent time taking care of them, socializing them, and getting them adopted. I adopted two. Autumn is a tortie with autumn colors. Summer is a long-haired tabby, gray with black stripes. Both were less than a year old. They had had shots and were spayed. I was given a carrier, food, and cat toys for each! I did not know they had never met before. I opened both carriers right inside my door. Autumn was curious and courageous and affectionate from the start. I so admire and love her! She was on my lap in no time. Summer came out of her carrier frantic. She streaked into the living room and hid beneath a recliner where she stayed for more than 2 weeks. I knew she was eating at night, and occasionally I saw one eye watching me around a corner. One day she marched across the floor meowing loudly and stood looking up at me! She was out! It took a while before she would let me touch her. Now she wants to be petted and sometimes goes to strangers in my home – expecting to be petted. She lies upside down constantly – everywhere – including on my table. She takes turns with Autumn on my lap. They both have beds on the bottom of my bed. Summer’s is the best story I know about developing trust. I was sad thinking I would never love her as much as Autumn, but now we couldn’t love each other more.

Janice Beers
Clayton, OH

My Little Winnie

In the summer of 2011, I lived in an apartment complex that had a laundromat. There was a golf cart outside the laundromat. The maintenance people used it to go from apartment to apartment. When I was walking out of the laundromat one night, I noticed a group of kids throwing rocks under the golf cart. I bent down and reached my hand underneath. To my surprise I pulled out a kitten. I took her back with me and gave her some food. She gobbled it up. She then proceeded to make herself at home by falling asleep on the back of my couch. I was instantly in love. However, I already had one cat, Pippa, and she hated the kitten. A few days later, I decided to give the kitten to my friend. I was heartbroken but wanted to do what was best for the kitten. A week later, my friend called and said he could no longer keep the kitten because he was moving to a place that didn't allow pets. I went back to get the kitten. I named her Winnie. I was determined to make Winnie and Pippa get along. Eventually, they became friends. Winnie is almost four now. She is scared of other people for the most part. I attribute that to the incident with the kids. She is definitely a mommy's girl though. She loves snuggling with me under the blankets. Pippa and her pretty much rule the house now. I love them both (and the others that I have found over the years) more than anything in the world.

Cleveland, TN

My Itty Bitty Baby

I began fostering in April of 2014. I had several cats come through in a short time. I got my first dog, Holli, over the summer and she was a beautiful pitbull momma who had just weened her pups. She was great. With me, my daughter and my cat. Eventually word got out somehow that I was working with a rescue. I received a call one evening that a woman had two kittens that she couldn't keep. She asked me to take them to the rescue. I called the owner and set up a meet. They came to me one Sunday, scared and confused. Holli was NOT a fan of the new babies. I kept them separated for a couple days. The woman from the rescue was supposed to meet up with me soon to get the kittens vetted but hadn't had time. Before she had the time, one Tuesday afternoon the brothers ran passed me while trying to feed them. They got into the room the dog was in and Holli just snapped. What followed was the worst day of my life. I don't know if she was scared or angry but Holli killed one kitten. One of my itty bitties was gone. I had to get emergency care for the injuries I received trying to save him. Holli left that night. It wasn't her fault, it was mine, but I couldn't look at her anymore. The surviving kitten quickly became lonely and I was desperate to save him. He became the sweetest, most rambunctious little boy. I never stopped calling him Itty Bitty (shortened to Bitty) and it just kinda stuck. He is mine now, and I can't imagine life without him. I hope we have many years together. I love my Itty Bitty Baby...


A cat a dog owner could love

So, I grew up a dog person. Mainly, most of my family is allergic to cats, so they were never really an option. I generally had no opinion of cats, and never dreamed of having one of my own.

Fast forward to early 2014. I moved in with a college friend, and he had an older cat. She passed not to long after we moved in, and he adopted a 3 pawed long haired, aptly named Peg. Around the same time, my girlfriend adopted a super shy tortie named Ember. Being around these cats all the time started to wear on me a little, and eventually, I decided, I wanted to give a shelter cat a good home too.

