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Miss Fuzzy Britches

In fall of 2005, I moved out of my parents' house and in with my then-boyfriend. I had grown up with at least one cat my entire life. The first time I moved out of my parents' home, was in with a girlfriend who had two cats already. Dave didn't want a cat, but my depression was slowly spiraling out of control. When summer of 2006 rolled around, Dave came home to me crying because I needed to have a cat, something that would be there when he wasn't.

After soothing me, he told me he had planned to take me to the Humane Society for my birthday to pick out a cat anyway. So I was just going to get my gift a bit early.

I really wanted a kitten, but the apartment complex we lived in required that cats be declawed. I wasn't going to do that to a cat myself, so we asked to see older cats who had already been declawed. After a few cats, we met Missy. Dave played with her and even held her in his arms without issues for either of them. She was perfect! As I filled out the paperwork and Dave played with her, I found out her story.

Missy had been born in March of 2003, and had been turned into the HS when her first owners moved and couldn't take her with them. She was adopted out, but returned after her second owners had a baby and "discovered the baby was allergic to cats." I just knew I was going to be her forever Momma.

Dave was still not sure, but within a month of being with us, she cornered a mouse! And Dave said "OK, she's earned her keep now. She can stay."

We've moved twice since then, and she's still with us. She's my baby. Dave and I are married now, and his two children like her a lot. She's super friendly, and always knows when I'm feeling down or sick. Dave likes to call her "Miss Fluffbutt" or "Miss Fluffy Britches"

Alexa H.
Howell, MI

Meant to be

My husband and I were talking about adopting a cat but I had decided against it because of my allergies and with us moving I just didn't think it was a great idea, so fast forward to a few weeks later...It was October 2014, it was very cold and wet outside when my friend called me up. She said there was a kitten under her tire well and every time her and her husband tried to get to the kitten he would run up into the engine bay. He had been there for at least a day in the cold and rain maybe even longer, he would not come out to eat or let anyone catch him. So I told her I will see what I can do once I pick up my son from school. I was thinking he was feral since nobody could get him and I just kept praying that he would be easy to catch without me being bitten. Once I arrived I found the little guy sitting on the tire meowing I reached up to get him and he tried to go back up in the engine bay but I was a little quicker than he was. As soon as I got him he didn't try to get away, we put him in a box and I took him to the vet to see if he was healthy. He checked out great, no worms, no cold, no fleas.. nothing. So I took him home and tried to see if anyone wanted a kitten. After a few hours I just holding him and listening to him purring non-stop I fell in love. We decided to name him Obi-wan and I truly think that he (as well as us) was so grateful to be rescued. He loves to snuggle and purrs constantly, he is the sweetest cat we have ever had. As it turns out he was meant to be with us and my allergies turned out to be not as bad as we had originally thought. Today he is 8 weeks and healthy as can be.

Sarah
Hanover, MD

The Rock Master

When my friend called to tell me kittens were looking for a home, I said I was not ready to adopt. I was still mourning the loss of my Butch. It didn't take long for him to convince me these kittens needed homes now and if I waited they would be gone. It was over an hour drive to the shelter and when I walked in I thought the kitten sitting alone in his litter box with the scratched up nose was not very cute. The other 3 kittens were just scared and did not want to be separated. The shelter staff said the orange kitten sitting by himself did not get along with his siblings and his nose was scratched because he kept banging his head on the cage in an attempt to get out. I instantly felt sorry for him and asked if I could hold him. Once he was in my arms I knew we would never be apart again. He nuzzled my neck and just started purring. Because his nose was swollen and scratched from banging his head, he kind of resembled a boxer who had just gotten out of the ring after a bad beating. My friend suggested I name him Rocky (as in the movie.) Rocky also turned my boyfriend into a cat lover. He was an amazing cat that loved to vocalize and have his back and butt rubbed. Our little Rock Master passed away last week and we are numb. Life without him will not be the same. I keep telling myself we had 11 amazing years together and I should be grateful, but my heart is broken. I'm so glad I drove to the shelter that day and brought the little man into our lives. It changed us forever. Rest in peace Rock Master. Mommy and Daddy love and miss you so much!!

