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A Family Affair

Three years ago a mottled gray and orange stray female cat showed up at our door looking for food. We called her Ashes for her coloring. Although sweet, Ashes was wary and wiley of being caught even with a trap. Months later she had three kittens under our shed. We took them in at five weeks old and named them Ferdinand, Columbus & Isabella. Shortly thereafter, Ashes had two kittens that she brought to us to feed when they were seven weeks old. We again took them in. At the time I mentioned to my husband that Ashes did not look well but she resisted any attempt to catch her. Aug. 8, '08 Ashes had four kittens in the woods across from our house. A month later she was pacing back and forth between our front windows and our shed. Over and over again she did this until we went to look under the shed. Sure enough, there were the kittens. Somehow knowing we would care for her babies, Ashes looked first at them, then at us, meowed once and walked into the woods never to be seen again. My husband and I are convinced Ashes knew she was dying and wanted us to take in her babies. Now we have her nine babies plus the daddy. All are fixed, vaccinated and indoors! Six are named in her honor: Smokey, Flame, Sooty, Torch, Embers & Cinders. Dad is named Chief. We feel bad we couldn't catch Ashes but, we are very grateful for her beautiful babies who bring us so much joy and love.

Liz Hoeflick
Cuddebackville, NY

Panther - my Prince

Panther is a 4 year old Oriental Shorthair mix and he joined his now "siblings" and I one day when I was on a walk, with one of them. I did NOT need or want 4 cats - I thought, BUT by the time I located his owner and the owner gave him to me I was grateful beyond words! Panther is the lovingest, sweetest, dearest baby boy in the WORLD! He is also our greatest protector and sits on his ladder by the hour keeping other kitties away from us.

Heidi Helene Christensen
Modesto, CA

Sparkles (later named Tanner) the lost Siamese kitten

One summer afternoon my nephew, Kyle, called to say that a kitten had been found on school property in a storage shed. There was no mamma cat around or other kittens. The coach said the kitten had to be taken out as he was closing the shed up, and the kitten would die. Kyle took the kitten, and called me. He wanted to take it out to a farm that he worked at part time. But the kitten was only a couple weeks old, and I knew it wouldn't survive. Kyle's family already had 2 cats, and he couldn't take it. So I brought the kitten home, fed it from a bottle and took it to the vet. It had an infection in it's eyes, and was undernourished. The vet said it looked like a pure bred Siamese. Several days later, my daughter-in-law (JoDee) and my grand-daughter (Kayla) came over to see the "baby". They fell in love with it. They took it home, and Kayla named it "Sparkles".They soon realized "it" was a boy, and she changed his name to "Tanner" after a school friend. Tanner thrived, and grew into a big, beautiful (and mischievous) cat. He has a loving and happy home! Tanner was a lucky kitten!

Peggy Overmeyer
Williamsville, IL

Isobel and Lexi

I found Isobel (sitting) at a local shelter three years ago, a feral kitten that took weeks of love and patience to tame. Her "blankie" is a cotton rug on the stair landing from which she has a view of the living room. It was there where she first allowed us to touch her...head, paws, tummy. She is now sweet, loving...and addicted to tummy rubs! but still very shy.

Shortly thereafter I fell in love with "sister" Lexi's sweet sad face on Petfinder and drove 600 miles to rescue her. "Sweet/sad" my foot! Talk about a con artist!

That first night we smuggled her into our hotel room and fixed up a cosy bed for her...where she lasted all of ten seconds before she clawed her way up the side of OUR bed and spent the night snuggled between us. By the time we got her home the next day the tiny emaciated, injured/patched-up kitten had established her position as alpha cat. She is now three and has matured into a bossy, busy, nosy little tyrant...always in trouble for something, but so funny and loving it's impossible to get mad at her.

Evergreen, CO

Black and White Cat That Bit me

The torrential downpour that ended an 8 year drought in Clermont County, OH bore many gifts. One was a 4 week old, drowned kitten on the walkway from the parking lot to my office. She was not happy. Someone had left a small piece of meat for her but it was bigger than her mouth and strength. I picked up the piece and broke it and the very hungry kitten mistakenly thought my finger was food. So, we visited the vet to discover that 3 weeks of watching was the humane way to know if she was rabid. She lived with me for 10 years, loved only me and was my 3-dog night. I miss you Pookie.