Enter: Nova. Nova is a one year old calico. She is tiny in comparison to Peg and Ember. When my girlfriend and I went to the shelter to pick out a cat, I had anticipated adopting a boy cat, 3 - 8 months of age. Little did I know, I was about to fall for the cutest little calico.

When we walked into the shelter, there were a handful of cages near the door with cats of varying ages, sizes, and genders. Right in the middle was this little calico, who, when we got near the cage, started purring like a V8 mustang. Not to mention, if you put your hand in sniffing range, you got a nice, wet sloppy kiss. We looked at the other cages and at some of the cats and kittens I had intended on viewing. They took us in a back room, and one by one, we met the potential adoptees, and decided, what the heck, how about that calico by the door? They bring her back, spring the cage open, and right away, she's on my lap, head-butting me, kissing me on the nose, and purring louder and louder.

It was that moment where you just know, she's the keeper. A few days later, she was home, and has been my little buddy ever since. I couldn't be happier, even if she isn't a dog.

Matthew Perkins
Waukesha, WI

In the gutter

I had never planned to ever own a cat, let alone two, that changed the night my daughter asked to save two sick feral kittens. I told her we would nurse them back to health and then take them to the shelter. A few minutes later, she brought in two small kittens (approx 8 weeks) in definite need of medical attention. They both had severe conjunctivitis, respiratory infection, and were underweight. The smallest one seemed to only have one eye, so we named her Uno. We later learned the next day at the vet her eye was just extremely swollen and matted. The second, Squirt, was difficult to look at because all three of her eyelids were swollen and coming out of her eye sockets. She was blind. As soon as I saw them my heart melted and I wanted to help them.

The vet told us they may not survive. The next night we made a trip to the emergency room because Squirt hit Uno in the eye and blood came gushing out. Her eye was so bad they couldn't make a diagnosis - they said they thought her eye exploded and started talked about her getting infection and dying. Her head was so tiny they had to fashion a cone to put on her to protect her eye.

Lots of medication, TLC, and trips to the vet the kittens made a better than expected recovery. Uno has both of her eyes - one a little foggy. Squirt has impaired vision - one eyelid partially covers her right eye and both eyes are foggy, but you wouldn't know by watching that she has vision issues.

Needless to say, we kept them, they kind of grew on us. Now they are 9 months old and doing very well; spoiled rotten.

Rock Island, IL

Stella - the pittie who came to stay.

There are no coincidences. Only destiny.

I would often get into my car and make a 100 mile trip to the country to visit a friend. Usually I'd have dogs in the car, but on this particular day, I didn't. I went alone. It was a perfect, beautiful June day and I wasn't in a particular hurry to get home, so I decided to take a different route and enjoy the scenery. A few miles up the road, I saw brake lights and cars slowing in both directions ahead of me. As I got closer, I saw the reason why. There was a dog, stumbling from exhaustion right in the middle of the road. The cars were avoiding her, but they drove fast on that road. Although I needed another dog like a hole in the head (I already had 8 at the time), I couldn't drive away. The thought of what happened to this dog if I kept going would haunt me for the rest of my life. I pulled over.

She was a pit bull. I got out of my car and knelt by the side of the road and in my sweetest voice, called to her. "Here, baby". She lifted her head, took one look at me, threw her ears back, broke into a huge pittie grin and came running to me as though I was her long lost friend. I thought, "now what? What the heck am I going to do with a pitbull?" Another driver helped me get her into my van. She slept the 2 hour ride home. I was worried. If she didn't like my dogs, things could get ugly.

I got her home. I kept her separated from the other dogs for about 2 weeks. I observed their body language carefully. Two weeks later, she was sleeping side by side with the border collies.

Her name is Stella. I was never a pitbull-type person. It's not that I didn't like them. I like all dogs. I just preferred a different type of dog, but Stella made a believer out of me.

Vicki Anderson
Williamsfield, OH
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