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My Crazy GIzmo Girl

When I first moved to Arkansas from Pennsylvania my boyfriend promised me that (as soon as possible) we would get a cat. This happened a lot earlier than expected, as we soon took in a stray who exploded into kittens a month later. After becoming attached, a "lose the cats or leave" ultimatum from the landlord, moving to a more pet-friendly location, and giving up all but two of our fur babies we decided there would be no more cats.

Some time later we found ourselves in one of the more rural towns nearby, picking up a car (yes, a car) his brother asked us to babysit while he was away for a few months. It was dark, but in the headlights my boyfriend noticed that there was a tiny kitten hiding in a wooden crate nearby. We coaxed her out so we could get a look at her, and though we felt there was not much we could do we decided to come back at a later time to check on her.

We were getting ready to leave when I noticed that the kitten had moved herself and was now sitting in front of the car's tire. Not wanting the poor thing to get run over, I picked her up - she instantly curled up against my chest and started to purr the strongest, roughest sounding purr I had ever heard. My boyfriend looked at me and said something like "We're taking her home, huh."

Her first vet trip was the next day, where he told us she seemed to be about two months old - with fleas, ticks, worms, and a bad upper respiratory infection. We believe now that we may have found her just in time. She received shots, medicine, and was cleared to go home with us.

Today Gizmo is our eternal kitten, always playing and chasing her two big sisters around our apartment. She loves us, and she makes sure that we know it. It's truly amazing what a difference that a little care and a lot of love can make in an animals' life.

Searcy, AR

Dump Cat to Grand Dame

Meet Bettie (left, pictured with another rescue, Listra). Named after Bettie Page, for the black "bangs", Bettie was found at a local landfill site, starved, and had been taken in by a local vet. She appeared to have been hurt - she had many broken teeth, and tremors in all her limbs. No one is sure how long she'd been at the dump, but she seemed elderly even then. My mother-in-law had in a short time lost her husband, her dog, and her teenage Siamese, Barney. She was an elderly lady mostly on her own, and she needed a friend. A trip to town led to a stop at the vet for my own pets' needs, where Bettie insisted on attention from my in-law the second we walked in the door. Her broken teeth had been drawn, but the tremors were permanent - Bettie would need a special soft diet and gentle handling. The two elderly ladies made instant friends, and Bettie went home with my mother-in-law that afternoon, with the gleeful blessing of the entire veterinary clinic. Bettie lived with my MIL for over a year, keeping each other company, until my in-law moved to nurse-assisted living, then Bettie came to live with my family and our assorted rescues. Bettie marched in our door like she owned the place. She picked out the biggest fluffiest bed, took over the largest of the litter pans, hissed at the dog, and basically installed herself as "senior cat in charge". Our 3 cats, dog and rabbit fell in line, just as Bettie expected them to. 3 years on, our vet pegs her age at somewhere "between petrified wood and Methuselah", and she's got a little hitch in her get-along, but she's still grand Dame of this house, and everyone in it knows it. My in-law adores having a digital photo frame *packed* with pictures of Bettie snuggling with her 4 teenage grandsons in her suite, she says it makes it feel like home <3

Parry Sound, ON, Canada

It takes a villiage

When I was a kitten my family was on the streets. My mom was somewhat tame but my siblings and I were wild. A kind lady saw my mom and followed her to find us. She took all 5 of us in her home even though she already had 4 other cats. She knew what kind of life we would have if we stayed on the streets. She showed us that humans are good and with her help we became less scared. She feed and sheltered us and when we were old enough she contacted a local no-kill shelter who helped us all have the medical attention we needed. She found good homes for my mom and siblings but for some reason I was the last one to find a home. She was about to move away and worried about me. Luckily the no-kill shelter had an open spot and I went to live there but I didn't have to stay long. Two days later my forever human mommy came and took me to my forever home. Her nieces' named me Willy Wonka. Everyone calls me Willy. I spend the day following her around, sleeping and watching the animals from the backyard window. One day I am gong to get that squirrel. I am very happy. I would be even happier if someone could convince my human mommy to give me treats all day long.

