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I'll take one small, very loud kitten and a large iced tea, please.

I was on my way to work a week before Thanksgiving in 2009 and stopped at the Chick-fil-a by my house to get my morning iced tea fix. It was cold and drizzling and generally miserable outside. While I was in my car, I kept hearing something that sounded like meowing. I looked to my right, and in the landscaping between the two drive-thru lanes was the tiniest kitten I'd ever seen. She was black and white, and filthy and wet...not to mention terrified. The drive-thru was right off a service road of a super busy highway and both lanes were full of cars. I have no idea how long she'd been there and how many folks either didn't hear her or just ignored her, but once I saw her, I hopped out to grab her. I took her to my vet on the way to work and she came through with a clean bill of health. Their best guess was that she was 5 months old but she only weighed 3 lbs. For the first few months I had her, she would inhale her food as fast as I poured it into her bowl. The first few weeks I had to pour it over her head because she wouldn't get out of her bowl. After a couple of days of that routine, I decided to name her Scarlett O'Hara. Every time she would go nuts for her food, all I could think of was Scarlett, in Gone with the Wind, holding a fistful of soil and declaring "As God as my witness, I'll never be hungry again!"

She now weighs all of six pounds but though she's small, she is mighty. She sounds like a herd of elephants running through the house (she goes everywhere at about 60 mph) and she can move the dining room table and chairs if they get in the way of her catnip toy time. She and her "brother" Tebow (another rescue) have been around for almost 5 years now and are a true joy every day.

Chandra
Dallas, TX

How many are we taking home?

When I moved in with my boyfriend, he already had Buddy, and it had just been the 2 of them for 12 years. So, I was the interloper, which Buddy did not hesitate to let me know. He grew to accept me, but it wasn't the same as having our "own" kitty. So we decided to adopt another one that would be "ours".

We searched online, and found a no-kill shelter in central Pennsylvania with a litter of adorable, tiny, grey and white long-haired kittens. When we arrived to pick up Lucky (because, we had already decided, he would be, for living with us), he climbed all over us both. He was so tiny, just barely 3 lbs, and a ball of equal parts fluff and energy. While I held him in one hand and completed paperwork with the other, my boyfriend started wandering around, looking in other cages. Then I heard, "I've always wanted a cat with extra toes". There was Miller, all 22 toes of him. And as soon as I heard his story - that he was found in a box, on a city street, in the rain, and the fact that he had been available for adoption for almost 4 months with no-takers - I knew we were going to become his "forever home", too.

Almost 10 months later, Buddy has gotten used to the high energy of Lucky and having to share snuggle time with Miller. And while Lucky is still a ball of equal parts fluff and energy, he isn't so tiny anymore (almost 13 lbs of solid cat)!

Anonymous
Corning, NY

Santa is Real, Just ask Angus Mcfuzzles

The day after Christmas was cold and rainy. As fate would have it I had to work that day. One of my guys came in the office and said there was a little black cat outside our door. I went to look and there was a little black tuxedo kitten meowing at the door. We work in an industrial area and see junk yard cats from time to time. He was different. He picked me to follow back and forth from my office to our main office. Finally, when I stopped at my door he climbed up on my shoes to get off the wet ground, looked up at me and cried. That was it. I sent a pic to my wife and In the office he came. I went and got him some food and water. He was so hungry and cold. Our workers said he had been around a couple of weeks and I knew no one was around the Christmas holiday so no food to mooch. He snuggled and sat in my lap all day. We fixed a room for him until we could get him checked at the vet so he could be around our other two. The vet checked him and he got a clean bill of health, and a good bath. She said he was definitely lost or a dump off, 6mo old and 6lbs. He mainly ate and slept for two days having a quiet, warm and safe place to rest. He's now integrated into the family and has run of the house. He is now 9mo and 9lbs. Our 3yr old 14 pounder has someone to fight and wrestle with. My wife always wanted a cat named Angus so that he is.

