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It was 1999 and we had just moved to Eau Claire. I was seven years old. That December sixteenth, I was greeted with a surprise when I got home from school.
My parents had found an ad in the paper for kittens that were being given away. They had brought me the runt of the litter, a tiny silver tabby. He was small compared to his sister, a calico they had gotten for my own sister.
Andrew was a sweet kitten. When I carried him up the stairs, he would play with my hair. We grew up together. We did everything together. He would greet me at the door when I came home from school, lay with me while I watched TV or played games, I would share my dinner with him and we would go to sleep together. He would curl up under the blanket in the crook of my arm and purr into my ear as I was falling asleep. I move a lot when I sleep, even when I was a child, but he would be there when I woke up, laying on one corner of the bed or another.
Andrew was my best friend for many years. I was bullied as a child and he was always there to comfort me. He was my first cat, the one I spent my childhood with and he must have been an angel. He was very patient with me when I was young and he was always by my side as we got older.
It's been almost three years now since I had to put him down because of a stomach problem that made him too sick to save and I still miss him very much. It was especially hard the first year without him, because I ended up putting his sister down almost exactly a year after I lost him. I love you forever, Andrew.
I lost my last girl, Kasey, in Feb 2011 and it took 4 years for me to be able to get my next dog. I'd vowed to adopt one from my local rescue and I was finally able to contact them and see if they had any pups available. They had 1.
She'd been found at the end of a hiking trail in the middle of the Northern Australian 'Wet' season in a national park by 2 hikers. They took her to the vet and she estimated that she was around 2 weeks old. There was no Mum or siblings found so how she got there is a complete mystery. It was touch and go for a bit but her fighting spirit showed and she thrived with her Foster Mum.
I fell in love with her as soon as I saw her photo and after consulting the vet I was allowed to take her home at 5 weeks. I love the 'Eragon' series by Christopher Paolini and I'd vowed that my next female pet would be named Saphira, after the dragon. She's referred to around here as a 'Kimberley Special' due to her parentage being a complete unknown.
I decided her 'birthday' would be January 26th as that's the day we celebrate being Australian and my girl is certainly as Aussie as it gets. She will be celebrating her first birthday in 4 days and I'm so glad she's in my life.
I was so grateful to the people who run the rescue group because if they hadn't been around the outcome for Saphira would've been completely different. I have become a foster for the local rescue group so that another canine or feline can get the same second chance at life that my Saphira was given.
In 2015 I started fostering for the local Humane Society, beginning with a Pomeranian successfully adopted about 3 weeks later. I'd resisted earlier requests to foster kittens because I already had 3 inside cats, 1 inside/outside cat and 2 outside Toms I'd gotten altered in the Spring. All were rescues, either from a shelter or strays left abandoned by their owners. I didn't NEED another cat. BUT the foster coordinator kept emailing requests to the foster families for SO many cats and kittens in need of fostering. I gave in and took in a total of 14 between March and August. Some were nearly feral, sick or too small to feed themselves. 12 found furever homes with nice families and 2, Dove and Jupiter, joined my family, doubling my solid black cat population to 4. When Jupiter arrived he wouldn't eat, I think because he was depressed about being separated from his Mom. He'd just been weaned. (He and his mom were taken to the shelter when he was 3 days old.) I fed him for 2 days using KMR mixed with wet kitten food via an eye dropper and it took 2 weeks before he would eat on his own. Soon after he was climbing my jeans to catch a ride on my shoulder, being careful not to claw me up too much. He still rides on my shoulder every day, sometimes nibbling my earlobes or kissing my cheek. He talks to me when he sees me and snuggles with me in bed, along with most of the others. He loves my dogs, as do my other cats, and happily plays with all of them daily. I can't imagine life without his beautiful orange eyes looking into mine silently telling me I'm the love of his life too.
A little over a year ago, one of my co-workers brought in a small kitten that she had found on the streets on her way in to work. She planned on taking him to a shelter on her way home. He was a tiny ball of fluff, completely covered in fleas and had no intention of staying in a small cubical when there was an entire building to explore. After watching him escape three times, I ran with him down the hall talking to him the entire time. When we had gotten to a turn, I made a u-turn and started running back to my co-worker's cubical, calling to him. He followed and ran with me, until I stopped, and then he ran straight into my arms. I told my co-worker that I would keep him in my office since I had a door.
