From my house into town, I drive 8 miles on this two lane, 55 MPH highway, mostly through farmland. I drive it every day unless I stay home. One August in 2001, taking my daughter to a 4H meeting, a tiny kitten runs out in front of the car ahead of us, and dodges back to the ditch. My daughter wanted me to stop, so I did, cautioning her that this is farm country with lots of feral cats, and he probably wouldn't let us pick him up. Well, there he sat, in the grass, meowing loud enough for us to find him. So, we have our first cat ever! We fittingly named him Dodger. Home he goes with us, and to the vet the next day, and we have a healthy 8 week old male. So, about 10 weeks later, I was headed to town for a bunch of errands, on this same highway, to see an tiny orange kitten in the oncoming lane, dodging cars. One car straddled him, as I passed and held my breath. In my rear view mirror I saw him run back into a field. I found a place to turn around and thought, if he let me, I'd pick him up. Well, no sooner did I get out of my truck, this cat found me and ran up my pants leg. So, here we go, into town to finish my errands. Later at the feed store, he gobbled up some cat food samples. He was a mess, with bloated tummy, crawling with fleas, a scab over one eye, and a tail missing most of it's fur. Next day at the vet, he was declared healthy, just full of worms and only 14 ounces. We brought him home to the other cat, now accustomed to our three large dogs. We had never had cats, but now lived in the country with so many mice, we needed some. Over the years the two boys, Dodger (the grey one) and Bubba, have been both rivals and snuggle buddies. Bubba was the bossy one, and Dodger just put up with it. Once, when a new puppy was annoying the the cats, Dodger just moved himself to the barn with the horses and barn cats, and a couple years later he made peace with the puppy, and moved back to the house. For 17 years, they were a joy to watch, always enjoying our back deck in the sun, and waiting for an empty lap in the evening. Neither of them played with toys. I think their beginnings were too traumatic to really act like kittens. Bubba died last year, and we worried Dodger would need a companion besides the dogs. But his personality has completely changed without Bubba bossing him around. He is obviously enjoying being the only cat, with his routines he insists on. He meows loudly on the bed till my husband settles in and invites him to his pillow. He demands fresh food if it has been sitting on the plate for more than a few hours. He has multiple health issues now, and gets subcutaneous fluids twice a week. We will enjoy him for his last years and his demanding bossy ways. Funny thing is, I've never seen another stray cat on that highway. Only that summer, 18 years ago, and 10 weeks apart. They were meant to be brothers, and meant to be ours.
When I was in Puerto Rico in late 2015 for a cruise, I found and fell in love with a young male cat. His instant affection informed me he had known love before. Thankfully, I was with friends who live there and do TNR work. Upon my return home, after getting the ok from my husband, I set in motion the plan to get him TNS - trapped, neutered, and sent to me in Maryland. He arrived in December, and instantly acclimated himself to the other cats in our family. Instantly, as in within an hour! The other cats ranged from 8-14 years old. My husband felt so sorry for the kitten coming into the nursing home that he suggested we find a play buddy for him. Knowing how dire the situation is for cats in PR (and this was before Hurricane Maria), we again turned to our friends on the island. We were most interested in the story of Sky, who had been trapped at a very young age, neutered, fostered, then adopted. He was returned to the shelter for reasons unknown, and was looking for a new family. There was some delay in him coming to us, which was very concerning as my husband and I were leaving soon for our winter vacation. We hoped he'd be home by Christmas, but he finally arrived - a scant four days before we left for our holiday! Sky (now Skeeter), was excited about his new home, and although we tried to keep him separate, he was in the kitchen sharing the food with the rest of the feline family literally within 5 minutes!! Twenty minutes later, he had found some toys and was running all over the house playing with them. Our first PR kitty, named PJ (Panther Junior) wasn't at all sure about Skeeter at first. He hissed at the new interloper. When the time came for us to leave for vacation, we were nervous about them getting along. My husband and I were cruising the Caribbean, and checking for updates from our catsitter every day we had WiFi, which wasn't every day. When we got to Barbados, we saw the picture that proved everything was going to be alright. Both young boys were playing, and clearly with one another. By the time we were home, the two were a bonded pair - bros - and continue to delight us with how much they love one another.
