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Odin, King of the Gods

It was summer 2010 and I had just graduated from undergrad and waiting to start graduate school in August. For the first time in my life I would be living alone, and I wasn't thrilled by the idea. I knew which one I wanted from a rescue group based out of a local pet store. I marched to the store determined to adopt her with my own money. She was gone... adopted an hour before I got there. Feeling dejected I sat down in front of the other cages to ponder my next move. I watched a group of kittens running around their cage. A black and tan tabby caught my eye. His name was Junior. I asked the volunteer if I could see him and she yanked him out of the cage and practically chucked him at me. He sunk his claws into my shoulder. In that moment, as he clung to me for dear life, I knew he was my cat. I took him home and started to think of a new name for him. That night while I was asleep he wrestled an old foam viking hat from my childhood off a shelf and demolished it. I knew his name had to be something Norse. Later that afternoon he developed an eye infection, cold, and worms, so off the the vet we went. I decided his eye swelling shut was a sign to name him Odin after the Norse god of poetry and war. His nickname was "Old One Eye".

Odin has been my constant companion these five years. He's a giant 15 pounder who loves to chew on foam flip flops and play with dogs. He more of a lover than a fighter, so I say he's the poetry side of the god. Odin adores and is adored by my boyfriend and me. One of the things that brought us together was the fact that I had a cat named after the King of the Gods.

Buffalo, WY

Selena the Tour Pup!

Being a touring musician from Cincinnati Ohio you never know what you will encounter on the road...

On a break in between tours we were staying at a friends place in Texas. They treated us to an awesome grill out the day we arrived. Out of the corner of my eye, two Chiweenie pups and a mama Chihuahua came running up to the fence with their little noses fluttering to the smell of the BBQ. The mama and boy pup both had nasty collars that were in bedded in their skin. They both looked infected pretty bad. All of them in need of some water and food, we decided to let them enjoy on our BBQ. I've never seen an animal gobble up food so fast! I asked our friends where they came from and they replied they were not sure. Stray dogs and cats infested that area being so close to the border of Mexico. Kids would mistreat them, chase them, and throw things at them. We took the dogs in, bathed them, cleaned them, and treated their necks.

With some help of Facebook friends we found homes for the Mama and Boy pup, but I was instantly attached to Selena. She was the runt of the two. She was so lovable and sweet! I ended up bringing her with us on tour. The first show we set up a tip jar for her vet bills and amassed over $150 in tips! Everyone loved her and was drawn to how sweet she was! She would camp under my sleeping bag to sleep and to this day she still burrows under the blankets.

She's now spoiled and runs the house. She loves her grandma and toy squirrel, but destroys every toy on the market. She can't live without her treats. Selena has been to 41 states and has tried every local food... Trust me. She loves her food!

She is my best friend and never leaves my side!

Oh, and yes we named her Selena after the singer Selena Quintanilla from Texas =)

Ryan Gardner
Cincinnati, OH

Marcie the throwaway cat

Just as it started to get cold, a stray cat came to the barn where I board my horse, crying pitifully. She was so cute and loving that I couldn't resist, and took her home with me and named her Marzipan (Marcie for short). Put up some "lost cat" ads online and got her checked out at the vet-- emaciated, torn inner eyelid, broken tooth, scrape on her nose, fleas and ticks, and probably a uterine infection, so we started her on antibiotics and scheduled a spay.

After a quarantine, I let her meet my other two cats. She would lie on my lap, purring, and when Cupcake would approach and hiss, Marcie wouldn't even lift her head, just open an eye and growl back.

After her round of antibiotics, she started urinating outside the litterbox. I was too in love, though, and was determined to at least keep her as a barn cat.

On the morning of her spay, I got a call that there was a mass on her bladder-- would I give permission to biopsy it? Yes.

She was recovering very poorly from surgery, but I held out hope the biopsy would be benign. Just as she was starting to perk up from surgery, we got the results that it was an untreatable cancer. With an increase in pain meds, we were able to have two good afternoons together, purring on my lap. She was willing to fight, but there was nothing to fight for. I put her down the third day after surgery.

I'd only had her for six weeks. I miss my little throwaway kitty, but at least I took her in and kept her fed and warm and loved for a while.

Madison, WI

My Old Man

In 2012, my stepbrother brought home a rather unsightly, sickly, close to death pug. My mother saw the dog and could not turn him away after she saw his condition(all of our animals are rescues). I was living down south at the time, so my mother sent me a picture of this scraggly dog. He was in bad shape, he weighed next to nothing maybe 10 lbs, his fur was almost gone, his neck had a severe wound around his neck from what we are assuming was from a collar or something was way to small cutting into his skin. We later came to learn that he was a breeder dog, and that he was too old, (around 11 years) at the time, to continue to be a breeder so they tried to kill him by starving him and drying out his coat and skin by feeding him raw eggs and keeping him confined. My mom nursed him back to health and by the time I moved back to PA, he was a very happy and very healthy dog. He now weighed 19 pounds, had all of his fur back, and got along well with our four cats. I told my mom when she first sent me a picture that he would be my dog, and long and behold he became my dog. His name is Frank and he is currently around 13 years old, and he is having many problems that are common with the breed and with age, but he is a fighter. He is extremely attached to me, and whines whenever I am not around. He is one of the best things that happened in my life. I love him very much and hope to have a lot more great years together with him.