Stanley, VA

Lucky Lou

So my friend and I were out for dinner when she received a telephone call from her husband saying to come home. They had taken their boat out of storage and they had castaways on board. I had just gotten a female cat (Haleigh Marie) from a farm and asked my friend if I could have one of the kittens for Haleigh to have a sister. She agreed. I went home with her and her husband had gotten all the kittens out of the boat and put them in a tub. I kept looking for the perfect sister for Haleigh and I finally made my choice. I scooped the kitten out of the tub and put her inside by sweatshirt to keep her warm. Everyone kept asking which kitten I chose and where she was.... I would just point to my zipper. I decided to name her Lucky Lou since all her siblings went to live outside on a farm and Lucky Lou was "lucky" enough to come home with me. Well I tried to keep tabs on Lucky's siblings but with them living outside they were not as "lucky" as Lucky Lou. Some were killed by farm equipment, others were killed by other animals and some did not survive the Spring weather. Lucky has turned into quite the little princess. She loves me to carry her around the house like a baby and pat her butt. She snuggles under the covers with me for a while and eventually jumps off the bed but always comes back because when I wake up she is right by my side. Lucky does not like storms and as soon as she hears thunder she is off and running to hide under my bed. I put some food and water under my bed for her until the storms pass. Lucky loves to chase laser pointers and Christmas is her favorite time of year. She loves to lay underneath the Christmas tree and chew the corners of all the presents. So as you can see Lucky Lou is one "lucky" little girl....

Kimberly Hansen
Clinton, IA

Panda & Mosby

6 years ago we found Mosby (bigger cat) during a thunderstorm, underneath a car, seemingly lost from his family. We took him in, named him after a character on our favorite show How I Met Your Mother, and he's been apart of our forever family ever since. Panda (smaller cat) was adopted at the Anti-Cruelty Society because it felt right to give Mosby a sibling. She was one of three other kittens and the smallest of the bunch. She has been a bundle of joy for our family and her brother. Giving these two cats a forever family is the best decision we've ever made!

T. & C. & O.
Chicago, IL


I had delivered newspapers in the country for sometime and had always seen barn cats, that would run away from me. What was even stranger, was that two weeks prior, I dreamt I found a kitten. On Oct. 17th, 2013, I was finishing the last paper and noticed something in my headlights - a small cat. I had never seen one this small out here, so I went to investigate. He ran across the road and hid behind a tree. I got out and sweetly talked to him and he bolted over to me, and started purring and rubbing against me. As I picked him, I could feel every bone in his body and he was very cold. I quickly got him into my car to warm him up, and the poor thing was so hungry, he grabbed a wrapped up granola bar and began trying to rip it open. I knocked on a few doors, but no one knew anything. I set him down to see if he'd run to where he lived, but instead he sat on my shoes, looked up at me and cried. I said "Don't worry, I'm not leaving you here". I drove home with him in my arms, while singing "You Are My Sunshine", as he purred and snuggled in. I knew in my heart that he was staying with me. Thankfully, he did not have any injuries or fleas, or diseases, and besides being so incredibly hungry, was a happy little man.

(Turns out, someone dumped him and his sister out there, as one of my customers found a little female, same age and on the same day. She stayed with them!)

Mikko was 5 months old then and is now almost 3 years old and is the sweetest cat anyone could ever imagine having. He is my shadow, and my little lovebug. He greets me everytime I come home. I simply cannot imagine life without him. I promised him where I go, he will go.

I thought I had rescued him - turns out, he rescued me.

Saint Paul, MN

Trouve means Found!

For several years I rented a small apartment on a farm. The farm owner left a lot to be desired in terms of animal care. My studio apartment was right next to his barn, where feral barn cats lived (and, sadly, died). I helped when I could but with my own animals I couldn't take on the task of caring for the whole feral colony.

