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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

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I have loved cats since my family adopted our first cat when I was 5. I grew up around them. When I was 7, I begged and pleaded for a cat of my own. Shortly after my 7th birthday, I got my wish and was allowed to adopt a kitten from a new born litter on my uncle’s farm. Pokey was my life-long companion from that point on. He was with me when my parents divorced and was by my side through two custody changes. When I graduated high school and “changed custody” from my dad to my mom, he came with me again and immediately adopted her two kittens as his kids. When it came time for me to move out, not only could I not give him the care he need finacially, I also couldn’t bear to see him seperated from the cats he grew to love. I was never more than two miles away and able to visit, though.

SassyOnce I got on my settled own my own feet, I wanted to bring him to my home. I also wanted to adopt a new companion for him, since he it had been 8 years since he’d been an only kitty. I discovered Seth (now Buddy) via petfinder.com and was very interested. And then the worst possible news came. Pokey had developed CRF and I rethought everything and again made the decision to leave him where he was. And, adoption went out the window, too. He passed away after fighting as hard as he could in December of 2009. He was 20 years old. I learned how to love uncondtionally from him and soon after, I knew I couldn’t live without that perfect pet anymore.

I looked on Petfinder.com again, and to my surprise, the cute kitten I had been so taken with months earlier was still looking for a home. Some where along the line, he had lost his eye to a bad eye infection. But, I saw it as fate. Somehow I knew, this cat was meant to find a home with me. I applied to adopt him, and when it was suggested that he be placed with another cat, I was okay with it. Since I knew it would be hard to pick and choose another cat, I decided to consider his foster sister, Sherbert (now Sassy) since it seemed they were already settled and happy.

BuddyBuddy

Upon meeting them both, I was in love. Buddy was demanding my attention from the moment I saw him, while Sassy looked on. Eventually, she came around and proved herself to be the most loving little girl. After meeting them and playing with them for hours, I knew they would both be a great addition to my life.

Now it’s four months later, and that was absolutely correct. For a cat that came from a feral colony, Sassy has really come around. She greets me at the door and demands to be petted and picked up. She will butt or rub her head against any part of me she can reach, until she has had her fill. She has also started coming around easily to family and friends. And Buddy is my little lovey-dovey entertainer. He is constantly ready to play. He is also the one to occupy my lap, sleep next to me, or just curl up quietly (surprisingly, since he is playful as can be) when I’ve had a bad day. I never thought another cat could occupy the place in my heart where Pokey lives, but these two have taught me there is always more room there. There hasn’t been a day where they haven’t made me smile and I can’t imagine life without them, even though they’ve only been with me for a short while. I am so grateful to the Homeward Trails volunteers who took such great care of them and worked to get them to me.

-Emily, Reston, VA

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Last summer I remember coming home from work and a strange feeling came over me–I needed a cat. You see, three years ago my cat Whiskers (also adopted) passed away age the age of 11 from cancer. Perhaps that was his way of telling me it was time for me to share my love with another furry friend.

Sushi & SakeSo I started my search on Petfinder.com last Thanksgiving with no particular type of cat in mind. I immediately fell in love with four month old brother and sister Siamese/Snowshoe mix kittens who were named Raccoon and Smudgi at the time. I knew immediately that they were the furry friends that I needed and that needed me.

Raccoon and SmudgiSushi and Sake as kittens

I was scheduled to pick them up the weekend before Christmas which was the same time that mother nature decided the DC area was to have its first snow storm. I begged and a friend with a truck took me to pick up my new babies. By Christmas morning, four days later, the kittens and I had bonded. I believe that my sweet Whiskers played a small part in helping me find this perfect pair.

-The Murray Home, Fort Washington, MD

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I had wanted a cat for years, but my roommate was a bit allergic to them and had resisted the idea.  One day she came home and announced that she really wanted a pet to come home to.  We talked it over and decided if we kept a cat out of her room and vacuumed frequently to minimize the effects, she could deal with the allergies for a few weeks until her body adjusted.  We also knew that at some point in the future, we wouldn’t be living together anymore, so we agreed that it would be “my” cat, but that we would both be mommies.  So we got online and started looking for cats and adoption fairs.  We inquired about a few different ones but one little furry orange and white one definitely stuck out for us, and we were thrilled when his foster mom, who worked with Homeward Trails, said she could bring him by for a home visit the very next day.

GideonWhen his foster mom opened his carrier in our apartment, he immediately shot out and started exploring, but was sure to keep low to the ground so he “wouldn’t be spotted.”  He was the most adorable little kitty at about six months old.  We loved how he shot out to explore instead of hiding in the carrier, and we was (and still is) a BIG talker.  We played with him for a little bit, expecting to have to give him back at least until arrangements could be made, but to our delight, his foster mom said we could keep him that day!  We had to run out quickly to buy supplies, and when we got back he was a little timid and hid under the bed for a while before coming out to get to know us.  We decided to leave him alone (hard as it was!) to let him get used to his new home.  At first he was a little timid – I would find him lounging on my bed, or the couch and he would immediately jump down, thinking he was going to be yelled at.  We reassured him that it was his home too and he could go wherever he wanted (in retrospect, allowing him to lounge on the dining room table was a bad idea and has led to a bad habit, but he was too cute and we were powerless to resist him).

