One day in late 2004 I strolled into a nice-looking garden that turned out to have an office in it. By early 2005, the boss had decided that the office could have a cat and the person I’ll call ‘Primary Human’ volunteered to take me to the vet for shots and whatever else I needed. That was on Friday and she thought it wouldn’t be a good idea to take me back to the office over the weekend after I’d had shots and blood tests and I can’t remember what else, so she took me home with her. By Monday, she was mine. She negotiated with the owner of our house to take the ‘no pets’ clause out of the lease and I had a home. Then I needed a name. As a good-looking chocolate-colored guy, I needed a chocolate name. There’s a brand of Australian chocolate cookies called TimTams that are named after the horse that won the 1958 Kentucky Derby. So this Thai cat was named TimTam, after an American race horse, by way of Australian cookies. My house soon came to be known as ‘Villa TimTam’. And the good life began. Back in the day, I was a champion jumper – I had to be, so that I could sit on the highest place in every room to be sure that things were being done the way I wanted them. And when they weren’t, I would let Primary Human and Ms. Diamond know, in complete sentences and paragraphs, in purrfect English and Thai – totally bilingual. It didn’t take me long to train Ms. Diamond, who kept my house clean and would stay with me when Primary Human had to travel. The first time Primary Human came back from a trip, Ms. Diamond told her “Now I know who the boss is around here. And it isn’t you.” Miracles were my specialty, too. People who didn’t like cats liked me. Of course. A few years ago, I had a bad reaction to a new medication and had a real crisis – in a coma and on a respirator. Pulled off my biggest miracle and came out of it in a couple of days. Primary Human knew that every day from the day I came home from the hospital was a gift. It was great. She and Ms. Diamond both jumped to do whatever I wanted whenever I made a move or a sound. The good life rolled on again. Last year, something started going wrong. Primary Human took me to lots of doctors – I got seriously tired of that – tried everything and nothing worked. By the beginning of 2020, it was getting hard for me to jump up on the bed, so Primary Human started sleeping on the couch. When I couldn’t jump up on the couch any more, she made a bed for us on the floor. When it was my time, Primary Human and I were nose to nose – the way we used to sleep when I would put my head on the pillow beside hers – and she was scratching my neck (my favorite thing) and telling me she loved me. I know I was fiercely loved.
A dog was dumped in my neighborhood. It took me 3 days of feeding this dog getting him to trust me to take him home; then i could post him on a Facebook rescue/lost page to try to help this poor guy. A girl answered my ad by personal message. Last month her dog died, and the house hasn't been the same, so she and her dad wanted to travel 1 1/2 hours away come see the dog. They did. This dog loved them as they loved him. I wanted to share this story because of the before and after pictures. The happiness in this dog's face, body; everything. These people were the best people I could give this dog to.
This is in reference to the recent post by the couple from College Place , WA. A few weeks ago we adopted a rescued adult female kitty who looks identical to their Gracie. Her name is ...wait for it...Gracie Jane! Their personalities seem very similar, we know all about the love bites. Gracie Jane has transformed from the calm mellow adult we met in foster care to an extremely active kitten who is just beginning to explore her world. We are very happy to be providing the kittenhood she never had. We were blown away by the Gray Potato post and hope her parents see our reaction!
This story begins long long ago, in December of 1999. I was at the local Humane Society of Broward County looking for a kitten. I looked in every window, trying to find the one that I would connect with to bring home. Then, I saw her. A little black and white fluffball in the corner. I wrote her name down on a card (I have forgotten what name they gave her there) and handed it to the woman so that they could bring her to me in a private room to see if we meshed. This little fluffball and I bonded immediately. I did the necessary paperwork and brought her home. I named her Momo. I didn't really know what to expect since she was my first real pet as an adult, a being I would be responsible for. She was a mischievous kitten, like all of them are, always getting into something. Knocking things off of shelves, unrolling toilet paper, getting a severe case of the zoomies at 2am. She was a snuggler and loved to sit next to me. She was wary of new people for about 5 minutes, but then would weave around their legs, purring and asking to be pet. She also really liked people-foods, but her favorites were black beans, chips and coffee! If you didn't watch your coffee cup, she would sneak in and dip her paw in it and lick the coffee. She was with me through heartbreaks, triumphs, moves, career changes; all of life's highs and lows. If I was sad, she would come and sit on my leg or chest until I stopped crying. If I was happy and excited, she would zip around like she was excited, too. She was the best friend I never knew I needed and was blessed to have. She stayed with me for TWENTY AND A HALF YEARS. My beautiful Momo crossed the rainbow bridge on April 30,2020 and while it is still very raw and painful, I have two decades worth of memories to hold in my heart. I can only hope everyone finds "their Momo" in a pet.