Nydia Ortiz
kutztown, PA

Buddy's Story- My Best Friend

August 28th, 2006- I can still faultlessly recall the day that changed my life. I had just turned 17. It was a hot summer night spent with family when a mutt suddenly peered his head into the front door window of my home. It was by chance that I had noticed it, but I immediately rushed outside. He was beaten up badly, gangly thin to the bone, and extremely malnourished. My uncle told me he needed to be put out of his misery. But I just saw something in his eyes- and I could see that he was a fighter. And I could see that he needed love. And so I fell in love. He was a tall, stocky mutt- but he was as cute as could be. All I had ever wanted was a dog of my own. I had two dogs in the past, but we ended up having to give them away. My mom and stepdad said absolutely not, as we already had a small poodle, but they gave in when they saw how adamant and in love I was. The vet suspected he was abused, as I learned he had a very skittish manner when people were holding blunt objects and showed distrust towards men. From there on out, we became inseparable. He was my best friend and soul mate. I went through a rough time in my teen years, and he was always there with a lick and cuddles to comfort me. He never left my side. My family also took notice to his protection over me. They often joke that he is just fine only as long as I am around, and only cares about being with me. I never felt scared to go anywhere at night when he was with me, or to live alone in my first apartment. We kept each other safe. I’ve never been this close with any animal, and I am so blessed to have found him. Some may say I rescued him; but he absolutely rescued me. I guess it’s safe to say that we rescued each other.

Houston, TX

Alley Cat Rescue Assists Cats in Combat Zone

On December 21, 2014, Alley Cat Rescue, The U.S. National Cat Protection Association, greeted five kittens at Washington Dulles International Airport as they made their long journey from Erbil, Iraq. Thanks to a kindhearted member of the U.S. Department of State Diplomatic Security Service, these lucky kittens have been given a second chance at life.

While on a Diplomatic Mission in Iraq, Tony and his colleagues became involved in rescuing homeless cats and kittens. They provide needy cats with food, vaccinations, (sterilization services when possible), and a safe shelter until arrangements can be made to fly them out of the combat zone to their new homes in the United States. So far, these dedicated men and women have rescued 20 cats and kittens, with the most recent group of felines making their journey to Alley Cat Rescue.

Back in May, Tony received a request from an individual living in Baghdad, to foster a mama cat and her five kittens for a few weeks until they could be flown to the U.S. Soon after their arrival in Erbil, it was noticed that the mother cat's belly seemed to be growing, and sure enough she was already pregnant with another litter. In early June, mama cat (Josie) gave birth to five more kittens.

The first attempt to fly the original five kittens to the U.S. was made in early July; however, due to cargo restrictions the attempt was unsuccessful. Another attempt was made in August but due to increased threats, all commercial flights were cancelled.

Finally in early December, Josie and her first litter were flown to foster homes in the U.S., with her second litter making the same journey a few weeks later. Alley Cat Rescue is honored to take in five of the kittens, who will soon be available for adoption, and we cannot thank the servicemen and women enough for caring for animals living in combat zones...what selfless acts of compassion!

Maggie Funkhouser
Severn, MD

Two Babies Who Have Saved My Life

In September of 2007, I lost my best friend, Tiggy to chronic renal failure. He died 10 days before his 20th birthday. I was devasted. This cat had grown up with my son and had comforted me as he left home for college and I became an empty-nester. I knew when Tiggy passed away that I would get another cat, but I needed to grieve first.

I soon found myself on the internet looking at pet adoption sites to see who had orange tabby cats available for adoption. I began following one large litter of them at one shelter. I believe there were 6! One by one they were adopted until there was one left. This was in late November. I called to inquire about Pippin. Yes, he was still there and would be at our local adoption fair that Friday night. Not really certain if I was truly ready to bring a new cat home, I went out there to visit him. He was, of course, adorable; 3 months old, he climbed inside my coat. I found out that he was blind in one eye from birth, but it didn't slow him down any while playing. And then one of the workers happened to mention, "He has a brother here, too." I thought all of the other cats had been adopted, but was told one had been returned because he scratched someone! Good grief, all kittens scratch. I couldn't break up a family and ended up adopting both brothers, Pippin and Poppin.

