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The brotherhood of cats

Pepper and Tigger began their lives 16 years ago in my neighbor’s shed. As curious kittens Pepper and Tigger came visiting searching for more human attention on my porch. That winter I put an old dog bed and blankets on the sheltered lowest shelf of my potting bench and supplemented the neighbor’s feeding. A year into our acquaintance I discovered an injured Pepper curled in the far corner of the dog bed. His face, ears and eyes were swollen, cut and bloody from bird shot.

No one was home at the neighbors, so I rushed Pepper to my vet for emergency treatment. The prognosis--Pepper would survive with proper care, but lose his eye sight. I visited Pepper at the vet daily. As his health improved his blindness became more apparent. I sang and talked to him constantly. He purred at the sound of my voice and snuggled in my lap. The neighbor refused to help and moved away before Pepper came home from the vet.

Although physically healing Pepper was inconsolable. The darkness that surrounded him was a trap and he kept looking for an escape. Propelled by smell and sound Pepper discovered the open window looking over the porch. He knew his old world full of light and sight was just beyond the window screen. Unable to find a way through or around the screen and into the world of light, Pepper cried piteously.

Suddenly Tigger appeared on the porch side of the window (we had not realized the neighbor had abandoned Tigger also) answering Pepper with worried cries of his own. I opened the front door. From the moment Tigger entered the room Pepper was content. He never again looked for a way out of his dark box. Pepper and Tigger became contented house cats who loved laps and returned our affection one-hundred fold for many years.

Jackhorn, KY

Foxy: The cat who knew a good home when he saw one

Foxy was a little feral who came into our yard a little over a year ago, a skinny, flea-bitten baby, about 5 months old. He wouldn't let anyone come near him, but we fed him and set up places for him to sleep. Gradually, we were able to touch him, then put flea treatment on him, and eventually adopt him. He has settled in with our other two cats, and sleeps on our bed every night. He's always going to have a little wildness in him, but now, he loves to be brushed every day, and get his share of lap time. He chose his home wisely!

San Diego, CA

Rio the Siamese

From where I come, pets are an expensive commitment and not many are responsible towards them.Mistreated pets are a common sight but it's not very often that you find a pure bred at your door step. In June last year, we saw a malnourished siamese hiding in our lawn, upon coaxing he ran away. After a few more days of hide and seek I was able to win his trust a little bit just so that he come inside and eat. Out of a starved innocent face stared a pair of vivid blue listless eyes. Summers are very hot here and during the day temperature soars to 40 celsius. He finally started come around to the kitchen door for food but would bolt at the slightest of sounds which confirmed my suspicion that he was an indoor cat. He reminded me of Zoya my cat who had succumbed to cancer 5 years ago and I still grieved over her. I named him Rio and started to hang around with him just so I could win his trust. The vet said he was severely malnourished and had contracted a digestive infection which would take a long bout of medicines to cure. Hence began Rio's journey which has been heartbreaking and heart warming at the same time. Despite being only 9-10 months old he didnt know any kitty games, he was declawed and still is afraid of loud noises and voices. Today as I mark his first adopatversary, I thought to share his story as he has taught me an all new meaning of resilience and trust worthiness. He automatically knows if I am upset or down and would come and just sit with me and that alone alleviates my stress. If we could only do half of what these innocent beings do for us. Amen

Lahore, Pakistan

Litty Bitty Kitty

Litty Bitty Kitty

We adopted two female rescue cats from the local shelter, Gracie May ( torby) and Doobie Doo (tortoise shell). They settled in after two months. One day we saw them looking out the sun porch window with great interest. Out the kitchen window I saw a very skinny calico meowing like it was her last chance for survival. Turns out it was! I went out with food and she ran into the woods. I set the food down, sat down and called for the litty bitty kitty for twenty minutes. She slowly succumbed to hunger and crept over to me. She gingerly glided under my hand to get to the food. She gobbled quickly and disappeared again. She returned the next day for more after another twenty minutes of calling. When she crept under my hand I grabbed her and put her in a large dog kennel with litter box and blankets. After a week in the kennel eating and resting we took her to the vet for spay, shots etc. She was under three pounds, full of worms and recently pregnant. They said she couldn't have made it another 2-3 days on her own. Her left eye is permanently dilated from head trauma. She had punctures on her legs and elbows. We live a half mile from a county road, with lots of red tailed hawks and few neighbors. No one knew anything about our little foundling. We figure a hawk grabbed her and dropped her somewhere out in the woods causing the punctures and head trauma. We can only imagine what happened to our Litty before she found her way to our door. Lucky for her, lucky for us! It's now a year later and we and the three cats are living happily ever after.

