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Happiness for Howdy

The following is a guest post by PETA staffer Christine Doré in honor of June, which is “Adopt a Shelter Cat” Month.

Three years ago, I moved into a new condo by myself and instantly felt that I needed an animal companion.

After doing some research and making the commitment to becoming a guardian to a homeless animal, I found a great local animal shelter. After discussing my thoughts and lifestyle with a shelter employee, I was introduced to a sickly 8-year-old tortoiseshell cat with big sad eyes and her daughter, who was a skinny, skittish calico with no fur on her legs (she frequently pulled it out during anxiety attacks).

My heart broke for these gentle, beautiful cats, and something behind their scared, green eyes told me that I had to bring them home to protect and love them for the rest of their lives. Both cats were missing hair on their scabby necks from flea bites, and the tortoiseshell could barely even muster a meow in her defeated state.

The shelter employee explained to me that they had come in together, along with six other cats, after being discovered in the house of a severely neglectful hoarder who had died of old age. Nobody had known how long the cats had been left in the house after the woman passed away, but after her body was discovered, the cats were turned over to the animal shelter, where they were spayed, given medical attention, and put up for adoption.

The other six cats had all been adopted out one by one over the last six months, but the shelter employees felt that they couldn’t separate these two because the daughter was far too anxious to leave her mother’s side.

I took the cats home that day, naming the sweet tortoiseshell Frances and the finicky calico Howdy. It took months for them to gain weight and begin to trust me and their new environment.

During a routine vet visit, it was discovered that Fran had severe hyperthyroidism. After a week’s worth of radiation therapy and medication, her condition began to drastically improve.

Once Fran was healthy, the two cats began settling into their new digs. It took a while for Fran to feel comfortable and learn that she could eat slowly without the fear of not knowing when her next meal would come. Howdy finally stopped crying at night after gentle attention and constant love put her at permanent ease, and the fur on her legs grew back after her anxiety calmed for good.

It’s been three years now, and Howdy and Frances are two of the happiest, most lovable, most engaging cats you will ever meet. They snuggle together every night and bathe each other every day. Howdy is extremely talkative and loves playing with toys (including bottle caps and shoe boxes, which she finds irresistible), and Fran enjoys being brushed and baking in the sun while stretched out on the windowsill.

My life has been significantly enriched by these two beautiful cats. Knowing that I was able to rescue them from such hell has truly bonded us in an unimaginable way, and I’m thankful every day that the three of us found each other.

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  • Ivy says:

    I was touched to here the story about your cats. I am glad they are happy and doing so much better. They are both beautiful cats! I have 5 cats. They are all rescued. They each have their own stories, but the most shocking is what happened to my 2 newest cats, Nipsy and her daughter, Cita.
    On my way home from church, I saw a cat that had gotten ran over by a car. I assumed she was dead, but as i drove by, on the other side of the road, I saw her look up at the cars, as they continued to run over her. It was Nipsy. I was shocked and yelled to my step mom to turn around.(I was 15 and couldnt drive yet)We stopped in the middle of the road and I picked her up. She was so scared that she went to the bathroom on me. I set her in my lap while my step mom called vet offices.(It was a saturday and none of them were open)Nipsy was bleeding out of her mouth and couldnt move her legs. We were afraid she had internal bleeding or she hurt her spine or she broke her legs. I was crying in the front seat of the car petting her and trying to keep her awake. We found the owner. They said they had 7 other cats and one was pregnant. So they let us keep her. They kept saying she was going to die. They didnt care what happened to her. They didnt even have a name for her. They called her the fluffy one. We took Nipsy to the vet. They said she had just bit her tongue and she was in shock and she had hyperthermia. And she was pregnant! Nipsy had her four kittens a couple weeks later. I was extremely depressed when one of the kittens died. It’s been two years and I still cry about it. We kept one. We named her Cita and we gave the rest to some good friends. Cita and Nipsy are almost twins. They both have big fluffy tails and smooshed faces. They are both sweathearts and I love them. My cats make my life so much better. I’m glad I have them.
    Nipsy is very lucky that she only had minor injuries. Other cats are not so lucky. We always need to keep an eye out for animals on the road to try and keep them safe.

  • Living // Why Should You Adopt? // PETA says:

    […] over, but I hope that you’ll remember that it doesn’t matter if you are longing for a loving pair of animals, a gentle friend who has been waiting in a cage for far too long, or a pair of kittens you are […]

  • Angelina says:

    what a great story you are truly blessed with such a beautiful heart may the creator watch over you and blessed you all I have rescue 15 cats and most of them are stray and found them when they where only two weeks old and fed them with bottle and some of them where neglected by their human companion they were in bad shape when I got them but now they all are healthy playful and always wants attention and 4 of them are inside cats and the rest they are out side cats me and my husband build 3 section 6by4 cats house very big and I clean it every day and put clean blankets for them but since it is summer right now the out side cats they all wants to stay out side their home they go sleep on a barn or on the roof of the barn or my house roof but they all are very healthy and happy I feed them 3 times a day and by them toys I’m happy now to see them healthy and happy I’m glad to share my story and all of you are doing great job and may the creator blessed you all and watch over you and please don’t stop to help those animals:):)