Anonymous
Newport News, VA

We only went to look

My husband really wanted a dog for a long time, finally i said ok, but lets go to the shelter with so many in need. So we drove to out local shelter to only look. I didn't want puppy, I wanted someone who was slightly older. There wasn't many to choose from maybe 8. As i made my way back to look over again, they just brought in the saddest most scared little black and white dog i have seen. He looked at me and i lost all my breath. Just standing in the back of cage next to the wall. I stood guard while my husband went to get someone who worked there so we could meet this little one. When he came into the room he just stood there trembling, all 20 pounds of him. He gave a little lick to each of us but mostly was terrified. They couldn't find his background history but he came from a kill shelter. I knew i had to help him overcome all his fears. We took him home and noticed he wasn't right, he wound up having phenomena and had to stay at the shelter to be treated which was 40 minutes away from us, but we drove there about 3-4 times a week so he wouldn't forget us. A month later he was able to come home. It was the best day ever. He played with his very first toy which was bitter sweet, he was already 8 months old and never saw a toy. He has about 25+ now and knows all their names. Its been 3 1/2 years and a little work everyday. Hes over come so many fears, and has a huge vocabulary and can do many tricks! Hes 70 pounds now and still loves to "sit" in my lap. (he used to do that when we visited him at the shelter for the month he was sick). He adores my husband and waits by the door for him to come home! He made our house a home!

Anonymous
new york, NY

A Fighting Chance!

"What is she barking at??"

I'm about to leave the house when I hear my Westie-mix Piggy (a Walmart parking lot find) barking her high pitch alert bark outside of our Dogloo. As I make my way over, I notice my little Pig is fixated on what's inside. Thinking she found an old toy, I quickly peek my head in to retreive whatever is inside. Oh noooooo, staring at me are 5 newborn kittens, cords still attached. I grab my dogs and lock them inside, and call my husband to let him know, knowing momma cat will be back and continue on with my day. That night, I went to check in on the litter and found I was correct. Momma Cat returned and moved her litter..well all but two. We waited another day and realized she hadn't and probably was not going to return. I called our local shelter, who came out and told me in all honesty, without mom, they would probably be euthanised. I called my husband and told them what animal control had told me. He asked me what I thought. I said, "I think they deserve a fighting chance!". He said, "Me too." I said, "Good because they are wrapped nice and warm in the laundry basket, when you get home they each need one dropper of KMR every two hours, and they have an appointment at the vet tomorrow." My husband thankfully is used to my animal antics.

Fast forward exactly one year, countless turns midnight feedings, changing kitten bedding, litter training and I can't imagine my house without these two mischevious, crazy little devils Yoda (clearly the runt) and Tubby. Yoda developed anemia at 4 months, and after intense treatment by a fantastic vet, she's still a runt but healthy and spunky as heck. I'm beginning to think momma cat knew she and her sister would be in good hands...

(and P.S. We found out the feral siblings were trapped, fixed and released by a wonderful and animal loving neighbor of ours!)

M & R Rodriguez
Chino, CA

Princess Guinevere Fluffybottom

I was only sort of looking for a cat when I saw her photo on Facebook. A guy with whom I went to high school posted a few photos of her, saying that she needed a good home. That was a Friday. I was immediately taken with her and, upon checking to see if he was still living in the same area as I am, messaged him; he put me in contact with his friend from college who was fostering her, and I picked her up that Monday after work. She settled right into her new home, and even fell asleep on my tummy that night while I rubbed her belly. She came with the name "Guinevere," but I dressed it up to her full name, making her royalty. And boy, is she a princess! She complains if it's been ten minutes since a feeding and there isn't more food in the bowl, or if I'm in the kitchen but not providing her with food, she wants to be cuddled right when I am about to get up (or am on the toilet), she has her "own" chair in the living room, and she announces her presence wherever she goes! She started out living in a barn, but now she's my snuggly, talkative princess who likes to watch me do the dishes. I can't imagine life without her, particularly when she pats me on the face in the morning when she hears my alarm go off and knows it's breakfast time :-)

KK
Arlington, VA

Only one?

Living with my boyfriend.. I already had my old grumpy cat Blackey. 13 years old, and spoiled rotten.. And I love him.. But I wanted more.. I felt I was missing something.. I had so much love to give, and wanted more. Then, my boyfriend sent me a post on Facebook, that one of his friends found a small litter of kittens in their barn.. I got so excited, that I immediately contacted them. I wanted the little baby orange one. He would be a great contrast to my Halloween Black cat. I had already chosen his name, Pumpkin Bread.. I hadn't even held this little kitten before loving him. It was settled. Pumpkin Bread would be my newest little addition.

