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Mrs. Ethel P. Zabladowski and the Troublesome Kitten

I have always been a black cat lover, so I was thrilled when my dad came home one day with a little black cat he'd agreed to take from a friend moving into an apartment that wasn't pet friendly. We figured it would take her some time to warm up to the family, but after living with us 4 years, she was rarely interacted with our family, and never came near me, in part because of our older cat, who claimed as hers.

When I finally moved off campus toward the end of college, I decided to take the little cat, since named Mrs. Zabladowski (she wasn't on a first name basis with any of us) with me. I expected our friendship to develop over months, so I was shocked when our first night together, she was all over me, purring and giving head butts. She has been my baby ever since, although she continued to be very nervous and timid.

Two years later I started grad school, which meant a LOT of studying. I could tell Ethel was lonely. I decided it was time to expand our family. One saturday, I ran to Petco to grab some supplies when a young black kitten caught my eye. I picked him up and he snuggled into me. It was love at first site!

When I brought him home, I quickly discovered this kitten was not the calm, quiet boy he had seemed to be. He quickly earned the name Houdini, after breaking out of my apartment. Ethel did not approve at first, immediately cornered him and growled. He responded by looking at her with confusion and I knew I'd found the right boy. Since then, Ethel has come into her own, striding around the house with a new found sense of confidence and purpose. She may act like she hates him, but when she thinks we're not looking, enjoys playing with him and observing his antics. He is amazing, funny, and loving cat in his own right. I'm so lucky to have them both!

Sarah
Manhattan, KS

Buddy

My fiance had recently lost her dog, Nikki, whom I loved and cared for like a daughter; she was a rescue who had been abused in EVERY way possible. Nikki was hit by a car when my fiance and I were out on September 9, 2013. We were devastated, we only had her for three months and she was three years old. We still mourn and have break downs about her to this day. But just a short week after, I saw on Kijiji an ad for a 7 year old Australian/Collie mix, he was free. I contacted the owner, and they immediately set up a time to meet me. I met him on a Tuesday in September, it was the day that I would never forget. He looked terrible, underweight, clumps of hair clipped out everywhere, his teeth were yellow stained, but he was still energetic. I took him that day and asked the owner for all his vet files. But, they never responded and I had never heard from them again, not even now. Buddy had surgery to remove a tooth that had grown into his jaw this January, and just October 29th, he had a pacemaker put in. His heart was only beating 20-42 bpm. We had to wait a week for the surgery, but they told us he could pass at any moment from heart failure. My mom and I were devastated, we cried and held onto each other. I tried to be a "man". The surgery cost 4,000 dollars, but now he is healthy again and the pace maker beats 98% of the time for him. He will go when he needs to go now. I realized that the owners knew that Buddy was costly, so they gave him away for free, I am glad they did. He wouldn't have lived another month if we didn't do the surgery and if he was with them, he would be dead. I am happy I got Buddy, he hasn't ever been this happy. I will never regret bringing Buddy home to the family.

Jensen Black
Orangeville, ON, Canada

Our Timmy Cat

My Husband and I recently got Timmy. He is three years old and had been at the humane society for over a month (which was a very short time compared to some of the cats.) My husband and I moved into our new house about 1 month ago. My whole life I have had a cat and after spending a few days home alone while my husband was at work I couldn't stand it any more. We had spent almost 2.5 hours at the humane society petting playing and asking about the cats at the shelter. It was so hard to make a decision they had over 50 cats to chose. My husband sat down and Timmy instantly came and laid in his lap. He purred loudly and seemed very excited to be paid attention too. We decided Timmy was ours and brought him home. The very first thing he did was hide behind microwave slowly he became more comfortable. He is very playful and often acts more like a dog following me or my husband through out the house. He loves being held and if he you are standing and he things that you not paying enough attention to him he will climb up your leg for attention. He likes to pounce on your feet under the cover. He has been so great and he is already hissing at one of the outdoor cats in the neighborhood. He is so sweet and kind it hurts to know this kitty was out on the street for who knows how long. He is a perfect addition to our home and fits in perfectly. I hate going to work leaving him at home. I can't imagine not having him. My favorite part of the day is coming home and petting him as he sits in my lap.