One afternoon I heard meowing from his barn. I tried to ignore it but couldn't. I went looking and found a Siamese-colored kitten sitting in a puddle, screaming on the top of her lungs! Sadly, usually by the time one of the feral kittens would let a human approach, the kitten was too far gone to survive. The most I could do in those cases was to give them a peaceful end. But this kitten was different -- her problem was her legs, not her overall health. She couldn't walk well so presumably her family abandoned her.

I took her inside expecting the worst. My wonderful vet gave me lessons on bottle feeding, and assisted me with daily weigh-ins and check-ups. They only charged me when I had an actual procedure done. I wouldn't give her a name, wanting to minimize the hurt if she didn't make it. The vet listed her name as FOUND. And it was touch and go for a while. But she had a robust appetite and very healthy lungs, and a fighting spirit. It took over two weeks to get her over the one-pound mark, and from then on she grew and improved in leaps and bounds. And soon she was walking, leaping and running!

She is my little darling, and loved by my other cats too. Her name is Trouve which is "found" in French!

Josie O.
Yelm, WA

Bitty Pittie Rescue

I had not realized it until after we had brought Jade home, that it was a month to the day that we lost our youngest dog, Sami at 2 years old. Sami was the only dog out of our 3 that got out of our yard and was struck by a car, crossing the rainbow bridge instantly. We were heartbroken, and the other dogs were too.

It was a hard decision to adopt another dog so soon. A puppy would be too much with myself in school and the military. My boyfriend wanted an already trained dog, about the same size as our current dogs (55-65lbs) and high energy. I wanted a slightly smaller dog, high energy, and I didn't care about taking the time to train a younger dog because of our cat.

I looked at several rescues and shelters until I found a pit-mix named Lady, and when I read her story, my heart shattered. She was six years old, and an owner surrender. Her owner had become bedridden, and the daughter brought her in. They listed her as crate/house trained and good with cats. I had to go meet her. She was so shy & scared in the room, but gave me all kinds of sweet kisses. She perked up on the leash and loved the kids that were visiting the shelter while I was there too. Her heart was just too big to be kept there a minute longer.

We were supposed to come back and get her a couple of days after meeting her, but I couldn't stand to wait that long. We brought her home that night. Now she runs wild outside, playing as if she were 6 months old instead of 6 years, and is the calmest cuddle-bug inside the house. We renamed her to Jade, for the beautiful gem that she is.

Oklahoma City, OK

My gift from God, an answer to a prayer

When I moved into my apartment, my landlady told me NO PETS. We live at the end of a dirt road where people dump their unwanted pets. I had been very depressed and asked God for a pet. Soon, a black-looking, skinny cat started coming around. I started feeding him. He eventually responded to my attempts to lure him to me. One day, I was singing a made-up song about loving kitty cats, and he bumped his head on my hand. Come to find out, he was really dark brown and a very rare Havana Brown breed! I had just seen a show on Animal Planet about Havana Browns. I called him "Havana" and he responded immediately, so, that's his name! He is God's answer to me. I asked my landlady again and she said I could keep him! I am one happy lady with my rare Gift From God.

Athens, GA

Kill shelter rescue

I was moving out of my parents house and going to be alone for the first time. The day I moved into my apartment my Mom took me to a local kill shelter in town to adopt a cat. I looked at all the cats and one white and black cat caught my eye. She was the only white and black in the room. She sat in the back of the cage all by herself and did not meow or carry on. She looked terrified. I picked her up and she literally shook in fear but managed a small quiet purr. She was only 5 months old and I decided I'd adopt her. We could not take her out of the room to pay for her. They made us put her back in her cage and go upfront to pay. Then go back and get her from her cage. I had forgotten which cage was she was in. I knew she was the only white and black in the room. I stood at the door of the cat room and said' "OKAY where are you?" All of a sudden a little white paw came out and waved. I walked over to the waving paw and their she was my white and black newly adopted cat. I know in my heart she was going, "here I am, I am here. That was 16 years ago and we are still together. .

Lisa Tomlin
Huntington, WV
Festival Pet Umbrella
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