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The "Grande Dame"

Several years ago we were making one of our frequent stops at the pet supply store to pick up a few items for our four spoiled rescue cats. We always look at the cats available for adoption so I checked out the offerings and noticed a shorthaired beauty that was watching me intently. I was struck by her unique coloring and that she looked like she was smiling. The info tag stated she was a five-year-old female ocicat rescued from a 'kitty mill'. We didn't need another cat but this one was special and I was smitten. Despite what the info tag stated, she is not an ocicat, or at least not a pure breed. Her coat is bi-color with black tipped hairs and a white undercoat; hence her name “Ashes”. My wife agreed the cat was beautiful but reminded me of the four at home. Despite obvious reasons for not doing so, I asked if we could see and hold her. When we sat down in the adoption area she immediately jumped up into my lap, looked up at me, closed her eyes and began a rumbling purr. After 24 hours of discussing the pros and cons of adopting a fifth cat the pros (or maybe it was the cons) won out and we adopted her the following evening. From her first moments in our home she was her own cat. It took a while for her to integrate into the family, but with time and patience she’s become the 'grand dame'; mostly tolerated by the rest of the cat clan, and mostly tolerating them. She's independent and stubborn, has kept her rumbling purr and has a raucous voice that she uses freely, and she’s daddy’s girl.

Wayne & Sandra
Brevard, NC

My Little Bug

This beautiful cat was hanging around my house for over a month. One day, looking out my window, I saw him playing with the leaves, and realized that he was a kitten (albeit a large kitten) and needed a chance in life even though my resident cats wouldn't see it that way. Long story short, I decided to give him that chance and, since he had learned how to use my cat doors to come inside and eat, it was a pretty easy transition...for me. Since he was feral, I trapped him and took him to the vet to get him neutered and have his shots. He tested negative for all diseases and he is now the newest resident of my now 5 cat household. Since he learned to use the cat doors early on, he moved inside right away to escape the cold and rain. Since then, he has come around nicely. After only a few weeks inside he rubs on my legs when I am preparing the cat food in the morning and he knows where all the dry food and water stations around the house are. I have been able to pet him for about two days now and today he let my husband pet him too! He obviously has his fears and stressors, but he's loving it inside the house. He has never hissed or swatted us and my vet even declared him to be a "nice cat for being feral." Since he's only about 9 months old, I'm hoping my other cats will warm up to him. However, even though he is young, he is very big and definitely an alpha male and my resident 20 lb alpha male cat doesn't appreciate this "trespasser." Nor do my other cats. I have no doubt that they will work it out over time. As you can see, he likes to sleep surrounded by his toys.

Anonymous
Sacramento, CA

Wild Cat Rescued

About 20years ago my daughter and her husband heard a little constant mewing and went outside their back fence into the bush but couldn't find puss. Each night they tried without luck. My son-in-law decided that over the fence was the way to catch puss so he went over the fence head first with wife holding his feet and scooped up the little run-away! Tabby was very young, very tiny, eyes just open and very wild. She was fed with an eye dropper by son-in-law and seems to think he is her mum. For many years he was the only person she would let pick her up or pat her. Gradually daughter was able to pat, only three strokes, then the hissing started! Feline dementia must be coming on as Tabby accepted pats from anyone and is as you can see still tiny but quite happy.

Edna
Sydney, Australia

Sally the Rescue Dog and Santa visit hospitals & nursing homes

Save Our Strays VT is a small volunteer pet rescue/adoption in rural Vermont with a tradition of Christmas Day visits to hospitals and nursing homes. Sally the Great Pyrenees was abandoned and sent to an over crowded kill-shelter when her owner went into a nursing home and the family did not want her. She was about to be euthanized when Save Our Strays saved her. A grateful Sally has become the "spokesdog and ambassador" for this dedicated group of volunteers.

Sally now can be found "spreading her love" to nursing home residents as a tribute to her past. Sally brightens the day for both the staff and patients and is an excellent representative for any dog given a second chance.

Roy Haynes
Huntington, VT

Kitty Bunch with celebrity Traci K at Christmas sighted.

While dealing with hardship and struggles after my competition days and transitioning from military life there were nights that were a bit much. Then one day I found a kitty hit by a car and saved off the road on a scorching day. I brought it back to life rushing it to the nearest animal emergency but they said that the cost would be high and it was serverly damaged from the hit. I knew then my heart went out to animals who need healthcare like we all did during the times. My heart broken the following week a beautiful grey striped female came knocking on my door and I was in love. She was pregnant and I helped her deliver them the week of the Emmys that I was nominated for and off to California. They were actually born on the last presidents birthday. And I have become a crazy cat lady since with T-shirt and all. I decided to be part of no testing on makeup and became an ambassador for my BWC project. And almost every chance I get I click on Greater Good site to contribute. I have helped get many cats and dogs adopted and I foster when I can. My Kitty Bunch is ESA also registered cause they have saved my life maybe once or twice. I would get these nite terrors and shakes that were bad. Now my Cats jump on me and check on me to make sure I am okay. They also provide a calming loving atmosphere and in return I spoil them when I can. It sometimes bothers me when on TV shows talk and joke about relationships being that no hope for single woman and lots of kitties in the future. Please NO. I think there are ton of men who are A list that love cats right? Cause they are my kids and adorable. Thank you for the paw necklace I wear it.

