Rescue Cats Runners Up

CAT FANCY's Against All Odds contest drew many amazing stories. Here are the ones that didn't fit in the magazine.

Bravery is the defining attribute of our cat, Sugarbush, and it is what led him to us. On a snowy drive home from Sugarbush, Vt., we crossed a steep, treacherous mountain pass, struggling to stay on the road in the dismal weather. Suddenly, ahead of us we spied a small lump of snow that started to move. Much to our alarm, that lump of snow was an animal that bravely and determinedly approached our truck head-on and zipped underneath! We immediately stopped to investigate and discovered a shivering animal vaguely resembling a cat. Another driver stopped to help, and told us unwanted pets are frequently abandoned on this desolate stretch of road. With night fast approaching, we couldn’t leave this creature to perish in the road. After a brief deliberation, we decided to take the cat home to Boston – along with our own cat in the truck. Sugarbush didn’t make a peep during the difficult journey in the snow. We made it home safely, and, needless to say, so did he. He really knew what he was doing the day he hitchhiked a ride with us!
Sandra Curro and Stephen Sala
Belmont, Mass.

Our rescue story begins in the backyard of our South Florida home. Our 95-pound female Doberman, Princesse, was out for her morning patrol when I noticed her clawing and probing the foliage at the base of our Aureca palm. Wondering what she could be up to, I walked over to her. Much to my shock, she emerged from the bushes with a tiny kitten clamped gingerly within her massive canines. I immediately ordered her to drop the tiny creature and scooped the kitten up from the sand. As I dusted her off I noticed that her eyes were barely open, and it was obvious she couldn’t have been more than 2 weeks old. My husband quickly searched the shrubs for the rest of the litter, but to no avail. At this point, we were convinced that she had been abandoned and I was to be her surrogate mother. Over the next few weeks, I bottle fed her, and I’m thrilled to say that now, at 8 months old, she’s been spayed and vaccinated and is a new member of our family. We have had many cats over the years, but I have to say Dumpling is the most affectionate and loving cat every born. And Princesse adores here – they are the best of friends!
Mrs. Dany Manzino
Boca Raton, Fla.

Tiger and Fluff
On a blazing hot day in mid-June of 2010, my neighbor, Bob, called and asked me to come by. I found Bob sitting on his front steps. When he moved his leg he revealed a small, gray spotted kitten (Tiger) who immediately hissed at me. Bob told me he found Tiger hanging halfway off of his roof and showed me where. Suddenly, I heard quiet mewing – there was another kitten up there, between the baking-hot layers of the roof! Bob had to lift off the top layer of his roof, but finally he pulled out a tiny fluffy kitten, light grey with a pattern of white swirls on his sides and tummy, quickly named Fluff.  Tiger and Fluff were only 2 ½ to 3 weeks old and I initially fed them with a syringe until they could lap their kitten milk. Our 2-year-old yellow tom, Erasmus (a former stray himself), helped by nannying the little ones, licking them to stimulate excretion and grooming and fussing over them like he was their momma. Now these formerly feral babies are big, beautiful and loving, happy spoiled housecats!
Katy Sozaeva
Athens, Ga.

On Monday, June 7, 2010, my husband started his day like any typical Monday morning by jumping in his work truck, a Dodge Dakota, and speeding off to his first lawn maintenance job for the day. He seemed to remember hearing some strange noises during the day but didn’t give it another thought. At the end of the day when he parked the truck, he distinctly heard the meow of a kitten and began to search around.  In the back of the work truck, lying on a bed of old grass clippings was a small black and white kitten! Because there were no tame cats in the area, we knew immediately we had to take the kitten home and feed it. It must have been riding around in the back of the truck on those grass clippings all day! We estimated him to be around 2 to 3 days old and having been born over the previous weekend. We’ll never know if Dakota was abandoned by his mother in the back of that truck or if my husband jumped in the truck and sped away while the mother cat was in the process of moving the kittens, but today, Dakota is a healthy 7-month-old indoor kitten that is a delightful playmate to our two Pugs.
Crystal and Tim Robertson
McLeansville, N.C.

While working in my blacksmith shop on a cold and drizzly day, what sounded like a small bird turned out to be a tiny kitten. When I approached it, I noticed that its front right leg was missing. The wound was open and infected. I tried to pick it up, but it hid among the jumble of equipment. During the next few hours, I called several veterinarians, and the tiny kitten reappeared and ate an offering of sardines. The veterinarians all advised euthanasia and the local shelter could offer no help. The kitten, however, led me to believe that she was a survivor, asking for help with grit and gumption. Convincing my local veterinarian to operate, we discovered what we thought was the kitten’s elbow was actually the shoulder, which was very infected; something had taken the leg off completely. The vet said this was the smallest animal — less than a pound – that they had done this type of operation on. They were highly doubtful that she would survive, but survive she did! Today, Gritty is 6 months old and has totally won my heart.
Michael McCarthy
Canajoharie, N.Y.