In April 2011, I was visiting my daughter. As I was leaving, a cat dashed up and started rubbing around my legs. He was skinny and had large red sores behind his ears. I was about to scoop him up and take him home, but my daughter said, "You can't just take someone's cat." So I knocked on a few doors, and one woman said, "Oh, he's just some old tom. We throw food out for him." I said I would take him to the vet. At the vet, he just loved everyone, he was so anxious to be loved. It turned out the sores behind his ears were because he scratched at them, as he had a bad case of ear mites. Most of his back teeth were bad and had to be removed. I just had to take him home after he was treated and neutered. You could see he was so grateful to have a home. He never wants to go outside again. Once I'd left the door ajar. He saw a squirrel and dashed out, took a quick look around and dashed back outside. A year later, a neighbor phoned and said, "You'd better rescue your cat." Buddy was by my side, as usual, but I went outside. There was a little kitten fighting off a Jack Russell terrier. I brought the little kitten inside, and Buddy immediately took over and became his big brother. I put up notices and asked around, but no one seemed to own this little kitten. The vet said he was about 2 months old. Buddy is very protective of him. I hadn't planned to have more cats as I was afraid they would out live me, but 8 years later, we are all happy and healthy.
We lost our first kitty together, "Itsa" in April of 1998, 18 days after we lost my Dad. The grief was unbearable. That December, we decided it was time to adopt another kitty to love. We met "Holly" 9 days before Christmas of that same year, and although I was still grieving my double loss, it was time. When we met Holly, it was love at first sight and I just knew she was "the one for me". I cried before we brought her home but my husband confirmed that we were giving another kitty a home to be loved in. We took to me like glue and she became my baby, my soul kitty, my best friend. She would stare at me like I was the only thing in the world that mattered to her and she shared so many kisses and constantly purred with contentment. She would call out to me when I wasn't in the same room with her and I swear when she did, it sounded like she was saying "Hello". We lost her in November of 2018 after 20 full loving years, and my life will never be the same without her. I still cry without her companionship, but we were so fortunate to have her in our lives. She would have been 21 on September 20, 2019. Miss you, "Mom's Love".
It was a dark and stormy night. Not really. It was a hot August afternoon in 2006. As I waited in reception at the vet’s office to pick up our cat, an older man and a young-adult woman came in. She carried something wrapped in a towel. All I could see were two little white ears sticking up over the towel. The young woman explained that her father was driving her back to college when they spotted a kitten on the side of the road. They pulled over and rescued the kitten, but the rescue left them with a hard decision. Neither of them could give the kitten a home, so they reluctantly decided to stop at the first vet they came to and arrange for his humane euthanization. Before starting on the paperwork, the young woman asked if I would hold the kitten while she wrote. That was when I saw the owner of those little white ears. I held a beautiful grey and white kitten. Fleas were visible all over him and there was a bloody hole where his left eye had been, and he was still beautiful. As I checked him over I was moved by the kindness and generosity of these people. Even though they couldn’t keep him they were willing to take the time and spend the money to save him from a grisly death. I’m not sure when I decided to take him home but it was probably when the vet tech asked me to hand him to her. The $35 euthanasia fee was returned to the young woman. We hugged and remarked on Karma and how the cosmos works. Everyone was happy with the outcome. Even though we weren’t looking for another cat it was hard to argue: destiny, fate, or some other cosmic force converged at the perfect time for Jack. In the end, we all came together, and we all saved Jack.
I've had several Maine Coons in my life, and spent a year grieving my last one. After moving to France, I started cruising the Maine Coon site but couldn't justify spending so much money on a kitten from a breeder. So I went to a rescue site and saw an ad for a cat described as very large, too large to be adopted, and mean-tempered. One look and I knew he was a Maine Coon. I called, and the woman told me he had been abandoned by his owner for 'being too big,' and they rescued him after he had been mauled by a dog. He hissed and hated everyone. I have never, ever known a mean Coon. I told her I would take him. So I drove on the hottest day of the year for 3 hours to "interview" this cat. A woman was fostering him and she had a dog of all things, so the Coon spent a week hiding under a dresser. No surprise. After being questioned by the rescue group, I walked into this woman's home, opened the carrier's door and softly called the cat. His big beautiful head poked out, we took one look at each other and to everyone's amazement, he walked into the carrier and curled up. Anywhere was better than here for him. We drove back home, with the carrier on the passenger seat. After a few minutes, he poked his paw out and we spent three hours with his big paw on my hand on the gear shift. Boubou was home. The vet checked him. He was underweight and matted. We fixed that, and for the next 16 years, Boubou was the gentlest, most even-tempered, loving Coon I've had. He wasn't large, he was huge and very dignified, and my friends adored him. He was also generous, letting me know when a stray that I fed was on my terrace. One very cold night, he actually persuaded the stray - who wouldn't let me touch him - to come Inside. Sushi (as I called him) was now home, and the two of them were friends until the Boubou left us a few months ago. There is no such thing as a mean Maine Coon.
