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Adopting an Older Cat

When I first saw Ellie (then Skittles) it was on the website of the shelter I had adopted my other cat from. When the shelter needed extra fosters because they were doing renovations, I immediately signed up.

When we first took Ellie home, we vowed not to keep her as she was only going to be our Foster. Plus she was an older cat and we weren't sure how she would adapt to our apartment. The first few weeks were really rough, it had been a while since Ellie had been living in a home (over 4 years at the shelter) and every time she walked she dug her nails into the carpet because she was so afraid. She also hid under our couch and always ran away from us.

And then one day, she just stopped hiding. At first she only came out at night, curious about the bird toy spinning around the apartment. Then slowly but surely she found the confidence she needed to become a member of our family. After 4 weeks I asked my husband if we could keep her and that is how she became our first Foster Fail! Now that she's been with us I couldn't imagine my life without her! She plays with her sisters (2 of them), toys, loves treats and will even sit in your lap just for a moment. Ellie has really grown out of her shell and I am so thankful I am her cat mom. I had been so hesitant to adopt an older cat, but I realized when I met Ellie that they are the ones who need the most love. We are so happy that she gets to spend the rest of her days with us. We love our Ellie girl.

Sasha G.
Chicago, IL

Remembering Monkey

It was a day like any other. I was living with my sister and we only had one vehicle, so I was taking her to work. We were about a block away from her job and there was a big truck in front of me that swerved to miss something in the road. I figured if he was swerving out of the way, it must be something bad in the road, so I swerved only to notice a kitten in the road. Before I could even finish pulling over, my sister was out of my truck running to rescue this poor little thing. She gets back in my truck and I take her work. He was so small, he fit in the palm of my hands. We took him home and he was a feisty little thing. He only liked me and my sister. We were going to just get him cleaned up and see who wanted him since I already had a cat that I had adopted about 7 months before and my sister had 3 cats that she had adopted years before. We didn't need another one. That same day I received news that a really good friend of mine was killed in a car accident. I just knew that this kitten was a gift to help me cope with his death. I couldn't get rid of him. About 5 months later he started having some health issues, vet said it was allergies. When he was three and a half years old, he passed away from a disease that we thought was just allergies. He was the best, always greeting me at the door, protecting me, giving me hugs and kisses. I was there when he took his final breath. Monkey was the best.

Waco, TX

The Shadow of An Angel

Almost two years ago, My kitty named Kali had a small litter of kittens. One of them, who I named Boo, I claimed as my own. I loved every ounce of her fluffy tortoise-shell fur, and we grew quite a bond. She was my little princess, and I always told myself I didn't know what I would do if something were to happen to her. One night in October, just a few days before Halloween, I decided to take out the trash. Boo had always been a sprinter, and loved to come to me when I called her. As I walked out, she heard the front door and came flying around the corner. The garage door was cracked, so my cats could go in and out freely as they pleased; turns out, sometimes that's not the best thing for a cat. As I kept walking, Boo attempted to throw herself under the garage door, through the crack. I'm not exactly sure what happened, but all I knew is that she had hit the door and knocked herself back a ways. I became hysterical when I realized she wasn't moving, and unfortunately, her hit was fatal. It was the most traumatic, most bizarre experience I have ever had in my life so far. It was even more bizarre when the next day, a little stray black cat showed up on my doorstep. When I discovered him, he was laying on top of Boo's grave. He was hungry, and a little bit mangled, but all he wanted to give me was unconditional love. Of course, I couldn't get over the fact that my sweet kitten was gone, at only eight months old; but this sweet little cat gave me so much comfort. I wouldn't let him live outside all alone, and wanted to take him inside. You know what? He walked into my home like he had lived there forever. I don't know where he came from, or what his story is, but Shadow is the most amazing cat I've ever seen or owned, and I love him with all my heart.

Windsor, CO

10 pounds of pure fluff

I've worked at a pet store for the past year, and there we host cats and kittens from a local cat shelter. Employees as well as shelter volunteers tend to the cats throughout the day. In that year, I hadn't really become attached to any particular cat that spent a bit in the store cat condos. After some kittens were adopted, an older Maine Coon name Sasha took over the condo. The first thing I noticed about her was her gorgeous green eyes. She came from a long list of owners with one being abusive towards her. Her grumpy face didn't stop me from wanting to get to know her. Each day she seemed more and more responsive and positive towards me. After crouching and hiding, she would come back over and rub her face all over me and her cage. A few headbutts and loud purrs later and I was applying to adopt her online. While I was at work, I got a call that my application was accepted and that I could take her home in a few days. I immediately went over to Sasha's cage and let her in on the good news. After a long day at work, I was able to load her up and venture home to meet her younger siblings (Barristan a rescue bunny and Khaleesi our 1.5 year-old tabby). Of course, to better fit in with the crew, her name had a bit of change. I wanted to try to keep the sound of her name just in case she recognized it when called. She is now known as Asha. Since she is a 6 year-old abused cat and it only being 2 months since her adoption, we are still sorting out some behavioral issues with her and the lively little sis. Day by day she has become a little less frightened and the two kitties will hopefully become more friendly to each other. It is a huge joy to try to give her a great life to make up for all that she has gone through in her past 3 homes.