  • Olivia says:

    What a heartwarming story! I have spent my whole adult life taking in and fixing stray cats. I have probably fixed over two dozen in the last 12 years. At the moment I have 11 cats and I love them all to bits. It’s so hard to find people who want to adopt cats, especially the older ones. They all want kittens and then when they get big they dump them. The last cat I found was abandoned and was a few weeks pregnant. I had her aborted and fixed, i was pregnant myself at the time and I felt terrible about aborting her babies but at the same time I didn’t want to bring more cats into a world that has so many homeless cats as it is. She is a sweet lovable cat, I named her minou, which Im sure is the name her previous owners gave her because she has responded to it since the day I found her.
    Anyways, I think we all need to take better care of the animals in this world, it shows great character and compassion. I commend all of you who have saved and loved a homeless pet.

  • Alexandra Oliveros says:

    You are the best.Good bless you!I have 3 cats and I feel so happy.

  • Susan Oppikofer says:

    Finally a positive story!

  • Lesley Powers says:

    I have several rescued cats and love them dearly, but it is a dilemma for me knowing that they are obligate carnivores and animals are being tortured and killed in order to feed these little companions. How do others reconcile this? I don’t know about other cats, but those who live with mw do NOT eat vegetables and grains. They will not even eat prepared catfood that has vegetables and grains mixed in.

  • Kristin says:

    I just adopted a kitty at the first of this month =] his name is Jasper and he’s the best kitten ever!

  • chander kumar soni says:

    i am also happy.

  • gary desarro says:

    You are CERTAINLY doing the Lord’s work Miss Mylie…by rescuing these two cats. In the Bible, it states in Proverbs 12:10: A righteous man cares for the needs of his animal. Also…Jesus…who is God, himself…removed the obligation of animal sacrifices, when he, himself, was the sacrificial “lamb of God”. He not only died for our sins…but he may had saved the lives of millions of potential sacrificial animals. In the Bible…Hebrew 10:4 states…because it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

  • gary desarro says:

    That is a very lenient and humane animal shelter, where Fran and Howdy were rescued and saved. If they had ben brought to the county animal shelter at HERE…or the private owned animal shelter at HERE…they would had been put to death IMMEDIATELY…and no questions asked…because of the missing fur, the fleas, and the mental anxiety. And that is all LEGAL.

  • JANEEN says:

    This is a wonderful story! I am a police officer in a suburb of Detroit. Our “animal shelter” was a pathetic, dilapidated small section of our DPW. The animals were held there temporarily until they were taken to the Humane Society and more than likely put down due to overcrowding. I, on my own time and with the help of some wonderful people, have turned it into a true SHELTER. A no-kill policy has been implemented and I love every animal that makes a stop in my shelter before finding a home. I couldn’t do it without people like the author of this article. Sometimes it’s hard work and heartbreaking. Hearing stories like this make me keep at it. THANK YOU!

  • E. B. Russell says:

    Hoarders are so misguided. They want to help animals and take more and more in until they are totally overwhelmed. Their homes are often filty and many times there is no veterinary care, nor are the animals fixed resulting in more offspring. It is truly a sad state of affairs. On the other hand, it is very hard to turn your back on an animal in need, such as those living on the streets. Does anyone know the answer.

  • Amitava says:

    Amazing grace! Modern people distorted the word “love” well beyond comprehension. You rescued the suffering cats as well as the equally suffering word “love!” You got double promotion from God!

  • Angela says:

    aww lovely story!! Im glad the cats are better now and in a loving home:) You saved them!

  • Cheryl says:

    Love your story, I have 3 cats 2 which are rescued I also have 2 dogs which I love to pieces.

  • Krazy4Kitties says:

    What a beautiful story! Thank you for opening your heart and your home to Frances and Howdy! They are two very lucky kitties – and you are one lucky lady to have them in your life! 🙂 Bless you, and bless your sweet babies, too!

    A fellow shelter cat – and shelter dog – rescuer (I love my 2 boys and my girl!!)

  • cristy carrera ruiz says:

    dios te bendiga y que exista mas personas como tu en este mundo, hay que seguir todos en lucha porellos que tanto cariño nos ofrecen.

  • Touidjine karina says:

    Magnifique, Merveilleux.

  • FoxxxyMulder says:

    I love stories like these. I’ve been adopting stray cats since I started to earn money, I’m 36 now and 9 beautiful cats, 3 girls and 6 boys, all of them operated, fat and happy. I just wish that their food wasn’t that expensive. Sometimes I have to search in several stores ’cause they just don’t have their favourites and when they do, it’s so expensive. I live in Guadalajara, Mexico and people here don’t give a damn about their children so figure out how’s the landscape for pets. I’m mortified. Sometimes I put money for some neighbour’s kitten to be nuttered, ’cause I can’t afford more babies here. I also find good homes for them when it’s possible. One person can make a difference, but some people are just cold hearted. Regards.

  • Lacy says:

    What a lovely story! Keep them coming! PeeWee, my 3-legged, diabetic rescue baby gets hugs every day for being PeeWee, but she got an extra one today after reading this story, just to let her know how happy I am that we found each other, too!