I volunteer in a shelter here in AZ. I did not want a cat, but there was a cat, 13 years old and nobody was interested in her. So one Sunday after church I said to my husband, "lets go and get Jazz and bring her home." We did and at first we fostered her, but a couple years later we adopted her. She had been adopted by a man with a teenager and I told my husband I had the feeling that this cat would be brought back, and she was. When she first came into our home, she cried a LOT, but we were able to calm her down in time. She insisted on using the dining room for her potty, and after trying to figure out what to do (I did not want to take her back to the shelter), we put a cat toilet in the dining room which she used faithfully. She had a problem with her legs; for some reason her legs wanted to splay when she ate in the kitchen, so we took her to the vet, who said unfortunately her hips were not developed right. We kept her and she lived to be 18 1/2 years old. I was always happy that we gave Jazz a home, she was a wonderful cat. I still miss her.
In the fall of 2011, we decided to foster cats. What led to this decision is complicated, but at the heart of fostering remains a compassionate desire to help the world in some small way. So we answered an ad for a foster cat family—thinking there would be a month or more of some application process. Instead, within two days we had five kittens through Feral Fixers. The kittens were about 6 weeks old, and my daughter Nora was 8 years old and my son Toby was 6 years old at that time. We were drawn into the process immediately, and with a quick commentary of what to expect at this age and some food, litter, cat toys, and cat beds, we started naming the new babies: Andy, Callie, Jet, Lucy, and Pablo. When we weren’t at school or doing homework, we were playing with kittens. Sometimes we played with kittens while doing homework. As the kittens grew, we took pictures and sent personality descriptions to try to get the kittens adopted. However, we were warned not to do too much until after the kittens had their neuter/spay surgery around 10-12 weeks of age. When our foster coordinator came to our house to pick them up for surgery, we said goodbye to the kittens. Unfortunately, Pablo did not survive the surgery due to health issues we could not have known about in advance. There is so much we don't know about our fosters, but we do the best we can. Lucy was the first to find a forever home, followed quickly by Jet and Andy. Callie, an adorable tabby, was sweet but shyer than the rest. When any cat is shy, the challenge to get them adopted is compounded. She would hide from visitors, even though she was always playful with us. So Callie became our first foster failure, which we call our foster triumph. Nora wished for Callie for Christmas, and Santa delivered. From that point, we moved on from kittens to older cats. We worked with truly feral cats, ones that were hard to catch and did not want to be touched. We had one that had to stay in the cage and growled at us for weeks before being neutered and released back outside. Despite dealing with ear mites, infections, and even escapees (one cat escaped outside, returning a week later to our back door), the cats brought joy to our home, so we kept fostering. After five years, we had fostered over 130 cats and kittens. By the time we hit #133, we felt another foster triumph approaching. Few cats were allowed to walk around our house, especially ones that had not had their shots, but Atlas (#133), a sleek black 6-month-old, had already been vetted and was ready for adoption. When he walked around our house like he owned the place, our three female cats did not know what to do. So Toby got Atlas for his 11th birthday. As our schedules changed, we had less time to help and adjusted to fostering more in the spring and early summer. With the “kitten showers,” we would start fostering in March or April until June. It became our foster cycle, helping in what ways we could, even if it meant waking up at 5 in the morning before our days started. Though difficult in many ways, fostering is rewarding work, and even though the cats come and go, we love each cat and kitten for the individual personalities. Many ask how we can foster because it might be so hard to give the cats up once we get to know them, but with four of our own cats, we cannot adopt anymore. Yet there are kittens that stand out from the rest and pry at our heart, and when they knead us, we realize we truly need them. Almost two years ago, we had the pleasure of meeting five older kittens, one tortie, and the rest with the same grey tabby coloring, clearly four brothers. A couple weeks later, we got two more from the same colony, and we found ourselves with a troop of cat cousins. This was an unusual group from the start, because no matter our schedule, we had never previously started fostering over the summer, but these kittens came to us on June 30, 2018. They still came and went fast. People fell in love with Post, Herald, Winston, Gazette—and four of the kittens were off to their forever homes, and we were left with three: Winona, York, and Onion (aka “Chex”). They climbed into our lives, becoming like our own cats, breaking free from the kitten room and wandering our house. They dashed through the house and would curl up with us when they finally crashed. They made acquaintance with our own cats, and every one of us (human and cat) formed a bond with the three kittens. When it comes to sanity and inviting guests over, we do understand how seven cats seems excessive. Winona, York, and Chex stayed with us for six months, and every day was an exhausting joy. In January, 2019, York, Chex, and Winona went together to a kind woman who adopted some of the best cats we have ever known and, thankfully, kept the three together. We miss them, but are grateful they went to such a loving home. Like all good things, the challenge comes in letting go, because the cats do go. When fostering so many cats, we can never know where they all will end up, and adoptions do not always work out. We help our feline friends the best we can and do all in our capacity to give them a loving forever home, which rewards us because we get to work with amazing cats, seeing so much personality, so much variety, and we get to learn and grow from the experiences, which surprises people when we tell them, “We’ve fostered over 200 cats.” We’ve added each cat carefully to a list on our “kitten room” wall, and this mom makes 200: our first pregnant mom, Weaver, had a litter of five adorable, playful babies in the safety of our garage. In fact, we have now fostered 208 cats. This does not seem very remarkable to some, as there have been over 11,000 cats that have been neutered/spayed through the Feral Fixers organization. But this is a personal achievement for us. We are grateful for the 208 foster cats that we have had the good fortune to help. We are grateful to the moms because—while it’s not always easy, they make it easier on us. We are grateful that, through Feral Fixers, we can give back to cats and people alike. We have met some wonderful felines, and of course, some wonderful fellow volunteers. We are grateful to them because, in today’s world, compassion remains at the core of all the work we do.