Our retirement home is in a lovely wooded area, where homes were built on what used to be farmland. The person who owned the land had beagles, lots of beagles, & they ran all over our development. I saw two of them in our yard, and fell in love at first sight. When I learned that the two females had been picked up by animal control, I called & told them I wanted to adopt them. I didn't know they were both pregnant, so we brought home the 2 mamas & 4 puppies, just 3 days old. I was in heaven. One puppy died, but we found homes for the other 3 and kept the two mamas. We had to house-train them for everything. We lost a few books, some shoes, and they chewed on our sofa table. We use to lay puppy pads all over our carpet at night. But finally, they were mostly house broken. I learned that my two beagles were mother & daughter. It didn't take long for their son & brother to be adopted by us. We had his mother & sister, so he joined the family too! I have loved them the entire time, that was 10 years ago. I only have the son, Bandit, left. We lost Mama & Miley to cancer. Even with the pain of their loss, I wouldn't change a thing. They brought so much laughter & love into our lives!
Eight years ago my husband, our daughter and I went to a Farmers Market in Oak Park, IL. We were looking for cheese, vegetables, and books (the library was hosting used book sale). We got our veggies and cheeses and were walking to the book sale when we came upon an adoption event for the shelter where we had adopted our last 2 pets, Animal Care League. One of the volunteers had the only skinny beagle I have ever seen on a leash. It was love at first sight. When we heard her backstory we had to have her. She was between 2 and 3 years old, and was picked up by animal control on the street in Berwyn, Il. According to the vet, she had given birth to at least 2 litters of pups. Because we had a history with the shelter we were immediately approved on the one condition that she and our daughter’s dog could get along. I stayed at the event while my husband and daughter went home and got her dog. They did OK together, so Chloe came home with us. Chloe and our cat, Princess, became best friends. We faced many challenges, most in the first 2 years with Chloe. She could not be caged, panicked as soon as the door was closed, and wet and defecated. She got into the garbage any time we left the room. She is terrified of loud noises; thunder, fireworks, trucks, or motorcycles. (She has no fear of the vacuum cleaner.) She ate through a hollow-core door to get into the closet we kept the dog food in. We stuck to our commitment of being her forever home, and she rewarded us by being the most loving gentle dog I have ever known.
After I lost my last of 3 kitties, I thought I would not get another animal for a while. It was just so painful to lose them. But after a week my husband and I decided the house was too quiet, so we went to look for a new furry family member. We found a solid gray long-haired cat named Lucy. She was 2 years old and had been returned twice. I thought, this is it, we have to have her as she needed some stability. We soon found Lucy needed a LOT of attention, which I'd never experienced before with my previous cats. We then decided we'd start looking for a dog, and we were both nervous about it as neither of us had an indoor house dog. I began to volunteer at the SPCA in my area. While I worked mainly in the cat area, I'd go into the dog room each time I volunteered to check out the dogs. One day I came upon Jesse. His kennel said he was a 3-year-old Lhassa Apso mix. His hair was so overgrown and he looked pitiful, but his eyes just captured my heart. I Immediately called my husband and said I think I found our newest family member. I took a pic and took it home to show him. I called the shelter that same night and asked if anyone had dibs on Jesse and they said no. I went to the shelter the first thing the next morning and adopted him. He had been returned twice as well: the first time for resource guarding, and the second because he had been hit by a car and had a broken jaw, so the owners surrendered him to the SPCA. He had his jaw surgery, neuter surgery, and by the time we adopted him, he was all fixed up. Soft food and toys for a while, and he needed to gain a little weight, but otherwise fine. We ended up finding out after having him for eight weeks and after a jaw recheck, he was only 14 months old. We also found out through a DNA test, he has zero Lhaso Apso in him and he is primarily a Shih Tzu mix with a lot of other doggie DNA. It's been almost 4 years we've had Lucy, and 3 1/2 years we had Jesse. We can't imagine our lives without them; they bring so much joy each and every day. I would encourage everyone to adopt and give shelter animals a chance. They want nothing more than to be loved and they give it back tenfold. My husband and I look so forward to coming home each day and seeing our 4 legged kids so happy to see us.
Many years ago I had my first Bengal cat. He was so bonded to me that if I left him alone he'd pull out his hair. I took him to the vet, and the vet said it was stress and suggested I get him a kitten. This is where Nanny comes in. I saw a litter of Siamese-mix kittens that were going to be put down if no one took them. I'm in New Hampshire but contacted the rescue that had the kitten that was in Georgia. I chose Nanny, had her shipped up from Georgia, and she became the Bengal's best friend. I used to joke that he left me for another woman. Years passed and I lost the Bengal to cancer. Nanny was devastated. So later that year my daughter bought me another Bengal kitten. Nanny was happy again. Three years later, I got another little Bengal girl. Now the three cats and my German shepherd are one big happy family. By the way, I still call her Naughty Nanny because her love of shredding toilet paper has not stopped.