Sharon Lamers
New London, WI

Percy, the kitten I saved who saved me

Last Christmas I was mourning the loss of not only my sweet dog that I had raised from the age of 4 weeks, but also one of my cats earlier in the year—both sudden and unexpected deaths. I had just moved into a new apartment, and being in the mountains, I was afraid that my other cat, who is indoor/outdoor, would get snatched by a predator. I asked my sister and brother-in-law to take her to live at their house, since they have a big, fenced back yard in a quiet neighborhood in my hometown. I was all alone with no pets for the first time in over six years, and feeling tremendous sadness. I went to my hometown for Christmas, a few hours’ drive from my place, and headed over to my sister’s house to see her and my calico. I turned onto the dirt road to their house, adjacent to a large empty field. Out of the corner of my eye, in the field, I saw something small and orange—a kitten! He ran into the weeds where a dead tree laid overturned. I told my sister and we started looking for him. She spotted him under the dead tree, and while he focused on her, I sneaked up behind him and grabbed him. At first he was feral—biting and fighting against me—he couldn’t be more than 6-8 weeks old. I brought him to my parents’ house and spent the next week giving him food, water, and cuddles. It didn’t take long for his feral nature to melt into a loving, affectionate kitten. I named him Percy and he’s my best buddy now. I am raising him to be an indoor-only cat in my mountain apartment. I think that my furry loved ones across the Rainbow Bridge sent him to me, knowing I needed him. P.S. my calico is happy as ever living with my sister, and my niece absolutely adores her.

Nederland, CO

A Fitting Name

In 2003, I had adopted an FIV+ cat named Buddy from a local rescue group; shortly thereafter, they contacted me to ask if I would be interested in adopting a second FIV+ cat named Frisky. I said sure, as long as the two cats got along, as I live in a tiny Manhattan studio, and letting them each have their own space is not an option.

Well, the two cats got along just fine... the only issue was that "Frisky" had been an outdoor cat and my little apartment seemed ridiculously small to him - he just didn't understand Manhattan real estate! He would charge the length of the apartment furiously like a caged tiger, jumping on every surface and knocking/breaking everything in his path. I spent the first week yelling " stop being such a spaz!!" at him, until I realized that if we were to get along, I'd have to accept him the way he is ... so I renamed him "Spaz" as Frisky just wasn't descriptive enough ( a little false advertising on the rescue group's part).

Its 12 years later, and he has calmed down a bit in his middle age, but he still likes to charge around the apartment (yes, the same one - thank you rent stabilization) and yells for no apparent reason in the bathtub, other than he must like the acoustics. He has never had a health issue despite being FIV+ and his last blood panel was perfect, especially for a 15-year old cat. He's the smartest cat I've ever met, and has me completely trained to his beck and call - which I don't mind at all as his enormous personality and loving character has filled my tiny apartment with giant love.

New York, NY

Looks Can Be Deceiving

I had been a volunteer at my local shelter for over two years, so I was there when Kit was surrendered due to her owner being evicted. Immediately, I thought she was a gorgeous cat, but soon found out that she wasn't very "friendly." Didn't appear to have a cuddly bone in her body!

Fast forward two years - I am now able to adopt my own cat. I knew I wanted to either get a cat with FIV or one that was considered a "long term resident." I had a couple choices; one in each of those categories, and of course, Kit is one of them. She never got adopted out and had been there those two long years. I felt, I had to give her a chance - at this point, it seemed like no one would. She was older, a "black" cat, and no one could say many positive things about her.

So, the chance was given. I put in an application, was approved, and I was all set to spend a month or more working on her to get her adapted to the apartment and being my companion.

No time was needed! The moment I got home and opened the carrier door, she was out and exploring, mewing and rubbing against my legs! She was letting me pet and brush her, and following me from room to room. It was amazing! She sleeps with me now, greets me when I come home, and is my car ride buddy when the mood strikes us.