  • Lisa says:

    I love you story,I have 3 cats myself and love them to pieces. I wish everyone in the world was like you.

  • Rachel L'Heureux says:

    That’s awesome! I can’t wait until I’m settled enough in my career to bring some shelter cats home, too!

  • Amber says:

    Its so nice to read about loving, caring people like you. I always hope someday Animals everywhere will be treated with kindness. God bless you, Mylie and your four legged family.

  • michelle kemp says:

    yes it is a wonderful thing to adopt an animal, whether it be a cat, dog nor whatever, we personally have two adopted puppy dogs, one being a rottie x, which we adopted from our local pound, and we also pretty much adopted our neighbors dog, as she wasnn’t prepared to look after him properly, he is a staffy x.

  • Mariya says:

    What a beautiful story!!! I couldn’t help crying.

    A huge thank you to the lady who opened her heart to these wonderful cats.

    As Anatole France has once noticed: Until one has loved an animal, part of their soul remains unawakened.

    Best of luck to all of you! Hopefully, your story will be a brilliant example to follow for the manby!!xxx

  • Dian Rahmawathi says:

    Hey there,

    I have a similar story with you.
    We found 2 stray cats when we wanted to move in to our new condo.
    Since there’s no pets allowed to stay in a condo; my husband him self write a letter to the condo management, and they approved the cats to stay with us.

    And same like you we’re thankfull everyday that 4 of us found each other.

    Love from Singapore,

  • Raj says:

    You came to them as an angel, I wish God bless you with everything you ever desire and give you more strength and resources to continue what you are doing.

    I would rather take an autograph from you than any celebrity…You are a true role model.

  • Sabrina says:

    So touching. It is good and fortunate that you have all found each other. It must have been heartwrenching to know what the cats went through. But it sounds like they have a wonderful home.

  • CQ says:

    I work with a local cat rescue and I wish more people would give the scared cats a chance. They are so different once they are out of their cages and in a home environment- they become great campanions and are forever grateful to be be loved – also, if you have the time and space, consider fostering for your local shelters and/or rescue groups (dogs, cats, etc) – the shelters usually pick up medical bills and you provide a loving home until the find their forever familiy.

  • Sherri says:

    This is a beautiful story..

    I had 5 kittens born in my attic by an abandon female cat unbeknownst to me until the kittens were old enough where I could hear them. I immediatly got help to get them done but only got 4. I didn’t realize at the time there were 5. I gradually got the 4 kittens to be very good housepets and kept two and the other two were given to a good home. I did trap the mother and had her fixed and released. I saw here one last time calling to a kitten to come up to the attic. That was the first time I realized there were 5 kittens.
    To make a long story short, in Feb I got the 5th kitten down from living in the attic. This was a long process and I was feeding her, etc. But she was in survival mode and it took a while to get her tamed. Now it is June and she is loving my house including two other cats and a dog. She is a wonderful cat although she does bite and kick although not very hard anymore…

    The bottom line is the work it takes to bring a cat back from despair is so worth it. It takes patience and love but so worth it.

    Thank you for your article. I hope more people don’t look at cats that seem “wild” as hopeless. They do make wonderful pets.

  • Mary Hines says:

    What a beautiful story. God Bless You for being such a kind and loving person. I wish everyone on earth would be as kind and lovig to animals as you are to them.

  • Camille says:

    I am proudly owned by a tortie. She is a blessing everyday and we love her so much!

  • Gabriela says:

    Christine: Thanks for sharing this beatiful story with us, I have 8 dogs at home and each of them has a sad story with a wonderful ending.
    God bless you and your adorables babies too!
    Costa Rica

  • LN says:

    Great story, thanks so much. Those are two lucky kitties. 🙂

  • Janice says:

    This is a wonderful story that brightened my day. I also have rescued many cats. My hope is that someday all animals will be given the right to freely live out their lives without human cruelty.
    They all deserve a chance to survive. Look at what goes on in China and many other countries. The solution starts with every one of us who make a difference in the lives and rights of all animals in our world. This story can attest to that fact.

  • Margaret Hossack says:

    I am so glad you have been able to change their lives for the better. My own two ask so little and give so much. love to all three of you.

  • Gerry JEE says:

    So nice to read a story with a happy ending. There seems to be just far too many people in this world with no respect for animals. These 2 cats are so, so lucky to have found such a kind, caring owner.

    I too have rescue cats. I have 3, one of which I was told would have had to have been put down due to overcrowding; another, a beautiful tabby female, the most beautiful cat I have ever seen, was on her last legs but nursed back to health & many vet bills later, she is now 8 years old & very, very much a family cat & very happy. My cats are so affectionate & loving & although they have proved rather expensive one way & another, it’s definitely money well spent…

  • Masha says:

    The world needs more people like you. 🙂

  • Jim says:

    Great story, I know how you feel. Well done.

  • betty haase says:

    Such a wonderful story, with a beautiful ending..
    I have rescued many animals & took in many strays.. I have 6 dogs, 4 cats, & they are all
    rescue & stray animals.. Thank you for being kind & loving animals.. I wish everyone on earth could be this way…