Kyla
Fairmont, WV

The Kitten Who Chose Me

Loki was a kitten who was found in a hoarders house, he had a severe upper respiratory infection, conjunctivitis and feline pneumonia. He was five weeks old, and slated to be put down. I worked at the Nebraska Humane Society and the minute I walked into the room he was in with his fellow hoarded cats, he screamed at me, while the rest were quiet. I threw a stink about his condition, and refused to let him be put down. I fostered him since he was 4 weeks old, and he ended up being healthy as a horse. He is now a year old, and with some deformities (he is missing his bottom canine teeth and has a lazy eye), he is the most wild and crazy, loving and playful Maine Coon kitten out there. At a healthy 10 lbs. he has never been sick again. The thing is, I have an autistic son, and Loki is in love with him. I couldn't have been picked by a sweeter cat. Never give up, that is his motto, and I will never give up on him. Thank you for letting me post this.

Jessica McLain
Bellevue, NE

Snow babies

My friend is known for her reputation as being a "cat whisperer", and she had made a feral cat shelter for her little visitors in her backyard in 2013. That year, the winter here in Denver was especially long and hard and that shelter proved to be life saving. Even though the shelter was just a trash can with insulation, a little, stray, female calico made her home in there and survived two snow storms.

One day, when my friend was checking on the shelter, she saw a tiny kitten wandering out around the entrance of the trash can and she called me to say she needed my help. When I got to her house, we came up with a plan on how to separate the mama from the babies so we could get everyone inside safely and check out the situation. It was much easier than anticipated, and she lured the mama into a carrier and then we hustled the trash can inside and put everyone into her guest bedroom.

The mama cat (later named Cleo) was not upset at all by this maneuver mostly because my friend had developed a relationship with her and Cleo felt safe. So, with Cleo's permission and under her watchful eye, we pulled out the insulation to find 3 kittens. Much to our relief, there was no evidence of more kittens or any deaths. Somehow, these babies survived below freezing temps for weeks in the shelter my friend had built! We estimated them to be about 2 or 3 weeks old when we found them based on their eye color and size.

I had been looking for a buddy for my young adult male cat (Puddin), and this was fate. One little kitten out of the bunch had a tiny pink nose and won my heart right away. I named him Goo. When Goo was ready to come home, Puddin fell in love also, and the two are now eternally bonded. Goo still has a feral streak, but as he is getting older it is getting better. He is now 1.5 years old!

Jess
Denver, CO

A True Angel

When my mother brought home a young, vibrant German Shepherd as a companion for her aging shepherd in his final days, I decided it was time to bring a dog back into my life too and hopped onto petfinder.com to look for an adoptable German Shepherd of my own. Time and time again as I called rescues the dog in question had already been adopted or had an adoption pending. Finally after many times of this and disappointment I found a shelter in Baton Rouge that still had German Shepherds for adoption and was pointed in the direction of a white German Shepherd in foster care with a local German Shepherd Rescue. She had been brought into the shelter in Baton Rouge and in the pound kennel started to waste away to almost nothing. She was nearly a skeleton when she went home with her foster mom. After a wonderful meet and greet our "Angel" was soon a part of the family.

Flashing forward about two years our family received another addition of the small, two legged kind. We were unsure of what Angel's reaction would be but it was not what we expected. She didn't just seem anxious, when the baby had fits of crying Angel panicked. She cried and yelped. When she was put into a different room she tried to ram the door down. This was not normal behavior for her. Soon after the baby stopped eating and within hours was in the NICU. What we thought at first was just a strange reaction to crying was far more. Our daughter was having seizures and only Angel knew and she was desperately trying to tell us. After several tense weeks in the hospital we were able to come back home and while Angel has to give her "human puppy" a good sniff when she cries, she no longer loses her mind. Once discarded and unwanted she is a true Guardian Angel.

Victoria Midkiff
Leesville, LA

The Remainder

Having had pets my entire life, college dorms were a shock to me. There were no animals allowed. Finishing up my freshmen year, and well on my way to an apartment, I knew I needed a fur baby. I just never knew she'd come from a dear family friend, telling me they had a kitten for me, and craziest part of all, she came from inside their wall.

I’d already been scoping shelter kittens, and was in contact with a foster family when I got the call. They told me I had to come see her and if I didn’t want her, they’d give her to a shelter. No pressure.

Then I saw her in the box. Pure gray and barely 4 weeks old. Dry wall dust in her eyes, and her voice croaked as she mewed at me. Instinctively, I held her against my chest, where she curled up content to just feel another body’s warmth. I no longer had a choice, she was mine.