Don't let what appears to be an "unfriendly" cat make your decision. Shelters can be very stressful for the animals and thus, not allow them to put their best foot forward. Give them a chance; everyone needs their furever home.

Menomonie, WI

A Lifetime of Second Chances

When I adopted Dora Mae she was already grey in the face. The rescue told us she'd been adopted once before and returned for being too quiet. Still, she leaned into my hand every time I petted her; she was my dog; I had to bring her home.

For the first several months we called her "Dora the Doorstop" because she was afraid of everything and rarely left the couch. Then her true colors showed and she became a fearless social butterfly. Over the next few years, I began to realize just how special she was, she seemed naturally drawn to people and people just opened up around her, so with a lot of training we became a certified therapy dog team.

Only a few months after got our certifiction, we were struck a blow, and Dora was diagnosed with terminal cancer. She had a splenectomy and began chemo, but we were told she would have 6-8 months left, at best. Still, with the blessing of the oncologist and the vet, we continued our visits--a therapy dog with cancer was something special in the nursing homes where other people were also fighting that terrible disease.

And against all odds, she kept going--8 months, a year, two years, and on... We retired from nursing home visits and started visiting elementary schools and libraries wehre people could come to her after about 2.5 years as it was less taxing, and kids loved her just as much--if not more--than the seniors did. She was truly something remarkable.

She finally lost the battle 3 years and 51 weeks after her cancer diagnosis, but we made a lifetime of memories and taught me so much that I will always appreciate her legacy.

Emily Ann Meyer
Frederick, MD

Orion,my starry-eyed kitten

He started out as a regular, cute, black kitty called Luis. My husband took him in when he was about 5 months old and loved playing with the dogs, and running around everywhere. His cute, intelligent and social personality made us fall in love immediately. One day, when my husband was out, the kitten stole the meat that the man took care of the place and animals while we he was absent, and in a fit of rage, he grabbed the poor baby and slammed him hard to the floor. The cat was paralyzed from the waist down. However, he still had feeling in his hind legs so we hoped he would get better and gave him his proper treatment. When we decided to move in together, we didn´t hesitate in bringing the kitty with us. We renamed him Orión, since he was living a new and better life filled with love, by our side, with our german shepherd, Osa, and our other black cat called Mina. It hasn´t been easy since he had a clear lack of sphincter control issues, and still couldn´t walk, but he became my baby and I wouldn´t trade him for the world. He has improved a lot, almost stands up completely and walks in all fours sometimes. However, even if he can´t walk completely upright or jump, he´s a master at climbing, running surprisingly fast and has managed to jump a considerable distance again... we just know, he´s gonna get better, and even if he didn´t manage get completely well, he´s going to be alright. I am the proudest mom ever.

Cali, Colombia

All Hiss, No Bite

I recently wrote a story about my big fluffy cat, Earl of Sandwich, and now I will tell the little russian blue's story.

My husband and I moved to Maryland last July (2014) from Missouri. Earl was separated form his sister, which was good, since LuluBell was stressed out with her brother around. She wouldn't eat or play if she saw him. I'm please to say she is doing great now.

We found out we can have two cats at our new place. We wondered if another cat would be wise, especially with LuluBell's reaction.

Once Earl got settled in, he started to take up pouncing on my ankle. He never hurt me, but it was getting irritating. In September, we decided to see if we could find a playmate. We were looking for an order cat, who could hold their own, but loved others. We stopped by a pets-mart to buy a cat tree one day. We saw that they had cats that day, we took a look. I was drawn to the kittens, but they were too small. I wanted a cat that can run away if needed too. There was a pair of 2-month-old kittens, one climbed up on the cage door to greet us. My husband spoke, "I like this one! He reacts to people."

After playing with the kittens, my husband insisted on the one that greeted us. So we filled out the adoption paperwork, and took him home. Naming him Vodka Jasper Mewtini on the way.

Earl was happy about his new cat tree, but displease with the new brother. Vodka was freaked out and Earl just grumbled. He would complain, but luckily he didn't claw or bite; even at his height of anger. I spent the next few days, brushing both cat's fur with the same brush. Using their favorite toy, the bootlace, as a way to draw them closer. After 5 days of war, they both cuddled up together. I was so glad that the house had peace and the two were both comfortable. They've been close ever since.

Jennifer Senate
Savage, MD
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