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When we moved back to Arlington in August 2008, we knew we were finally settled enough to adopt the cats we’d been wanting for a long time. It was sheer luck that we stumbled across Homeward Trails. We knew we wanted a bonded pair, and we wanted at least one of the cats to be black because we know black cats have a harder time being adopted. We quickly narrowed the available cats to two pairs, but when we met them, we knew Trouble and Pax (previously Spark and Toby, respectively) were the right cats for us. They were living at PetMAC at the time, and Trouble (a slightly petite, all black cat) met us at the door and let us pick him up immediately. Then we were regaled with stories from PetMAC staff about how everyone loved Pax (a big orange tabby), but no one that had considered him had wanted two cats. We brought Trouble and Pax home less than two weeks after first meeting them.

Trouble and The BeastTrouble and Pax were amazingly adaptable. They had been surrendered to Homeward Trails when their original owner died. They lived at PetMAC for a while and were adopted by a woman with known allergies that turned out to be much more severe than she realized. Back at PetMAC, we finally found them! Despite all this turmoil in their short lives, they were the most personable cats we’d ever met. They greeted us at the door from the first day and settled into our house as if they’d always lived there. Pax quickly learned (and loved!) to play fetch with toy mice. Trouble found his way onto the highest surfaces in the house, including the occasional balancing act on top of an open door.

Sadly, just over a year after we adopted our boys, Pax became very ill with bladder problems. He passed away quickly in January. Trouble did not know what to do without his constant companion. He became more affectionate and cried at the door when we left the house. We knew he needed another companion so he wasn’t by himself all day. We returned to Homeward Trails, and Lori began to help us with the search for a friend for Trouble.

We met cat after cat, each with great attributes, but when we met Johnny, a milk-and-honey-colored kitty, we just knew he was the cat we’d been searching for. We call him The Beast because he looked like he was about the size of a bobcat in his Homeward Trails profile picture. He’s actually a regular size for a cat, but he has big paws and ears like a kitten who’s still growing into his fur. The nickname just stuck!

 The Beast sitting on a sleeping Trouble

The Beast was relentless in his affections to Trouble, jumping up next to Trouble even when he knew Trouble wasn’t used to him yet. He just didn’t give up, and Trouble quickly gave in. We usually find them in the same room (and always in a room with one or both of us), and The Beast – who is just a big kitten somewhere between a year or two old – has brought some real playfulness to Trouble’s life. (He has also taught Trouble to knock shiny things to the floor – thanks a lot, Beast!) We’re so happy that neither of them are lonely, and we’re lucky to have such affectionate cats from Homeward Trails to greet us at the door when we come home.

-Lauren & Allen, Arlington, VA

See all posts about: Black Cats | Bonded Pairs


We lost our almost 19 year old poodle in May 2008. When we were finally ready to get another dog, we decided to adopt a rescue dog. We scoured Petfinder and found Milo and Otis and instantly fell in love. We applied to adopt them, then met them and their foster Mom. She told us they were found in Baltimore in July, and that when they were picked up, they were very dirty and very skinny. When we met them in September, they were no longer dirty and they were no longer skinny.

Milo & OtisYou could tell how well Lynn had taken care of them and that she was truly looking out for their best interests. She told us she wasn’t sure if they were in a home together or found each other on the street, but they were a bonded pair and would only be placed as a pair. Two dogs means twice the fun! We loved them and they apparently loved us, so we brought them home on September 10, 2009. Our groomer says they are two of the happiest dogs she’s ever seen. We love them and of course we spoil them rotten! As you can tell from the picture, they absolutely LOVED all of the snow we had this Winter!

-Julie and David, Lorton, VA

See all posts about: Bonded Pairs


We were beyond ecstatic when we received an application for Bunny’s adoption, a feline leukemia (FeLV) positive Manx kitty.  Upon notifying our partner shelter in Wetzel County, West Virginia of this news, we learned that Bunny had a best friend and cage-mate, Freda, a lovely FeLV+ tuxedo kitty.  The thought of Freda alone in her cage was painful to fathom so we decided to bring her up to DC with Bunny to find a foster home for her.  Our initial excitement was quickly topped when Bunny’s potential adopters suggested that they would consider adopting Freda as well!!  Freda, a fluffy purring machine, quickly won their hearts just as Bunny had, and these kind people were the proud parents of a two new FeLV+ cats.  These two kitties are now living in New Jersey, snuggling with two small canine friends and another resident FeLV+ cat named Brandy as well!

Bunny & FredaWith Bunny and Freda adopted, this brings the number of FeLV+ kitties living at Wetzel County Animal Shelter down to 4.  Please consider fostering or adopting a FeLV+ kitty.  Remember, feline leukemia cannot be transmitted between species, so humans, dogs, rabbits, and any other non-feline animal are completely safe from infection.  Please help us spread the word about feline leukemia positive cats; ask your friends and coworkers to open their hearts to one or two of these special cats.  Together we can help all of these deserving kitties find a loving family and a home to call their own!