Christine Wheelis
Los Angeles, CA

Asia Lynn

In 2011 I was a college freshman dating my high school sweetheart, who happened to live in his mom's (heated) garage. One day our friend asked if they could invite a friend (I'll call him Joe) over. Well Joe brought 3 dogs with him, all pitbulls with suspicious scratches, all under nourished. He said that he was going on vacation and couldn't bring one of them with him. Could my boyfriend dogsit? We're both animal lovers and looked forward to babysitting 'Asia Lynn.' Joe never came back to pick her up. My boyfriend's mom FREAKED out and actually kicked him out of the garage over it. She quickly realized that the dog was in serious trouble with her original owner and let him move back in but holy cow! It has taken about 3 years of having food available 24/7 but Lynn proudly has a little bit of fat on her tummy now. We take bike rides frequently, bringing smiles to everyone in our town. Everyone that meets her is impressed with her manners and calm disposition. I think it's because she gets exercise and knows the fate we saved her from. Please understand folks! Pit bulls are just like any other dog, they want love and food in their tummy. We're the ones that turn them (and other 'aggressive breeds' ) dangerous!

Shelby Schaedig
Wyandotte, MI

Petey and Her Bunny

In 2010 I found myself living alone for the first time in many years. My children were grown, I was divorced, and I was lonely. I realized I hadn't had a pet of my own since I was a child; we'd had many when my kids were growing up, and I'd shared pets with roommates, but now I wanted one of my own. What kind? Why, a cat, of course.

With visions of a cute tiny kitten dancing in my mind's eye, I went to our local shelter. Overwhelmed by all the adorable kitty energy in the room, nonetheless I was quickly drawn to a pretty orange tabby in a cage with-- oh wait, what WAS that thing? In the cage was a large, shaggy, torn, grey stuffed rabbit. I asked, of course, and was told that this was Petey, and that she could not be separated from her Bunny. Petey snuggled with it, nursed on it, and slept with it. Well, I'm a sucker for quirky, so I was smitten-- especially when I was told that female orange tabbies are rather rare. The Bunny looked awful, but didn't smell bad, so Petey and her Bunny went home with me that very day.

It soon became evident that Petey's Bunny was not her only quirk. She was usually affectionate and loving, but she just hated it whenever I left home. Upon my return from an overnight trip she would regularly attack me, especially, for some reason, as I walked up the steps to the second floor. Over time, Petey mellowed a bit but never could be trusted with new people.

After 3 years with me, she developed a liver ailment and had to be put down. She died in my arms. Two of my children were there to comfort me. Petey was the first pet I could call my own after many decades, and even with her dubious personality, her passing left me bereft. Petey and her Bunny were buried together on my sister's ranch, wrapped in a beautiful purple sarong that looked fabulous next to Petey's bright orange fur.

Karen Garcia
Napa, CA

Rescue bunny

When I started my little pet zoo, I discovered quite a lot of people were looking for someone to take their house rabbits, guinea pigs or grown-up chicks and ducklings. Most of my animals have come to us that way. "Shamenet" ("Cream") was a different story though! Just when I thought my rabbit cages were full, a friend of mine told me of a rabbit whose people were going to 'release her into nature'. I could not hear of this and let it happen, so I said I would take her, without knowing what she looked like or what her behaviour was like. I thought that if people were that desperate to get rid of her, she would probably not be very well socialised.

What a surprise she turned out to be! Apart from being the prettiest bunny in the place - a lovely long-haired, white lionhead with blue eyes - she is also the sweetest-natured. She loves to be petted and comes running when someone comes into her cage. The children love her and I let them brush her, which she adores. She snuggles and grooms us. I am so glad we were fortunate enough to get her!!

Iris Shalev
Kvutzat Shiller, Israel

Tigger

My buddy was found by my daughter, meowing his little head off, about 10 feet up a small tree in the summer of 2001. After many attempts to coax him down, with no success, I climbed the tree, and brought him down. He fit in one hand, he was so small. We put up flyers, an ad in the local paper, talked to all the neighbors, no one knew where he came from, or how he got where we found him. Took him to the vet, who said he was likely about 2-4 months old, in good health, but slightly undernourished. Had him fixed, got all his vaccinations, took him home, hoping that my older cat would accept him. She (Whiskers) slapped him a time or two, putting him in his place, and pretty much accepted him as part of the home. And, for all but my two combat tours in Iraq, he's lived with me. While I was deployed, he lived with my daughter. When I came home from both tours, he jumped into my lap, and acted as if I'd never been gone. He sleeps beside me every night, follows me around the house like a dog, and meows his head off when my (Undiagnosed) PTSD starts getting the best of my mind. His jabbering brings me back to myself. He is my best friend, my buddy. He is about 13 years old, healthy, and active (chases my other cat, Golly, around the house all the time). I hope he graces me with his presence and friendship for many more years.