A couple months after my faithful companion of 15 years passed away, a very broken and busted stray showed up at a friend's salvage yard on the outskirts of town. He was hiding under a junk car, injured and unapproachable. I brought food and water daily and it would be gone the next morning. But he would only growl and try to back away if I got close. I could see that he had bees all over his face and cuts and scratches across his chest and front legs. After about 10 days, we had a severe storm with massive thunder and lightning all night. When I returned the next day, he was gone from his shelter spot. After a while, I spotted him. He was making his way slowly alongside an old building, badly hobbled. Every time I would look toward him, he would turn away and move in the opposite direction. When I looked away, he would start to get closer. This went on for a couple hours. I kept finding things to do while keeping a stealth eye on him. Eventually, I sat down on a bench and did not look in his direction, although I could see him slowly approaching out of the corner of my eye. I continued looking away, turning my head completely away from him. Then I felt something heavy on my knee. I looked down and he was resting his head on my knee, looking up at me. He was ready to come along. The plan was to find him help. I had just lost my dog of 15 years and was not ready for another. But I was met with dead ends. He was just too damaged. Too broken. Too difficult to find someone to take him. He would have to be put down, is what I was told. That is when I decided to adopt him myself and took him to our vet. After major surgery and lots of physical therapy, he was running faster than any other dog at the park and jumping and playing Frisbee with amazing accuracy. He had to have his hip joint removed, but that never slowed him down. That was nine years ago. Two years ago, he developed cancer and a malignant lump that grew quickly. It looked like a rough road ahead. Thanks to his vet, Dr. Maryann Johansen, and her dedicated staff, he beat cancer and has been cancer-free since! Back when I first dropped him off to undergo his initial surgeries, I got home and turned on the television. Buster Posey was being interviewed about his recent injury on ESPN. "Buster", I thought. Very appropriate. After all, he was all busted up. I named him Buster. He has spent every day of the last nine years proving to be the best, smartest, most athletic and most well-behaved K9 companion I could ever ask for.
A musician friend of mine posted on Facebook that he was losing his house (after 25 years) to foreclosure. Not only that, but he was leaving the state as his mother had terminal cancer and he wanted to spend time with her. That left nowhere for Mimi to go. Facebook friends told him not to give her to a shelter. I had recently (one month prior) lost my cat (inherited when my Dad passed away) to the rainbow bridge, and was not looking for another cat just yet. However, I couldn't imagine this 6 yr old girl going to a shelter. So, sight unseen, my friend and I drove over 100 miles one way to pick up a cat I had never met. It's been a little over a year now and she's settling in quite nicely. Still a [feisty] "scaredy-cat" but now she sleeps with me, sits by me watching TV and constantly begs for treats. She's a keeper!
Two years ago, our vet called us regarding a little dog that had been brought into their office after being abandoned in the neighborhood. He had a microchip but when they had called it and left messages, there was no return call. Due to the listing on the chip, we all knew his name was Barney and soon, he came to live with our little family. With a DNA test, we found out that Barney was part Chihuaha and part Miniature Poodle - so he's little with attitude! Today, we cannot imagine life without this little dynamo in it.
We lost our Daisy to cancer at only 5 years old. I was devastated. A friend suggested we get two cats: more fun, keep each other company when we're out, etc. We went to five different Humane Society of Michigan locations to find a cat that "reached" my husband. At the the fifth location, he hadn't found one, but I saw a handsome light salmon/buff colored kitty and asked to visit with him. I sat on the floor and he walked back and forth across my lap, purring. The woman helping us said, "Well, I THINK he'll be alright without her, he'll probably cry for a few days.." and a few similar statements. We hadn't realized that there was another kitty in the same cage. My husband said "Well, I guess I'd better see her". They put Annie in his lap, and I swear she batted her eyelashes at him, purred bigger than her petite little body, and he put his arms around her and said "Well, I found MY kitty". We took them home. He'd say "It's time to go to bed now", and she would trot off to bed with him every night. The boy didn't respond to the name they told us, but if we made kissing sounds, he'd come. So he was named "Baciatore" which means "kisser" in Italian; we call him Baci (kiss), and he's a lover. They were both older than we were told, and we lost our Annie after five years at the age of 19. Baci spreads his love and affection between us and has become much more talkative. My husband says he never knew cats had so much personality. We believe they knew they were coming close to the end of their time at the shelter, and we have never regretted bringing home these senior cats. We are wondering whether he would like a feline friend. We're not sure if he's too old or would be jealous; might try fostering first to see how it goes.