Milwaukee, WI


I was on my way to my gradboy's soccer game on a fine November morning last year. I drive a Beetle and am careful not to run over things on the dirt road as there is little clearance. I spotted something white ahead. Thinking it was a WalMart bag, I eased up to go around it. As I got right on it my heart jumped; it was a tiny white kitten. Her sibling lay nearby, squashed. I burst into tears and picked her up. I cuddled the dirty little thing to my chest. It's eyes were crusted shut. I turned the Beetle around and headed back to the house. I cleaned it's eyes with boric acid solution and gave it warm cream. The other cats (five rescues) and the dogs (six rescues) all came to see what I had. I left it in good paws and went on to the game. Later at home I saw it was a girl kitty and worked to get her eyes open. She soon started to play and cuddle with the other pets. They were all very attentive to her, especially 20-year old Beenz.

She is now my beautiful golden-eyed Wallie, a very sweet and cuddly girl. She is part of the rescue league here. I take them as they come and love them all.

Jeanne Fiori
DeKalb, TX

The Cat that Stole My Heart

Simon was born outside and the only kitten to survive in his litter. He had no mother to show him how to behave so he was a Devil from the beginning. He scratched, bit and even left his mouth open like a Crocodile waiting to bite if you touched him the wrong way. I didn't think I could handle having such a wild kitten! I researched and found out how to help cats stop biting etc and took the time to try and teach him rather than giving up. It took a while but as the months went one he calmed down.... a bit. He still had that cattitude in him if he wasn’t happy but the times he showed you love by head butting you, licking or staring with pure love in his face was so wonderful. It meant more to me knowing how grumpy he was that he wanted to showed me how much I he loved me. In 2007 Simon developed cancer in his left front arm. I was crushed. My baby was sick and I was afraid I was going to lose him. We decided to remove his arm and hope the cancer wouldn’t spread. It was the toughest time I have ever gone through. To see your beloved pet in pain, scared and sick was truly heartbreaking! After a long 6 weeks Simon was once again himself. It was a tough time and I wondered if I did the right thing. I did. He was getting around great on 3 legs and showing the other cats who was boss! It’s been over 5 years now and Simon is still doing wonderful! You would never know he lost a leg. He still has a lot of cattitude but he is the most sweet loving cat cuddly cat. I am so glad he is in my life and I took the time to help him rather than give up on a unruly cat. He truly is a part of my heart. I wrote a blog about Simon’s Cancer Journey. You can read more about him here: http://simonsjourneycancer.blogspot.com

Conni Watson
St. Catharines, ON, Canada

Princess Roxy

One day, I went to a shelter, I saw an older dog who was barking in the cage. The staff member had said she is 9 years old, she had been send back twice due to landlord issues. I took her outside, and found out her name is Roxy. I didn't feel the connection, i sat down and i said to her" I don't know about you Roxy, but i am not feeling anything.." She looked at me and gave me kisses and that is when i knew i had to take her home. I took her home on Valentines day, one of the best gift to myself. Roxy is amazing and she showed me so much love and I returned the same. She was wonderful around my children, people and other animals.

A year later, I noticed Roxy was losing weight, she started to sleep more. I notice she was having accidents more often. I took her to the vet, and discovered she had cancer in the bladder. My world shatter that day, and i knew she was too old to have surgery because it was a good chance she may die on the table. I decided not to put her through it, and felt it was her time and that i would be with her every step of the way. The day came and it was the worse day of my life. It was the first time I saw Roxy so weak and nervous. I laid down next to her and i told her it was okay. She calmed down right away, when it was time to let her sleep. I lost it right there and I told her i was so sorry. Roxy looked up at me and gave me a kiss, then she went to sleep. I went back to my car crying with her collar, I was looking at the pictures that i had took before she passed on. I found one picture that was breathtaking. (Which is posted to this story.) My heart still hurts even after 5 years, i miss her!