William Sanders
Highlands Ranch, CO

My Little Weirdo

2 years ago today my Oliver came into my life.

I was heading out to pack some orders at work when this little cat pops out of our barn. He came right up to me, no fear at all, and gave me a look like "well, mum, you going to feed me or what?" I had to give him three bowls of food (hence Oliver Twist) before he would follow me into my boss's house (where he promptly passed out on her couch).

I couldn't believe someone would abandon such a sweet adorable cat. I did everything I could to find his owner, but after a month I took my flyers down and got him neutered.

Sometimes I think he dropped out of the sky just for me. I had wanted an animal for SO long before Oliver, but because I travel so much for work I didn't think it would be possible. Lucky for me I have never had a cat who so willingly gets in his carrier, he just comes with me! Sadly, I think he might have been caged all the time before he came to me. He didn't know how to jump or play, and he had the weirdest meow of any cat I had ever encountered. He still has the tiny little Mike Tyson voice, but he can jump and play and cat around like a pro. He LOVES to be brushed (purrs like crazy), and he comes when I whistle the Doctor Who theme song. He's my little weirdo and I'm so grateful we found each other. He's changed my life, maybe even saved it.

Anonymous
Great Barrington, MA

The Story of Miss Old

In late 2011, I was walking in a neighborhood near the closed hospital. I spotted a small, calico, longhaired cat hunched on the porch of an abandoned house. A water bowl, nearby, looked empty. I walked up to the porch and filled the bowl with some of the bottled water I was carrying. The cat moved immediately to the bowl and began to drink.

A couple of days later, I noticed the cat on the porch again. She was sitting on the concrete door sill at the front door, hunched down on all four paws, as though waiting for her owner to let her back in for the night. The cat was very old, I thought, watching how daintily she perched on her feet. She seemed very quiet, like a little old lady. So in my mind I began to refer to her as “Miss Old.” She had obviously been abandoned when the owner died or moved away.

The following evening, I brought a live trap and a can of tuna. The next day, after work, I took her to the veterinarian who sees my adopted cats.

“This is one old cat,” he told me, assessing her. She was “normal” and “healthy” for her age, a mere five pounds, probably fifteen to seventeen years old.

I brought her home to my house, nevermore to be a cat out of doors. Over the next few weeks she found her place, but she always remained a little aloof, a dainty, quiet presence. She had that manner of the very elderly, conserving energy for the important things, not worrying about the trivial. Sometimes, I would help her up into my lap while I was working at the computer. She would sigh contentedly, purr a little bit, and fall asleep until I was finished working and needed to move.

Miss Old lived for only another eight months. One evening, I returned from my job, and she was dead in the little nest she had made for herself in my study. Her death was apparently not traumatic; she just seemed to nap and never awoke.

Marc Neville
Harrisburg, PA

A Shot in the Dark

One day a cat began showing up in our back yard eating dried up bread given to the birds. Being he was so obviously hungry we began to feed him and he came everyday to eat. Although he wasn't very friendly, I knew he'd start to like us eventually. One day however the cat we began calling Slick didn't come to eat. We began looking through the neighborhood for him and then we found him. He was hiding in an old dog box that was by the woods. Assuming he was sick I was going to take him to the vet. When I reached in, I saw something shiny in the box with him, then I realized what it was, Slick had been shot with an arrow. To make a long story short, animal control showed up hours later and was of no help. Slick escaped and darted into the dark woods. I knew I had to find this cat, but there was lots of woods and farmland for him to hide. I searched day after day, night after night, missing some school and work but I couldn't let this poor soul die. There were sightings of slick but no one could catch him. Finally after two weeks slick showed up on our front porch and from there began a fairy tale life. While looking for Slick we found a calico kitten who stole our hearts and entered our home. Previous to this our cats had been outside but after this experience we knew we couldn't let anyone be outside and knew we were at our limit now with 2 dogs and 2 cats. Thanks to Slick's gentle soul and his unfortunate event we now have opened our hearts and have 7 rescue cats who are living the dream. I am not happy about what happened to Slick, but I couldn't ask for a better cat and I love everyone of our little furballs and am thankful I can give them a piece of my heart and home.

Jessica Ellsworth
California, PA
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