A tough cookie with a tender middle, two-year-old cat Graham, waited patiently for a friend to count on – and soon his patience paid off. It was early September when Manhattan resident, Layla, met her new roommate in the cattery at the ASPCA® Adoption Center.
The orange love bug, formerly known as Monroe, first arrived at the ASPCA® in rough shape. He was rescued as a stray wandering the outer borough streets of the Bronx and suffering from a head wound. Veterinarians at the ASPCA®'s Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital performed surgery to fix the wound, which was likely self-inflicted from excessive scratching. But even after a speedy recovery, this brave cat still struggled with skin allergies that required a hypoallergenic diet.
Graham's special needs were hardly a deterrent for Layla, who, on first meeting, thought he was very special indeed. "He is seriously the best cat!' she says. "He loves belly rubs and playing fetch with his little toy mouse. And now he likes to sleep with his head on my stomach or in the crook of my arm." Though he came from the streets, Graham is a lap cat by nature and, according to his mama, has the biggest purr for a tiny body. And his adventurer's spirit still thrives—after days spent trying to open a closet door in his new home, he finally succeeded. "He got stuck in the storage area above my clothes," Layla describes. "When I came to get him, he jumped on my shoulder and rode around for awhile."
Finally this special cat has found a shoulder to lean on, and Layla, for her part, has found a loving companion. "I'm so grateful to the ASPCA® for taking such good care of him for eight months," she says, "so I had a chance to find him."
Nearly three months to the day after flamenco dancer and instructor JoDe lost her beloved kitty companion, Frank, she met a black-and-white "tuxedo girl" named Ruthie. The two-year-old cat, now known as Sammi, was dozing in her kitty condo at the ASPCA®, when JoDe arrived.
"I met a lot of adorable cats that day," says JoDe. "And I wanted to take them all home!" But something about the wee Sammi won her heart, and it was a no-brainer for the dancing queen. JoDe brought the sweet-faced feline home.
As summer ended, Sammi had completely adjusted to her new home. "She loves the whole apartment!" JoDe enthuses. "She loves playing with paper bags and empty paper towel rolls, but the red light pointer is her favorite run- wild toy!" Clearly this cat isn't lacking in personality or communication skills. She knows how to use her feline wiles to get attention and will chirp for treats. JoDe says, "She greets me at the door, loves to bite my boyfriend and squeaks when she's hungry."
Though Sammi will never take dear Frank's place in JoDe's heart, she means so much to her. This grateful pet parent sums it up with three simple words: "I love her!"
When Caresse first encountered Bud at the shelter, she knew in an instant he was the kitty for her. "He took to my sister and me right away, rubbing up against us and purring," recalls Caresse. "You could tell he really needed some attention and someone to play with!"
Caresse describes Bud's homecoming as quite the trip. "He was not happy to be in the cat carrier, so he decided to do something about it—he chewed his way right out! Luckily we drove instead of taking the train. As soon as he got out and could sit on our laps, he chilled out, started purring and remained quite content!"
These days, Caresse and Bud are the happiest of housemates. Caresse tells us, "He has claimed my room as 'his' room and that is okay with me. Bud has a great personality and I love every inch of him!"
Working with animals requires patience and compassion, but if Tulip—a sassy black-and-white cat—could talk, she might say the same is true for people. This four-year-old feline arrived at the shelter and got to know ASPCA® staff members very well when she was fostered in an office on the fifth floor of the ASPCA®'s headquarters in Manhattan.
As much as the fifth floor crew loved their finicky mascot, they desperately wanted to find her a real home. Staff members talked up Tulip to whoever would listen, and one such effort online proved golden. Patrick, Vice President of the ASPCA®'s Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital, posted a status update about Tulip on Facebook, which linked to a video of the cat in her habitat. Patrick's friend, Stacy, saw the video and was smitten.
"There was something about her that just seemed so right," says Stacy. "I'd been considering adopting kittens, but I didn't have the time to take off from work to get them acclimated. When I saw Tulip, it dawned on me that an older cat would be perfect."
Stacy drove two hours to the ASPCA® Adoption Center, where she met the tentative Tulip. "She sat in the chair next to me in the waiting area of her office, but she didn't really want to be touched," Stacy recalls. "She kept edging closer to me, and I thought with time she'd be okay. When we got home, she stretched out right next to me on the sofa."