As I walked away with him, she said that I was going to end up taking him home, but I didn't know how my thirteen-year-old cat would take to a kitten. Still, my co-worker decided not to take the kitten to the shelter. She brought him back the next day, which he spent in my office, sleeping on my desk, on my keyboard and in my arms. By the end of the second day, I finally admitted what she had known all along. He was coming home with me. I namedl him Oliver (Ollie for short) after Oliver Twist, since he was found on the streets, not to mention he has two spots on his body which resemble an exclamation mark, which I thought was reminiscent of the musical Oliver! He has brought life back into my older cat and is such a snuggle bug. I can't even remember what life was like without him.
I was driving gravel farm roads during a very cold & snowy February looking for snowy owls. Some critter slinked across the road about 500 feet ahead. Thinking it was a mink, I got out of the car with my camera. I heard a tiny meow behind a snow bank and a little head popped up. All I said was "here kitty" and she ran to me, jumped into my arms and wrapped herself around my neck purring non-stop. Tabitha was skin & bones. The nearest farm was a quarter mile away, and there was a redtailed hawk sitting atop the barn eyeing her no doubt for his next meal. I couldn't leave her there to probably die. Turns out she was only 4 months old and surprisingly disease free. It took some adjustment to have a kitten again - I already had 7 adult cats, all strays. She's been a handful, even now at 2 years old, but is an extremely affectionate and perpetual kitten.
I don’t think we ever thought of it as rescuing. Creatures needed homes. We were able to provide.
First, Bob who traveled with us. Then Alice from the summer cottage. Next Franny and Zooey who couldn’t go to the apartment and Blanche, found at the Texas Renaissance Festival. Somehow Tigger and Sam appeared at our studio in Savage Mill, and then Ben and Gerri from the Maryland Renaissance Festival.
Moving to the country added Claude, Cookie, C.F., Dude, Peach, Velvet, Silver, Ringo, Elvis, Lint (she looked like she blew out of the dryer) and the rest of the resident feral colony we didn’t realize we were inheriting. The vet gave us Fluff, Taffy and Patch. Daisy, the dog, lost on a fox hunt, appeared and Lily, the abandoned Tortie came back from NY with us. An antique dealer brought us Romey. We added Sammy from the bar, Jack and Mittsi from the Maryland Renaissance Festival and Louis from Louisiana. Thanks, Mariflora. Dude just appeared. Simon was in a shelter and Arthur’s human had a stroke. Molly was too stressed for her family, Binky came from Texas and B.C. from the cornfield. Ella was in “cousin Beverly’s” garage and Mocha, Latte and Lola from a neighbor’s patio. Maggie didn’t “fit” her former family.
Lately, it’s the ‘Clems’ (both orange), Heckle and Jeckle, Randy and Theo who lost favor with their human after 8 years, Monkey Pants from NY, Nancy (she has white boots), Cinnamon, Poppy, and Smokey. Jasper came from the Maryland Renaissance Festival and the latest, Abe just couldn’t give up his feral ways.
Some are huggable, others are not. We don't encourage procreation so all are neutered. They each have a story. After 30 years all are here, it's just that some are now buried under the pine trees. We love them all. They’re safe, warm and well-fed.
Just over 6 months ago, I was at the vet picking up meds for my elderly cat, Val. While there, I stopped to look at the kittens they had for adoption. While squatting in front of the kitten cage, I felt a touch on my thigh. I looked over, and there was this little grey tabby in the cage next to the kittens who had reached out to me. I fell in love instantly. Turns out, she was an 2yo ex stray who was pregnant when surrendered. She’d had her litter (they were all adopted out already), been spayed and was looking for a forever home. I took her home with me 3 day later. About a month after I took her home, my old cat died. I think Val was hanging on until she knew I’d be taken care of and Munin, the new kitty, was settling in nicely. Mu is still a little jumpy at human noises but has improved greatly and shows no interest in being an outdoor cat again. I look forward to many, many more years with Munin and can’t wait to see how she grows and matures!
