A LITTLE WHITE LIE is sometimes what it takes to save an animal from a bad situation. Well, that and a convenient cereal box, but it all works out for the better.
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Holly’s dad was working on his apartment building in a small town 50 miles from his home and noticed a tiny kitten, maybe five weeks old, running from under the porch at the house next door; apparently they were just letting a new litter run the streets until they decided what to do with them. He put milk out for the kitten as she visited the back stairway, then went next door to confirm the kittens belonged to them, asking if he could adopt the little calico, to which they agreed.
He took her into an apartment and fed her there, took her to the local vet for a checkup and kept her with him for about 2 weeks as he worked on the building. The neighbor stopped him in the driveway a few days later and said she had promised the kitten to her sister. Holly’s dad immediately replied that he had already given her a new home in Pittsburgh, 50 miles away, and she was no longer available. Later, he secreted Holly out hidden in a cereal box and brought her home.
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Holly’s mom and dad are friends of mine and long-time cat rescuers as I describe in the story “A Bridge Between the Ages”. Among other things, they own an antique and vintage shop and a business to host estate sales, and Judi has been a serious and knowledgeable collector since her teens, hence their large Victorian house is full of neat and colorful things—and always about a half dozen rescued cats.
But just as they know the value in older and well-made things and are willing to do a little repair or accept the item’s nicks and scratches rather than discard it for something new, they know the value of rescuing cats. Both of them have always shared their lives with cats and have adopted from shelters, rescued cats much as they did Holly and taken in stray cats from the neighborhood as well as the relentless parade of e-mails advertising cats who need homes, including lovely but troubled Tiffany who required lots of patience to understand a cat who turned out to be feral but was not described as such, and who made her mark on a lovely home. Nonetheless, they understood, and cleaned up afterward.
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“Holly was my first and only kitten,” Judi told me. “All my cats were adults that I rescued or adopted. She was a real treat—I’d never seen the energy of a kitten.”
Holly was about six weeks old when Judi’s partner Don brought her home in the cereal box as described above.
“She got along with everybody. They were all equally annoyed with her kitten games—but Houdini took to it right away,” she continued.
And that would be very special for Judi; Houdini was then 19 years old, and he had been her first cat, ever, in a lifetime of rescuing cats. At that age, she knew they wouldn’t be together too much longer. “Holly kept him playing like a kitten in his last year,” she said.
Separately and then together, Judi and Don have rescued at least a dozen cats, and it’s always interesting to find out how serial cat rescuers got their start. Often, it begins with just one very special cat, and many other cats’ lives are ultimately saved because of the loving relationship between that cat and that person. For now, we’ll focus on the story of Judi and the cat who started it all for her.
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Here is March with Holly’s portrait and rescue story in Great Rescues Day Book:
Holly is one of the rescued cats in my Great Rescues Day Book, an undated monthly journal to record the dates of birthdays, anniversaries and events featuring sixteen of my commissioned portraits of rescued cats along with their rescue stories.
This book is built from Great Rescues Calendar and Gift Book, the original 16-month calendar published in 2011 to inaugurate my series of rescue stories related to the portraits I’ve painted over the years.
Click here or on the image of the book at left, or either of the links above to read more.
Also, read more about Great Rescues families, those who appear in each of the two volumes so far. I’ll be featuring one story each month corresponding with the portrait that appears in the book for that month. That means there are four extra, and I’ll slip those in when the story itself feels appropriate.
Read other stories in my Rescue Stories series.
Browse some rescued cats and kittens!
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