Months later, Tulip is happy as a clam in her new digs. Never one to conceal her emotions, she continues to express herself with a tap of the tail or a swat of the paw. "Tulip's tail is like a separate being—it moves even when she's sound asleep," says Stacy. "I think she uses it as a form of communication—I've even seen her tap along with music!" Perhaps a bit nostalgic for office life and the workaday world, Tulip likes to play "queen of the desk chair," and according to Stacy, will race you for it if she thinks you're about to sit down. "She also likes to help make the bed by sitting on each new layer of bedding," says Stacy. "While Tulip's participation in routine daily tasks can make them more challenging, it also makes them more fun." Stacy adds: "Tulip's a reminder that good things come in unexpected packages. Even though she's a tough cookie, she's really a mushball deep down inside—and I just love her."
Back in January, camerawoman Louisa was working on the film crew of a popular Animal Planet series featuring the work of the ASPCA®'s Humane Law Enforcement (HLE). "It was amazing to film Animal Precinct and show people the harrowing work HLE officers do," Louisa says. "We followed the agents around the five boroughs as they investigated animal cruelty, seized abused animals and arrested perpetrators." One day, while filming at the ASPCA®'s Bergh Memorial Hospital, she walked by a cat with bandaged feet, sitting in his kennel on a cushion. "He gave the biggest meow I'd ever heard," she says, recalling her first meeting with Chatterbox, a stray who'd been found in the Bronx, unable to walk on his burned footpads.
While healing in the hands of ASPCA® veterinarians, it became clear how this kitty got his name. "The vet techs informed me that Chatterbox meowed this special way when he saw me," Louisa admits. "Apparently, I was adopted!"
Though this little survivor now goes by the more dignified moniker of Alfie, his vocal abilities remain in good use. "If Alfie can't find me, he yowls very loudly until I find him," Louisa tells us. "And when he travels in the car with me he sings, yowling joyfully at everything he sees."
She remembers the filming of Animal Precinct as a tough job, but the benefits far outweighed the pain. "Not only did we help make people aware that they can help animals who've suffered, but I met Alfie, an amazing character who completely enriches my life. He's just gorgeous and continues to sing—rather loudly—the praises of his happy life!"
When Maria set out to find a companion for her reserved male kitty, Honey, she never expected to meet such a sweet-faced feline as Natalia. Natalia boasts more than just a pretty face and a pleasant demeanor—she's a top- notch companion for humans and fellow kitties alike. The petite, grey cat arrived at the shelter and shortly thereafter, her future pet parent came calling.
"She has been a blessing in my life, along with Honey, whom I adopted three years earlier," says Maria. The grateful pet parent eventually renamed the 3-year-old charmer Goosie, and she was delighted to watch her settle seamlessly into her new home.
"When she first arrived, Goosie was curious and eating voraciously," reports Maria. She also wasted no time getting comfortable, and even implemented a strict schedule of afternoon naps on the edge of Maria's couch.
But this little kitty is no lazy bones. A big fan of playtime, Goosie, the extrovert, has even helped bring quiet Honey out of his shell. "They get along so well! Even though Honey's a little bit shy, Goosie always nudges him out of bed to play," Maria notes. And she adds, "I hope there will be many more cats who are as fortunate and well-loved."
In late September, Nigel visited the ASPCA® Adoption Center with his girlfriend, Betsy. Nigel had never lived with a cat before, but his girlfriend, a lifelong pet lover, was eager to help him find a new friend for his tiny New York apartment.
When he met Georgiana, a small, one-year-old Tabby cat, he wasn't quite convinced. "I was looking for an active, personable cat; someone who wouldn't be shy to speak her mind," Nigel says. "Georgy was shy when we first met her and not terribly talkative—she looked like she'd spent some rough time on the streets before she found her way to the ASPCA®."
But Betsy was drawn to Georgy, so Nigel was more than happy to give the cat a new home. "After spending the first day in seclusion under my couch, Georgy eventually sprang out of her shell!" Nigel enthuses. "Now she's always ready for an invigorating chase after her mouse toys and has become ruler of the house."
Recognizing a good thing when she hears it, Georgy promptly skips over whenever her new pet parent calls her name. "When I'm sitting at my desk, she will stop by, politely tap me on the leg and ask for some attention," says Nigel. "If I'm too busy, she's happy to climb on my shoulder or sit on the desk to keep me company."
Like the rest of her personality, Georgy's curiosity has also grown in recent months. "Closets are a great mystery to be unlocked," Nigel explains. "And staring contests with balcony pigeons are also a regular pastime." "Our Georgy has really become the life of the party," he adds. "But that never prevents a good nap here and there!"
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