Her mother, a stray, had had kittens in their attic. This one had fallen through the floor up there and got lodged inside the wall. Days they heard her cry until finally they pinpointed her small voice inside. By this time, the mother cat had left with her litter, the poor baby completely abandoned. "Take me home" my friend pleaded in a high pitch voice, trying to be a voice for the bundle in my hand. She was that small, she fit in my palm.

Take her home is exactly what I did. The vet said, despite her fall/containment, she was healthy, and after days on formula, and wipes to her eyes, she was breathtaking. And she was mine. Acquiring her so young gave us an undeniable bond, I couldn’t so much as leave the room without her, and it didn’t take long for her to figure out my body was her favorite resting place.

Two more kittens were discovered, under different circumstances, both too feral to find immediate homes. It amazes me how blessed I was. 3 years later, she’s still my miracle.

Morgan
Laingsburg, MI

Then and Now!!

I had been thinking about getting a dog after my daughter had gone off to college, So I asked a friend of mine, who volunteer’s at a shelter, to keep her eyes open for a medium size dog for me. She called and said they were on red alert, which sadly means that a few would be put down in 48 hrs. I had a really bad toothache that day, and really didn’t want to go…but I am so glad I did, or I never would have found my baby boy Roscoe. He was about 4 months old they thought, and possibly a bait dog(don’t get me started on that) He stayed in the very back of his cage, slummed over, while all of the other dogs were begging for my attention. I walked up and kneeled down and he came over to me and put his paw up to my hand, and looked at me with the saddest eyes I had ever seen, I knew right then I couldn’t leave him there, that is the day we saved each other. I didn’t realize how much time I spent lying on the couch letting my life pass me by,but there is no time for any of that now, as I am up chasing after my four legged, nosy, playful and at times destructive ball of energy. He actually will go upstairs by himself and get in bed when he is tired. He has come a long way from the sad scared little boy at the shelter. My handsome boy.. Then and now.

Kathy Gowdy
Kingwood, TX

Shorty

My daughter Lisa was visiting friends on a farm, they told her a litter of 6 kittens had been born to a feral in an out building. When they took her to see the kittens they were not in a good way, it seems something had happened to mum cat and she'd not returned to her babies. One of them, a tortie, appeared dead but whilst they were discussing what to do they noticed her move ever so slightly. My daughter decided she couldn't leave them & although she had very little cat experience, she brought them home. After a visit to the vet, he said they were approx 3 weeks old. She stocked up on essentials and read up on hand rearing. We all did kitty sitting when we could to help with feeding and contact.

I've always said, being brought up with dogs as pets, that I'd never have a cat but my partner Mark, was desperate to take one, in particular, the little tortie. After spending time with the litter, I did a lot of soul searching and research, and said we would take one. Then I got the 'two are much easier than one' line! So off I went again to do more reading and soul searching and finally said yes to two. So Shorty and her brother Max came to live with us, my first ever cats. I was definitely won over. Sadly we lost Max when he went out and never returned. We miss him so much and wonder what became of him. Shorty was lost without him so we got her a companion, Phoebe. Shorty was an amazing surrogate mum to the new addition, as she was with 3 kittens that we later fostered and ended up keeping! Shorty truly is a furry angel, we love her sooo much. She's very chatty and so loving and I'm so glad she came into my life. I am now officially a crazy cat lady!

Mandy
Middlesbrough, United Kingdom

"why bother" -Hook the Handicat

Hook was found in a puddle of blood on the side of the road as a kitten, he was mistaken for a pile of garbage. A kind person scooped him up and brought him into the animal hospital I worked at. His chin was degloved, his back leg was broken, and at the time it was believed his front leg was also broken. Barely breathing and covered in blood we were unsure he would make it through the night. In the morning, he was up, alert, and looking to eat. Though he was dragging himself around the cage we now knew there was hope! Knowing the medical costs that were to come, I wanted to make sure all that could be done to save him would be done, so I claimed him as my own. I remember another client in the hospital saying "why bother" when I explained the help he would need. The Veterinarian sewed his chin back on and surgically put pins in his back leg. His front leg was frozen in a hooked position and we were unsure if it would have to be removed.

After recovering from his surgeries he showed us how much of an advantage rather than a handicap his hook really is. Its great for hooking the back legs of his cat friends, pulling toys out from under furniture, begging for treats, and best of all it is perfect for cleaning his face. His hook hasn't stopped him yet. I am so thankful I took him home! There is nothing like coming home and having him crawl up, hook around my neck purring away...that is why I "bothered."

Susan Schovanec
Hamilton Square, NJ
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