When we get there, to pick up the little orange one, we were told that out of the five kittens, three of them found homes together, with a nurse. My little orange baby was still there, though there was one other one left... I lifted my little baby out of the laundry basket and he snuggled right on my chest.. Then I looked back down into the basket, to see one last kitten.. I lifted her into my arms, and handed her to my boyfriend. She latched onto him and literally refused to let go of his shirt. It was decided.. We were taking them both. They were so tiny, that I had to bottle feed them and keep them warm at night. Blackey, at first was so angry with me, until I laid them next to him.. And they just snuggled with him.

Now, a year later, they all play, they all love each other and continue to hog the bed, and pillows. Whenever I come home from work, Pumpkin jumps up from whatever he is doing and meows until I pick him up and snuggle his face. Athena, the black and white girl, snuggles my boyfriend constantly.

I couldn't be happier with these two little angels, as well as my spoiled rotten Blackey butts.

Tess
Baltimore, MD

Padge's story

A few years ago I was renting a house that had an old shed in the back that we used for storage. I had lived there for a year, and hadn't been in the shed since the first day I moved in. On one hot summer day, my boyfriend and I were packing to move out of state, and we finally decided to sort through the stuff in that old shed, a chore I had been putting off for weeks. Wearing rubber gloves and a dust mask, we opened it up for the first time in a year and I began sorting through old stuff. Just then, my boyfriend silently tapped me on the shoulder and pointed to one corner of the shed. Sitting in an old chair, quietly watching us was the tiniest kitten I had ever seen. He was dirty, undersized and malnourished. We picked him up and swiftly took him to the vet. The poor little guy was completely covered in fleas, and the vet estimated he was only 4-5 weeks old. They said that Mom probably abandoned him so she could go mate again. We took the little guy home and nursed him back to health, picking out fleas and bottle feeding him. He took hold of our heart and never let go. Today, Padgley has been with us for 2 years, and his birthday is coming up in a few days. He can be the sweetest, most affectionate kitty at times, and he definitely loves to snuggle on your lap. Thinking back to the day we found him in that shed, if we had decided to wait just a day or two longer to look through it, Padge would not have survived. It was fate that we found him that day!

Sarah Reinhardt
Springfield, MO

My 2 Boys

I was happy with 1 female cat, Gretchen but in 2009 a stray cat came around, he was so sick, semi-feral, skinny, worms so bad his butt was beet red, It was October and getting cold and I didn't have the heart to ignore him. I had him neutered,shots, blood work for diseases and dewormed. I opened the door to him the next day after surgery and he walked right in with the attitude " YES, I'M IN!!" His name is Tommy (Tomcat) has become a wonderful boy and very seldom leaves my side. Now 4 yrs. later, around October again, I hear meowing and once again there was another young boy. A beautiful yellow boy with golden eyes. I brought him in and had him neutered, de-wormed, shots and blood-work. He was named Leo (Leo the lion) and he became a permanent part of my family. I've never seen a cat so playful. He carries toys around the house with him and is very verbal when he wants something. Gretchen doesn't like them but tolerates them as long as they don't touch her. She is the PrimaDonna. The boys are beginning to get along and fly through the house sounding like elephants. My cats are 17, 15 & 14 lbs at the last vet visit. Yikes. Leo is huge (14lbs) and is no more than a yr. old. I sleep in a twin bed and have to share with both boys now. We are a happy family. I wish people would learn that cats are NOT a disposable item. Be sure you want them before you bring one home and PLEASE get them spayed or neutered. There are low cost programs for people that need them.

In the picture Gretchen is in the door Tommy on the right and Leo on the left waiting for a chance to look out the door. They know not to mess with Gretchen!!

Audrey
North Tonawanda, NY

Broken out of jail

I worked several years ago for my local police department. The animal control department officers were buds of mine; we shared a love of animals. Two years back my cat companion of 8 years had passed away and I could not replace her. One night, at the end of my shift, an officer came through my department to tell me a cat had been brought in by a resident who had found her wandering in her yard. She was thin, unkempt and declawed but friendly. The resident had put up flyers in her neighborhood seeking the cat's owner, to no response and she was unable to keep her. So she brought her to the police department where she would immediately be taken to a shelter for euthanasia. I looked into the cage and saw her little gray face and green eyes looking at me calmly and it seemed to me I had found my replacement. I took her home. For a week she hid under my bed. I left her alone, kept food and water out for her and kept her enclosed in my bedroom. On the fifth night i was awakened by her curling up in the crook of my arm. She has not let me out of her sight a minute since. My Peaty.

Gina
brandon, MS
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