Traci K
Dayton, OH

No Fear Jack

Jack was saved by a wonderful vet when an owner wanted a convenience euthanasia. His eye was removed at 9 months; he was such a bundle of energy that the vet had to put him up for adoption for the sake of her older cats with cancer. I saw him on a rescue site and thought with only one eye, perhaps his chances at adoption were not great. So Jack joined our two older cats. We had 13 happy years with a tabby whose disability did not deter him from racing thru life. Jack was the only counter cat I have had--he could haul a package of frozen chicken breasts from the sink and onto the floor. He greeted anyone at the door when the doorbell rang. He politely tapped my leg or face when he wanted attention--those early morning wake ups were better than an alarm clock. We took him in for a check up when we noticed his appetite was lagging. Test results showed renal failure.

People say he had a happy life--he was loved and spoiled. Still, the emptiness is heartbreaking and I miss Jack's energy and happy, carefree attitude. Our two older cats passed within 6 months of each other about four years ago. Then our feral cat that we cared for passed last year. In time, I'll rescue another older cat--for Jack.

Anonymous
Springfield, VA

Lilith

In late winter 2011, my fiance and I happened to do the grocery shopping at a completely different day and time than usual. When we were packing the groceries inside our apartment building, we could hear scared meowing. The security guard told us that another renter had stolen the AC unit out of the apartment but left behind his pets, including a cat, who had escaped outside and was hiding in the bushes. We already had one cat, the maximum allowed in our apartment building, but I scooped up the cat and took her inside. "Just for tonight, I'll take her to the shelter in the morning!" I told my fiance. We both knew it was a lie! We fell in love with her and she became a beloved member of our family. It was clear from her skittish behavior that she had been abused. It took lots of patient love and care to help her adapt to her new life, but she grew into a sweet, loving cat--who always retained a fierce strength and no-tolerance policy for nonsense, which we call "putting the paw down."

Our first cat is a bit of a daddy's girl, but Lily was all mine. Every morning, I would wake up and she would race me down the stairs for me to let her out onto our patio. We spent hours gardening, hanging out, watching the birds together. We were both cranky homebodies who liked to keep to ourselves. We ate green beans out of a can together and she helped me read books and grade papers.

Sadly, last year she developed a rare, aggressive disease and passed away at the age 5. I miss her every day. I keep "putting the paw down" in my own life, just like she taught me.

Lacey Sparks
Lexington, KY

From Fearful to Fierce

Almost two years ago, my mother, my partner at the time, and I were on our way to our local pet store. On Adopt-a-cat Saturday. We saw this gorgeous, friendly, and talkative tortoise shell cat in a very closed off container. My partner, mother, and myself immediately fell in love with her.

At the time, she was named Lorelai. So that's what we called her, as we talked to her and tried to pet her through the holes of the glass covered case she was in. She LOVED it. And us. Finally, a representative from the shelter came to talk to us about her. Lots of paperwork, adoption fees, and a short debreifing on her needs later, we were on our way home with Lorelai.

Once home, she was slowly introduced to our two other cats and renamed Chimera. After weeks of adjustment, she was still having trouble. Not only with the other cats, but with her confidence. It didn't help that her backstory was a complete mystery. All we knew was that she flinched when we went to pet her, had mild food aggression, didn't know how to play, and was prone to hiding herself away.

Lucky for me (and Chimera), I watch a certain feline behaviorist's TV show as if my life depends on it. We started catifying our home and finding ways to encourage Chimera to learn to play. We also started approaching Chimera with more consideration of her fears, and learned how to work out feeding times to diminish her food aggression. It wasn't easy, and it took time...

But after almost a year and a half with Chimera, she had warmed up to us and our other cats. She sat in our laps, rubbed up against us, and talked to us when we called her name. She had learned how to play, stopped hiding, and started to come out of her shell.

She has come a long way, even in the last six months, from the cat she was two years ago. Now she is happy, healthy, confident, and loved... and still loves to talk.

Helena P
Normal, IL

Bella

I have always had a dog in my life. We had recently had to help our Bear dog over the rainbow bridge after 13 years of unconditional love. Soon after that we adopted a black lab mix pup from animal control who, due to health reasons, left us way too soon at the tender age of 1. I was hesitant to get another dog after that. It seemed like too much heartbreak to endure in such a short time. However, my daughter who was in Kindergarten at the time, came home from school telling me that one of her classmates was moving, and that they were going to take their beagle to the shelter . I had always been a big dog person, and never in my life imagined I would have a beagle. But I just could not bear the thought of someone leaving their dog at the shelter. So, I became a beagle person.

Bella was two when she came to us. We soon discovered she had had a pretty rough life with her previous family. She had not been spayed and the family moved without getting me the promised vet records. The first time I got a broom out to sweep, she tucked her tail between her legs and cowered in the corner. Her paws had been frostbitten and cold temperatures were painful She did not know how to play. No ball, no toy, no running or jumping. It was the saddest thing. After many months of patience and training, she learned to trust me, and my husband could get her riled up enough to run a bit in the yard. She was very gentle and mostly just wanted to curl up next to a warm body on the couch. She was a constant companion to our daughters, patiently enduring hours of playing "dress up" and cuddling. She was with us for 13 years and this past August we had to help her over the rainbow bridge at age 15. I am grateful that we had the opportunity to open our home and hearts to her.

Anonymous
Batavia, IL

Saving Chains

Wanted to share our story of rescue with you ! We saved an abused and neglected dog from Puerto Rico. We love him so much, and it's such a beautiful story . Thank you for all that you do !

https://youtu.be/ysd91s7klGU

Michael Militti
Groveland, FL
Fresh Start Savings
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