Seven years later my 2 babies (they don't know they are cats) are the lights of my life. I've had to have numerous surgeries and had to spend a lot of time in bed. They make the most wonderful nurses! The cat that was returned to the shelter has turned out to be the smartest cat I've ever owned. He acts as my secret service agent and understands many words and commands. Each is so special in his own way. They have been written about in the NYPost and won a local pet magazine cover model contest.

Nancy Cox
Wilmington, NC


My husband and I had been helping some friends with an unplanned move during one of the biggest summer heat waves to have hit our area in a long time, when we found a tiny abandoned kitten in the driveway of the house they were moving from. We're pretty sure she was the runt of the litter from a local stray, and had been abandoned because the mama cat just couldn't care for them all. Dehydrated and sickly, she had lain in the driveway crying so long that her vocal cords were damaged. At the time, I already had one rescue kitten that I was bottle feeding, and a six month old tom about to be neutered, and a roommate that didn't care for cats. Another kitten was the last thing I needed, but I couldn't resist.

Early on, we really weren't sure if she would live. She was very sick, very small, and grew extremely slowly. Today at almost three years old, she is still the smallest of my adult cats. For almost a year after we found her, she was also completely mute. It often broke my heart to watch her struggle to vocalize, her eyes narrowed in frustration as she tried to call for my attention. She never gave up though, and eventually she found her voice, an odd little creak that sounds more like a door hinge in need of oil than the chirps and meows of her household playmates. I cherish that unique sound, though, because it reminds me of how far she has come and how hard she fought to be here with me now. She's actually passing it down to one of our new rescue kittens that we have taken on since moving away from our cat-averse roommate. The new kitten is quite taken with his "big sister," and has added his version of her creak to his repertoire of trills, chirps, and meows. It's a sound I hope to be able to enjoy for years to come.

Oklahoma City, OK


"She's the last cat in the cage. I think she's too ugly," my friend said. That was all it took. I dashed to the pet shop and bought her. And so Strudel, the ugly cat with a beautiful heart, came home with me.

This beautiful soul lived with me for twenty years. And every night for twenty years she patted me on the nose, and I would lift the duvet and let her crawl into bed. Then she would curl up into the crook of my arm and off we would slip into dreamland together.

Going for walks was an adventure for her. She would follow me or run ahead and wait for me to catch up, drawing looks of amazement. "She's like a dog!" they would gasp. And I would smile, my heart bursting with love for my wonderful friend. She was my sun and I was her moon. She and I would orbit one another, her bell reassuring me that she was never far away.

Fiercely protective of me, she would growl at strange noises in the house and came when I whistled her special whistle. I knew her miaow the way a mother knows her baby's cry. Fearless and brave, she once chased a doberman off our property, coming back to me to show a pawful of black fur from the hindquarter of the unwelcome visitor.

My heart broke the day she started bumping into furniture. I knew she was going blind, a sure sign her kidneys were failing. One cold morning, I realised I hadn't seen Strudel for a while. I ran downstairs to find her lying, wide-eyed and terrified, in the throes of a massive stroke. I kissed her, put her in her basket and took her to the vet, barely able to see where I was going through the tears. It was her time.

I cry as I write this, over 15 years later. But I know that Strudel will hear my whistle when I cross the Rainbow Bridge and she'll come running to me as she did all those years ago.

Diane Van der Westhuizen
CAPE TOWN, South Africa

Jinx, the last wish

Jinx was born on November 4th, 2012, she came from a litter of the cat of a long time friend of mine, who is a crazy cat lady. She had Jinx adopted by a men who was in terminal cancer, is death wish was to own a kitty for the days he had left to live.

In March 2013, I was 6 months pregnant was living with my bf and the cousin of my bf in my bf's appartment, it was small and the cousin of my bf didn't wanted a cat. And I though that having a cat just before a baby might not be the greatest idea. I wanted to adopt a stray cat rescue, but my bf absolutely wanted a kitty, we agree on 6 month or younger. I had read so many story and wanted to do my part to help.

In the same weekend that my bf's cousin was moving out to let us more space, my friend posted on her facebook for help. The men who adopted the kitten was in hospital and probably won't get back home. She post pictures of the kitten and I show the picture to my Bf, he was not sure because he didn't want long hair cat (and still want me to shave her time to time) but I insisted and we went to get the kitty.

She was very shy and meowing, 5 months old with mid-long furr all grey with big yellow/greenish eyes and long ears. All the way to home, she was meowing so loud in the car.

She's now 1 years old and I will never regret to have taken her because she's such a great cat. She's absolutely not dominent, and a very independant lady, not the kind of cat that will jump on your lap for cuddle, except at 3-4 am, she jump in the bed and ask loudly for being pet. She's always sleeping in our computer chairs and follow me around and ask for being pet at the most strange time (like right now when i'm typing).

Laval, QC, Canada
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