Stay tuned for out next featured cat, Tommy 2 Toes, who is living with both FELV and FIV.

See all posts about: Bonded Pairs


I adopted Scout and Riley in August 2009, having first met them in July 2009 at an HT adoption event. My cat of 11 years had just died suddenly in June 2009, and I went to the adoption event to begin the process of thinking about getting another cat, but didn’t think I was ready just yet.

Scout & RileyThirty seconds after walking into the adoption event I saw a sweet little brown tabby cat named Ginger, who walked up to me through her cage and started purring. The HT volunteer was astounded; apparently Ginger was very scared at adoption events and never approached anyone. She walked right into my arms and I picked her up and she started purring right away. Then I noticed her sister the next cage over, Lilly, a white kitty with tabby patches. I was told they were sisters and they wanted to be adopted together. Lilly was super friendly too and also purred immediately after I picked her up.

Although I wasn’t planning on getting one cat that day, let alone two, I filled out an adoption form that day for both, and a few weeks later I adopted them. Ginger is now Scout and Lilly is now Riley, and Scout and Riley have been with me ever since. In fact they are sitting right next to my computer as I type this!

They are the best cats ever–thanks to Homeward Trails for making this possible!! And for saving Scout and Riley from the West Virginia shelter!

-David, Washington, DC

See all posts about: Bonded Pairs


The day after my birthday last year, my very-much-loved 17 year-old cat, Calypso, succumbed to kidney failure and had to be put to sleep. I’d gotten her, my first-ever cat, just a few months after I moved out on my own as a young adult, and home didn’t feel like home without her. My remaining cat, Tiki, was thirteen years old and had never been alone, either. No matter how much we cuddled, we both felt lost.

One night, so sad I hardly knew what to do with myself, I logged into Petfinder to look at pictures of kittens. Seeing so many images of adorable kittens, all without owners, made me remember the first night I’d brought Calypso home, when she spun around the apartment like a tiny black bouncing ball and then collapsed at my feet while I was doing dishes. Somehow, looking at all the kittens, I began to feel a little better. I became captivated by the photo of a calico kitten and her brother, who had been rescued by Homeward Trails from a high-kill shelter and were now in a foster home. Tiki needed a friend; and “Mango’s kittens” needed a new home. No matter how much I was grieving for Calypso, it seemed selfish to wait till I healed to adopt.

The first time all three napped together

The first time all three napped together

Tiki was healthy and strong for his age, but I knew a pair of kittens would be best for him because they could play with each other when he wanted to be left alone. When I went to visit the calico and her brother, I can’t say it was love at first sight: the calico was busy playing with her foster friends, and Ziggy, her brother, ran up the stairs and hid from me at first. Nevertheless, I somehow couldn’t walk away. I played with the calico, and I picked up Ziggy. “I don’t think I’ve ever heard him purr,” his foster mom told me. I rubbed his ears, stroked under his chin, and pulled him close to my chest, and after a while felt a low rumble coming from his belly.

Needless to say, I took them home. I changed the calico’s name to Stardust, which turned out to be prescient when she grew a feather-duster plume of a tail. With the exception of a little hissing, the introductions went beautifully. Tiki’s eyes brightened and he followed the little ones around, hovering over all their antics. Within a few weeks, he was joining in their games and letting them sleep next to him; and within a few months, he and Stardust were play-wrestling and grooming each other. He’d never had that close a relationship with Calypso, and I’d never seen him so happy. Stardust’s joie-de-vivre and Ziggy’s sweetness – and their kitten acrobatics – were just what I needed to get through the painful first months without Calypso. This past summer, I was thrilled when the vet told us Tiki’s blood work was perfect and pronounced him in perfect health. Seeing him roughhouse with Stardust several times a day, I was so grateful he had found such happiness in his senior years that sometimes, watching them, I wept.

On Halloween morning a month ago, the cats had breakfast and had started chasing each other and wrestling as usual, when suddenly I heard loud breathing. Tiki was on his side, his lips blue – probably, I was told later, hidden heart failure he’d been masking. Before I could even finish my panicked call to the vet, he had died, Stardust anxiously sniffing his ears. I am told that for Tiki it would have been like suddenly disappearing while he was playing – and while he was still strong, beautiful, and powerful. For me, it has been harder. Losing two much-loved cats in less than a year, I don’t know what I would have done without Ziggy and Stardust. But there is nothing that happens at home now that is not interrupted and investigated by Stardust’s wet nose, and no sadness that can’t be salved by Ziggy’s gentle expression and now-rumbling purr. I miss Calypso and Tiki terribly, but not a day goes by that I’m not thankful for the two new friends I adopted to honor my love for my old ones.

-Jill Kronstadt

See all posts about: Bonded Pairs