This is Jacob. About nine months ago, someone found him on the side of the road and brought him to the shelter where I work. He was only 10 weeks old and one of the sweetest, happiest kittens I have ever come across.

Jacob has a crushed spinal cord. He drags his one leg, and cannot control his urine or bowel movements. I knew what his fate would be if left at the shelter, especially without getting a proper diagnosis. He purred every time he saw me, and he nestled into my arms every time I picked him up. It never even occurred to me to have him euthanized, and I promised him that I would do everything I could to make sure he was taken care of.  

It took me some time to get used to him. I researched paralyzed cats on the Internet and found a man in Malaysia that had one and kept him in a diaper. I started doing that. Jacob doesn’t have the ability to push out all of his feces, so it leaks out little by little. I have to change his diaper every couple of hours. He lives here at my home with a group of other “unadoptable” cats with emotional issues or physical disabilities. None of them need the constant care that Jacob needs. People couldn’t comprehend that I was willing to care for such a high maintenance cat. But once you meet this amazing little boy you are absolutely blown away by how “normal” he is. He loves everyone – people and animals – alike and will be the first to run over to visitors and sit on their feet until they pet him. If they are taking too long, he will reach up and gently pull on their sock or pant leg. He has a purr that you can hear from the next room. He doesn’t know that anything is wrong with him. He runs around (yes, runs…and fast! Though sometimes he looks like a little octopus, the way his dead leg flaps around) and climbs up and down the stairs and plays for hours. It’s not his fault that his body is broken. To me, putting him to sleep because of that would have been such a waste of a great life. I wasn’t willing to let it happen.

I have a wonderful veterinarian that supports my decision to care for Jacob.

Once people meet Jacob, they are so touched by his story and his absolute love for life. People that have only met him for a minute are still talking about him months later. He is a miracle, and although he IS a very high maintenance cat, I will care for him as long as he needs me. I promised him, and he has truly taught me the meaning of unconditional love. I wish everyone could meet him and be touched the way that we have been.
Samantha Friedman
Pequannock, N.J.

Safari was confiscated from a breeder-turned-hoarder in Los Angeles. When this hoarder’s home was investigated, it was found that she had more than 300 animals in a 900-square-foot property. Safari was emaciated, under-socialized, fearful and acted feral at first. She had obtained a trauma to her left eye, and it had been left untreated. She received her enucleation (eye removal) surgery by one of the awesome veterinarians that I work with. Her injured eye was obviously very painful to her. She also had to undergo treatment for a nasty gastrointestinal parasite. Amazingly, she was already spayed, and she was only 6 months old when I rescued her. She is an F1 Cinnamon Spotted Bengal.
We rescued her in August 2010, shortly after her confiscation. It was a mass effort to pull her from California, but with some wonderful collaboration from fellow rescuers who are a part of Bengal Cat Rescue, we were able to get her safely to Arizona. She is gaining weight and turning into a very sweet, loving, and happy Bengal and a wonderful addition to our family.
Annje Hultgren

One October night a year ago, I heard the cat door open around midnight and something eating out of the cat food bowl. After checking to see that Pokey Jones, a ginger tabby that adopted me 10 years ago, was fast asleep on the bed, I went to investigate but only saw a tail going out the door.

After a week of midnight visits, this stranger decided to stay in the living room, so I made him a bed and provided water, food and a litterbox and finally got a look at him. What a shock when I saw a scrawny Siamese with one eye gone and the other eye badly infected.

My veterinarian said that the cat’s conjunctivitis of the eye could be fixed with the removal of both eyes. He also removed two bad teeth, neutered him and said he would be a great cat with a long life.

Meezer the Siamese now weighs 12 pounds, chases squirrels and Pokey, and lies in the sun (his favorite pastime).

He amazes me with his “radar” and his no-fear attitude, and he is living life to the fullest. I am so glad he found my cat door that night, but how did he do it?
Marsha Brush
Federal Way, Wash.

At the humane society where I work as an animal cruelty investigator, a concerned caller reported hearing a cat crying out from under an abandoned trailer home.