We had lost our beautiful long haired Siamese, Cocoa to a heart attack. We had adopted her and Smokey, a blue point Siamese about two years earlier. We wanted to have another cat to keep Smokey company, so after a short period of time, my wife, my daughter and I went to our local Siamese rescue shelter to see what they might have. We found a beautiful Calico Siamese named "Precious." When my wife held her, she snuggled in her arms and gave the loudest purr. We brought her home and renamed her Callie.
Callie immediately became my wife's cat. She followed her like a dog and whenever my wife sat down, Callie was in her lap. When my wife was at home, they were always together.
After about 7 happy years, the unthinkable happened. We found a swelling on one of Callie's nipples. We took her to the vet who diagnosed it as cancer. An operation was performed and the vet said he thought he had gotten it all. But about a year later, it was back. This time in her lungs and the vet said there was nothing they could do. They could give some medication that would keep her alive for a month or two, but she could be in pain and find in hard to breath.
We didn't want our little girl to suffer, so we had her put to sleep. When my wife took her to hand her to the vet, Callie put her head against my wife's forehead and purred for the last time. My wife was grief stricken and cried for days. I must admit my eyes were not dry either.
Now we still have Smokey and he is having health problems and we pray that he will be with us for some years. I don't know if we have the courage right now to get another kitty. We had so many pets over the 62 years of our marriage and it has been a terrible loss each time.
Late this past spring two kittens, a large orange tabby male and a middle-aged grey and white tabby female were abandoned down the street. Downtown Fredericskburg, Virginia is a dumping ground for unwanted pets, especially when the semesters end at the local college. Almost all of our seven cats have come to us this way. The two kittens found new families within a week thanks to another neighbor, and the male followed a patron from the corner bar home about a month later. Only the grey and white female was left, and she stayed close to the safety of the porches of the frame homes lining the street on either side of the bar. My wife and I feed a black male stray who lives in and around the law office in a former gas station on the corner. His name is Charlie and he's feline HIV positive and a bit of a loner, so we leave him where he is. In July Charlie had a nasty infection on his cheek, so we made an appointment for him. When I went to get him he was no where to be found, but I heard a plaintive mewing coming out from one of the porches. Soon the grey and white tabby came out crying and dragging her right front leg. It was ripped open from paw to elbow. It didn't look good. I had the appointment, so I scooped her up and took her to the vet. I thought she'd probably have to be put down, but the vet said nothing was broken. My wife named her Annie for the street, and I took her to my studio to convalesce. She's now, six months later, spry, playful and a loving lap cat despite the loss of the use of her front right leg.
I've volunteered at a local SPCA by offering to walk the dogs and to socialize with cats. I don't get attached easily and I wasn't looking to adopt at all when Anna has arrived in the free-roaming cat room.
Anna is a very large gray tuxedo 8 year old female that hid in the "holed box" ledge near the ceiling in that room. I happen to be very wary of her size and be very cautious to not upset her when I treat each cat a treat. They nicknamed her the queen because of her size and her quick reprimand with other cats.
Anna's box is right above me sitting on the bench and I've treated her like any other cat. She came down slowly to began to rub herself on the bench and myself with her headbutting which surprised me. I thought she was a shy cat, but she just wanted to be left alone by certain people. One day, a staff member asked me if I could assist in weighing Anna because staff couldn't do so at all before. I then found out that she rarely came down from her box ledge for anyone, except me and perhaps another volunteer. I knew immediately that she is a special cat for us. I insisted to my husband to meet her, and on that day, we did my routine to the cats. She came down like clockwork and came across our laps to lay down and purred!
He fell in love with her immediately and cautioned me that she may get adopted before we could. The adoption fee isn't the issue, its the pet deposit included. One agonizing month and enough money later, I've discovered that she actually never came down from that ledge at ALL for anyone since. I like to believe that she had purposely reserved herself for us to have enough time to get her home finally. And that day we came for her? She was down waiting for us. She's still a queen in our home and I'm completely honored and proud to be her human!