Nashua, NH

His Royal Hairiness

After the last 2 matriachs of our home-grown cat dynasty passed-away within a year of each other, both at the grand age of 19, we found ourselves catless. We had planned on having a break, but kept an eye on our local cat rescue via web & social networking.

It wasn't long before the newly arrived Henrys' details were published- everything we didn't want in a cat- a long haired, un neutered tabby Tom. And it was love at first sight- his cheeky personality shone through in his photo, and i just knew he needed us. We dashed to the shelter and met-up with a great hissy, scruffy lump of a cat, and after all the home checks & a trip to the vets we brought him home.

For the next 2 days during a heatwave he hid and refused to come out for anything, driving us to despair, until the offer of a king prawn broke the ice and he decided we might be OK.

We've shared our lives for a year and a half now and he rules the household. He's funny, gentle, easygoing and charms everyone he meets. He won't lap-sit, but likes to be close and thankfully enjoys being brushed & combed (he really is very, very hairy!). His hobbies & interests include sleeping (lots) staring at the hedge in the garden & arguing with the neighbours. For such a large & apparently lazy cat he is agile and surprises us by appearing up trees, or on top of our 6 foot & very rickety garden fence.

We live close to Hampton Court Palace, London, England, so fittingly he has kept his cattery name, but is affectionately known as 'His Royal Hairyness King Henry the 9th' and surveys his domain from his perch on the back of the sofa.

London, United Kingdom

Magali, rescued twice!

On Jan 18th 2013, my boyfriend and I were going to the market, when a little pregnant cat came. We bought cat food. She was still there and we brought her home. She slept all night, but in the morning she asked a lot to leave. With my heart broken, I let her go, but she came back every night. I called her Magali. I kept feeding her for one month, then she showed up, skinny. She led me to the babies but I couldn’t reach them. One month later, she brought all six of them to our door. We took them in, but she wouldn’t stay. Every morning she’d come to breastfeed and at night she’d leave. I was hoping to treat this nose wound she had and neuter her, but she got pregnant again! By the time she had the new litter, she had decided to stay at home. She almost died during delivery, and had to undergo a c-section (but was spayed).

Heartbrokenly, I couldn’t stay with her. I found a (what seemed to be) caring mother for her. She promised to treat Magali’s wound (I would pay for the treatment) but all she did was a biopsy, which diagnosed the wound as cancer. A vet friend of mine knew an oncologist that would treat her for free, but the “mother” never took her there nor even gave me any news, for 6 months! Then she sent me a message saying the wound was huge and soon would have to put Magali down! No way! I took her to that oncology, the cancer was too advanced, but she could be treated. After radiotherapy and chemo, I brought Magali to my house. It was a hard recovery in which she also underwent cryotherapy. The ex-"mother" never even cared to check if she'd survived!

Magali had lost part of her nose, her black fur had turned white and her face is partially bald, but now Magali is cancer-free and is the cutest, sweetest and most thankfull cat I’ve seen!!! I'm so lucky to have her back in my life!

Livia Lima
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Wonder Woman

My boyfriend and I had a seemingly complete family with one dog and one cat. We thought we were content. He went to Pet Smart one day to get some dog and cat food and couldn't help but go see what local SPCA cats were being featured. I was at work and received a picture text of a tiny, goofy, black one-eyed cat dubbed "Wonder Woman." He said "check out one-eye." I responded, "Awww, but no."

He came home, I think we talked about her for a split second and moved on with our lives. A few days later, I realized I hadn't stopped thinking about her. A black, one-eyed cat?! She would never get adopted. It was a Wednesday. We decided we'd go back to Pet Smart on Sunday and if she was still there, we would consider it. Sure enough, we showed up at the store, and while the cages around her seemed emptier, she was still there. SO eager for love and attention. There was no room for consideration, she was ours. We did the necessary paperwork and got her home that same day. We decided to rename her Eleanor.

She took instantly to our older boxer, Samantha. They were best friends. It took a lot longer for our 4 year old rescue cat, Matilda, to come around. Samantha unfortunately passed this past summer and Eleanor definitely became the dominant girl of the house. While her and Matilda will probably never be best friends, they have been caught sleeping relatively close to each other a good amount of times. She is quirky, chases her tail, has sneeze fits that last a minute, will not eat out of her food bowl if she can see the bottom of it, and knocks things off of your bedside at 4:00 am when she is ready to play, but we wouldn't have it any other way. Who knows what would have happened to her if we hadn't chosen her that day. We're excited for many more years with both of our kitties.

Raleigh, NC
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