Cincinnati, OH

My Buddy Mikey!!

Mikey showed up at my door one cold January evening in 1997. I let him in, fed him, and then he curled up on the couch and slept next to me all evening. I could tell he was grateful and content.The next morning I let him outside when I left for work, wasn't sure how he'd behave with my other two cats. That evening he showed up again and I let him in, he got a little bossy with the other two cats, but soon learned he had a place with his newfound family and settled down. I never let him go again.He has been by my side ever since, literally, because he loves to snuggle. He even hugs me when I pick him up. I can't believe how much joy he brings me.

Crestwood, IL

My Molly

So far my family as rescued 4 basset hounds. We love each one to death! One in particular stole my heart. Her name was Molly. We adopted her when she was 4 years old. She was found as a stray in newark nj. She was malnurished and had visible sings of abuse. The worst sign was a wire cut that was wrapped around her jaw. She was very scared and very shy when I first me her.

It was love at first sight with her. Like most adoptions it was going to take days before we could bring her home. So I went to the shelter every day to walk her and play with her, she became so comfortable with me. The volunteers at the shelter said she would do nothing but cry when I left until I would come back the next day. Finally one day when I went up to visit her, they said I could take her home that day! She was so excited and scared at the same time. Ever since that first day I met her she was attached to me, she loved my whole family but I was her mommy. We gave her the best life we could, she was one spoiled pork chop of a basset lol. She was with us for 4-5 years. We finally had to put her down because she had cancer. She had a tumor the size of a softball on her hip. There was nothing we could do for her. That was the most traumatic day of my life, to this day I still think of her daily and miss her so much. I have always loved animals, but never knew that one could steal your heart the way that Molly stole mine.

Andrea Skahill
Bath, PA

One Happy Chow Hound

When I worked at an animal shelter, I decided to walk this lonely chow mix on my lunch break. He had a sweet nature, but was afraid of everything. And, he was sick with kennel cough. I took "Bubba" home and fostered him for 3 weeks. I had never seen such a bad case of kennel cough. When it was time to take him back to the shelter, I just couldn't. I worried he wouldn't get adopted because he had already been at the shelter for several weeks. After 5 years of living with us, our beautiful Chow hound (cookie monster) loves people and is very happy. We named him Leo because of his beautiful mane. Leo taught us about recovery from abuse and neglect, forgiveness, and how he loves us unconditionally. I am so grateful I took Leo for that walk. He is one of my teachers in life.

Tucson, AZ

My Chip

I rescued Chip from a shelter a retired policeman was running in Southgate. He had been abandoned when his owners moved out of their apartment and left him behind with no food or water. Now he is my loving, gentle boy who nuzzles my face and sleeps in my lap. He has my heart and a forever home!

Nancy Zelenak
Rogers City, MI

Buffy the Wonder Cat

Buffy was about 5 months old when he was brought into the shelter where I volunteered. He had been found dragging himself across a yard by his front feet. He could only drag his back legs either having been struck by a car or, worse, being kicked by someone. An MRI disclosed a crushed vertibrea and a damaged spinal cord. It was unlikely that he would ever walk again.

Despite his injury, Buffy was infectiuosly good natured. All of the volnteers loved him. He would drag himself to the door of his room to greet visitors and would love to be held and petted. I fell in love and adopted him despite having five other special needs cats. I began to research small carts which could support his back end while I also began some special exercises to strengthen his back legs. Miraculously, he began to respond to the exercises. One day he stood up on his own. Weeks later, he began to take some steps and, after almost a year, he was able to hesitantly walk around my house!

Now, almost 5 years after he came home, Buffy is able to jump up on chairs and he loves to run, although he still has a difficult time controlling his back legs. He continues to be a happy, loving cat and a wonderful addition to our special needs cat family!

Joan Francis
Guilford, CT
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Best of Friends Sock Collection - Set of 3
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