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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

Our black and white street kitty

Chas (Charlie Chaplin) was around a year old when we met him living under parked cars in the street. Neighbours said he'd been living rough since he was a kitten, and no one could get near him. He was the most skittish nervous cat I've ever seen. He was emaciated, his fur was lumpy from a major flea egg infestation, and he had a big open wound on his chest. He looked in such bad condition that all the neighbours thought he would die - so did we.

We started feeding him every day but it was many months before we could touch him - however despite his nerves, he seemed to like being near people. He would happily sit at our feet but was terrified of an outstretched hand, or any sudden movements or noise. He'd never been inside a house and although we gradually lured him inside with food, he would panic if he felt locked in, so we bought him a cat bed for the front doorstep...

Eventually we trapped him and took him – half wild – to the vet to be desexed, microchipped and vaccinated. We took him to my parents' spacious home to recover, and he's been there ever since!

It's taken months of patience and pheromone diffusers, but he's now emerged from his traumatic start to life to be a very friendly, playful and gentle cat. And he now enjoys a pat! He’s never scratched or bitten anyone. He also never jumps up on any furniture, preferring to keep all four paws on the ground. Mostly, he loves being with his people - wherever we are, he’s there.

It’s been very rewarding rescuing a homeless animal right off the streets. He’s not a lap cat yet, but there’s potential... He's a lovely guy!

Andrea
Melbourne, Australia

The Lone Survivor

Every year my daughter and I would take care of all the wild cats that were around our house in the country and one cat in particular was my daughter's favorite. A beautiful white based Siamese, who was heavily pregnant. We could never get near her for she was very feral and she had given birth to her kids under our house. We would watch her leave every morning to go hunting and come home early afternoon to feed her kittens. She would come and go like clockwork! After 3 days of not seeing her, she finally came crawling home, literally, and came straight to me and landed in my lap with nothing but fear and pain. Someone had shot her through the shoulder and there was NO saving her.(Trust me, we tried!) My daughter was devastated as she crawled under the house to look for momma's 6 day old kitten's. Unfortunately, she lost all of her babies except one, Crystal! We raised this beautiful girl from 6 days of age and she is now 7 yrs old. Other than the calico points on her ears and tail, she is a spitting image of her mother who gave all to return to her beloved family.

Page Proctor
Canby, CA

Stray kitten survives being stuck under car

http://youtu.be/JeXjmWvw6Zk

Staci was driving to work when she heard the distinct sound of a meowing cat coming from somewhere in her car. Forty five minutes later when she arrived at work, she checked the car and could not find where that sound was coming from. When she left work, she could still hear the loud meowing. She decided to take the car to the dealership.

The mechanics had to take apart the bottom of the car and found a 10 week old kitten stuck underneath the car near the back wheel. We have adopted her and welcomed her into our home. We named her Mercedes, which was fitting because of her choice of hiding spots.

Staci usually keeps her car in the garage. Two days prior, she left the car outside. The kitten must have crawled underneath the car during that rainy night. She survived 2 days in the Florida heat under the car and the long commute to and from work. She is lucky to be alive. See the YouTube video above for the amazing rescue.

Staci Kaufman
Tampa, FL

Our Sweet Mouse

In the summer of 1975 my husband and I went for a ride in the Ramapo Mountains with our 2 year old son. Something ran across the road in front of us. We looked at each other and said "what was that?” I started yelling to stop the car but my husband was reluctant because we didn't know what it was. Needless to say he stopped. I got out and sat on the side of the road. This poor little thing came slinking out of the woods with her tail wagging and crawled into my lap. I was in love. Into the car she went. We brought her home gave her food, a bath and a comfortable bed.

The next day we took her to the vet. She was approximately four months old. She had lost most of her hair due to flea infestation, she was under weight, had a broken leg and rickets. She threw up berry skins, twigs and leaves for days. We had to leave her at the veterinarian overnight. The next day when we went to pick her up she was overjoyed to see us. Her leg was splinted and she'd been given a thorough flea bath. In time her hair grew back, the rickets cured and her leg healed.

How she got her name; when I put her in the car our 2 year old kept calling her a rat. We thought about naming her Rat but it just didn't seem right so we all agreed on Mouse. Mouse lived with us for many years. We always felt she was grateful to us for saving her and we were grateful to her for enriching our lives. She was the best baby girl we could ever have asked for.