I arrived at the scene and heard the distressed cries growing louder as I rushed toward the home. After slithering under the trailer, my flashlight’s beam shone upon a single black and white cat.  One of her front legs was crushed in the jaws of a steel leg-hold trap. I soothed the cat while attempting to release the device’s powerful grip. When it simply would not open, the only choice was to extricate the cat from under the home with the steel trap still clinging to her leg.

The exhausted feline was rushed to the humane society. The shelter’s medical staff estimated that she’d been trapped under the trailer for three days. Due to the severity of her injuries, there was no choice but to amputate the cat’s mangled limb.

The next morning, I visited the recovering cat (named Fern). When I swung open the cage door, Fern jumped out to greet me. The harrowing ordeal hadn’t dampened her spirit one bit.
Clay Foley
Urbana, Ill.

Sherman Franklin
In the spring of 2009, I was taking a friend’s daughter home just at the start of morning traffic. I live in a small town but was taking a local highway to her home. Just as I turned onto the highway, I could see a tiny orange kitten sitting in the middle of oncoming traffic. Tragically, this kitten was sitting next to his little sibling lying dead in the road. I pulled into the closest drive I could, jumped out, arms flailing to stop traffic. One more car passed over the tiny ball of fur, but missed him. I scooped him up. The dirty, tired and cold kitten nestled up in my shirt. I dropped him off at my veterinarian, took the girl home and came back to see if he was alright.  My vet is awesome – he checked him out and gave him a clean bill of health (and no bill to me), and Sherman Franklin became my newest rescue! He is loveable, gentle and loves playing with a pup that is staying with us for awhile. Sherman sleeps with me, Jersey Rose, BooBoo Kitty, and two dogs, Corky and Wiley.  
Connie Mayo
Boonville, Ind.

At the construction site I was working on last year there are feral cats. The concrete crew told me there was a starving “bag of bones” kitten hiding and crying under their Conex box (a metal tool and storage container about the size of a small trailer). I gave them some dry kitten food and asked that they feed the baby until we could catch it.

About a month later on a quiet Sunday, I caught who I’ve named Conex. We went straight to the vet for a checkup, shots and deworming. Conex was a beautiful apricot color under all the dirt and mud, weighed 4 pounds and was frightened, hungry and really not sure about people and their contraptions.
Now, six months later she’s happy, healthy, weighs 10 pounds, is absolutely beautiful, fixed, full of energy and can’t tell me enough how she loves living here with me and 13-year-old StripeCat.
Lori R. Nichols
Las Vegas

Baby Jay
Baby Jay arrived at my place of employment in the backseat of a car on the back of a rollback from North Carolina. A driver got in the car to pull it off and heard some crying coming from the back. There he found six tiny kittens, their eyes barely open and no momma in sight.

My co-workers and I gathered around and decided to be their family. Baby Jay had found a home in my heart. We spent endless days and nights bottle-feeding, warming, teaching good bathroom skills and socializing them.

Jay is now 8 months old and thriving. I have always been a dog person, and Jay was my first kitten. I am very lucky to have found him, and he has permanent paw prints on my heart.
Karen DeShazo
Falmouth, Va.

Whiteboy was a guardian angel. Our once feral rescue cat got out, and we couldn’t get her back. Soon, a white cat appeared, living in our tree. They bonded and he brought her back to us. Of course, we welcomed him into our lives. His personality was like no other. He won our hearts, hit it off with our other six rescues and even brought us two more kitties in need of rescuing. He enjoyed spending his days outside playing in the woods. His nights in the house were spent in the cat tree, at my side wherever I was or curled up in bed for the night. He was more than a cat; we bonded as friends. He was very social and loved to talk. He even brought home other cats in need of food, and they would eat, then disappear back into the woods. He was more of a rescuer than the rescued. He was one-of-a-kind. He was a young, vibrant cat and gave us so much joy in just one year. Sadly, we lost our guardian angel to cancer recently and miss him deeply.
Shawn and Annette Blackburn
Clinton, Ohio

I found my sweet little Himalayan through She had been the animal control officers’ “pet project.” Chelsea was among about 19 other animals in a hoarder’s home. I’m not sure what brought the animal control officers back into the house once they had cleared it of the animals, but they later found Chelsea hiding inside of a box spring mattress with her brother who had died. The animal control officers felt so bad that they almost missed her, they made it their mission to send Chelsea to the perfect home. When she was found, she was near death, filthy, dehydrated and matted head to toe. After some TLC, nourishment and a good grooming, she came to live with me. Today she is happy and healthy, living with her two brothers, Chazzie and Punkin.
Allie Triggs
Oswego, Ill.

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