JoAnn Kulcsar
Highland, NY

Gypsy

In March of 2013, I was driving down a highway, approaching a small country town in South Carolina when I saw a small brown dog lying on the side of the road chewing on something. As an avid animal rescuer, my heart always goes out to the animals I see on the side of the road, but this dog had such a magnetic pull on me, I had to turn around. As soon as I pulled over behind her, she ran across the road into the woods. Luckily, my 6 year old had left a half eaten Pop Tart in the car that morning, so I grabbed it, pulled off my heels, and followed the dog into the woods. I finally coaxed her over to me, which probably would have never happened without that Pop Tart. I carried her back to my car and gave her some water. She was covered in ticks and fleas and stunk to the high heavens! I took her home and bathed her with Dawn. She was so afraid of people and cowered in such a way it seemed as if she had been badly mistreated. I planned on just fostering her since I already have two other big dogs, but everyone who expressed interest just didn't feel right. Her fear of people also held me back, but she had come to trust and love my daughter and me explicitly, and we had absolutely fallen in love with her. We named her Gypsy. She sleeps right up against me every night and has the most comedic personality of any dog I've ever met. While she is still afraid of most people, and even shies away from us if we make sudden movements, she is so gentle and loving. 8 months after I found her, a dog fighting ring had been busted in that small town. We'll never know if that's where she came from or what kind of trauma she experienced before, but this dog has saved me more than I could have ever saved her.

Ashley
Sumter, SC

Miracle Moosie

Moosie is our 2 year old cat who survived a move from Fort Bliss, Tx to Fort Wainwright, Ak. We originally thought he ran away April 6th, 2015 while the movers loaded our house hold goods, but surprisingly we found Moosie trapped in a futon when we moved into our new home on June 11th, 2015. Moosie survived 64 days in a conex traveling by land, sea, and train without food or water and lived! Now we are trying to save our amazing cat but the vet bill is quickly getting out of control. Moosie has required multiple blood test to check organs, along with fluids, anesthesia, and now a feeding tube to carefully introduce his body to food again, and this is only day 2 of his treatment. We love him dearly and want nothing more than to bring a healthy and happy Moosie home. He is such an amazing and tough little guy.

Anonymous
Anchorage, AK

Charger

Going to the animal shelter was my way of forgetting about anything I was stressing over. My boyfriend and I would go every weekend and walk as many of the dogs as we could. One Saturday we looked on the board and saw that a dog named Charger needed to be walked so we went looking for him. We found Charger in a tiny cage towards the back of the storage room. He was the furriest most high energized dog I had ever seen, his name fit so well. We brought him outside and he couldn't get enough of the sunshine and fresh air. We left that day and knew we had to have this crazy dog. We called my boyfriend's parents and with enough convincing they agreed to help us get him home. We only had one problem, we had to wait 2 weeks to take him home and the shelter didn't do holds. We made a commitment to go every day and stay with him until the shelter closed. He quickly began to recognize us and shook all the way to his hind legs whenever we walked in the door. Finally, on Easter morning we got to bring him home. Since that day 2 years ago he has been the most loyal and loving family member and we wouldn't trade him for the world.

Shannon Bollard
Indiana, PA

Vesper, the Miracle Cat

We lost our beloved 15-year-old cat Otto to cancer in early 2014, and it didn't take us long before we were really lonely.

The local vet's office sometimes had cats up for adoption, so we went there and saw a blue-cream tortoiseshell with a clipped ear, and a brown spotted tabby. We adopted them both. We named them Vesper and Uma.

Vesper had been a feral cat. A woman hit her with her car, brought her into the vet's office, and dropped her off without paying. She didn't have the use of her legs, and was acting so feral that they didn't think she would be adoptable. They were going to euthanize her, but one of the vet techs intervened and took her home. After about a month, she regained the use of her legs, but the plan was to release her back out into the wild--until we saw her and adopted her.

Vesper has been the most wonderful cat--she doesn't act feral at all. She's so affectionate and cuddly, we can't imagine her living outside. She's had some additional health problems along the way, including a heart condition and an aggressive stomach bacteria, but after lots of vet visits, she's doing great--she's the miracle cat.

Uma is our little 7-pound diva, who was found living behind an Outback steakhouse. We've also adopted Wendy, who was abandoned when her owner moved away, and was found outside, starving and wounded.

We love all our rescue girls, and we hope they live long and happy lives.

Jared Dillian
Myrtle Beach, SC
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