Almost two years later, Gideon (as we named him) is a full-grown, happy cat who still loves to talk (and on occasions where he really wants canned food, or just feels like it, scream).  In some ways, he’s like a dog – very loyal to me and follows me everywhere, even lounging on the kitchen floor while I do dishes, or screaming outside the bathroom door while I take a shower.  His greatest joy in life is when we bring home new paper bags from the grocery store, and he loves giving us “headbutts” – which we love too!  My roommate and I have each moved in with our significant others now, so Gideon has gained a great daddy, but luckily his “other mommy” lives just a few floors down and visits him frequently, too.  I am so blessed to have Gideon in my life and so thankful to Homeward Trails for introducing me to him.  I’m now in law school and he is a great little study buddy, always hanging out with me while I’m doing my schoolwork, even though he could be playing with his daddy instead.  My boyfriend and I love having him as part of our family, and hope to get him a canine brother or sister in a few years.

-Meagan Fassinger

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In March of 2009, our 17 year old cat, Fancy, had to be put to sleep.  This was one of the most difficult decisions for us to make, but we knew we had to do what was best for Fancy, even though it broke our hearts.  There was such a void in our home, that we decided to look into adopting a kitten.

Cooter & Roscoe

Jane with all her Foster Kittens

Jane with all her Foster Kittens

We looked online at kittens that needed homes, but I wanted to see a picture and just “feel” that this was the cat for us.  Finally, I got my “feeling”!  I saw this picture of a mommy cat named Jessica that was rescued when she was pregnant, and had given birth to 5 beautiful kittens.  Something about this picture just grabbed me!  I knew this was it!

We met with their foster mom, Jane.  We went every week until it was finally time to bring our kittens home.  Jane was the most wonderful foster mom EVER!!!  On the day we brought our kitties home, she made a CD for us of all the pictures and videos that she had taken of the kittens since they had been born.  What a wonderful gift for us!  On that day, we took a beautiful picture of Jane with all her foster kitties.  Roscoe and Cooter are the sweetest, most loving cats ever.  Surely, that is due to the wonderful care and love they got from Jane!  We can never thank her enough.  Our family is complete now.

-The Martinis Family, Frederick, MD

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On May 23, 2008, my beloved cat Emma passed from this life.  She fought a brave 20-month battle with cancer before taking her well-deserved rest.  I miss her and will never forget her.

Emma’s friendship and love made me certain that I would eventually adopt another cat; perhaps later in the fall when some of my grief had eased.  However, as Fate would have it, about a week or two following Emma’s death, I received an email from PetMAC/ Homeward Trails.  On a whim, I viewed their website of adoptable animals, and a female black and white “tuxedo” cat, a “tripod” named “Casey,” immediately caught my eye.  She was beautiful, and her personality profile described her as “affectionate and sweet.”  I was also sympathetic to her having only three legs, knowing that such a physical “challenge” might make it more difficult for her to find a home.  I wanted to meet her.

I completed an application, and Danette Cordone, Casey’s Homeward Trails “foster mom,” responded immediately and positively, suggesting that she and Casey come for a visit.  Casey was understandably shy at our first meeting, so while she cautiously explored her new surroundings, Danette shared what was known of Casey’s life story.  Casey had been surrendered once to the Prince William County (Virginia) animal shelter, then adopted, and then returned by the second adopter.  Sometime in her past, for a still unknown reason, her left rear leg was amputated mid-femur.  When Homeward Trails and Danette discovered her at the shelter, Casey was facing imminent euthanasia.  It was by the grace of God, Homeward Trails, and Danette that this sweet and beautiful little cat was saved.

In the brief six months they had spent together Casey had completely and utterly won Danette’s heart, so much so that she herself considered adopting Casey.  But, with numerous other foster animals needing her care, Danette directed her heart and love toward finding Casey the loving, permanent home she so deserved.

I had already fallen in love with Casey from her website description, and our first face-to-face meeting sealed the deal.  Casey came to live with me on July 12, 2008.  Danette wisely advised that it might take Casey time to adjust to yet another new home and new human companion.  But, if Casey was ready to give me a try, I was more that ready to welcome her into my family.

Indeed, Casey spent most of that first day under the bed, while I sat in the next room patiently waiting for her courage and curiosity to bring her out.  Every few hours I went and talked to her, offering food, toys, and reassurances.  But, this timid little cat, who had been bounced from shelter to home and back again, who had only three legs, and who had faced certain euthanasia, was understandably reluctant, fearing perhaps that she had once again been abandoned.

CaseyThen late that evening just when I wondered if Casey would ever feel safe with me, I looked under the bed again, and out she came – purring and meowing and head rubbing against me, asking for pats and attention.  Like we had been friends forever!  We two stayed up until nearly midnight, exploring her new home and each other.  She delighted in discovering her old, familiar cat condo and her new catnip and feather toys.  Finally, exhausted but very happy, I tucked Casey into my arms and took her with me to bed.  There she curled up on the pillow next to my head, one paw deliberately touching me, and purred us both to sleep.

Casey’s indomitable spirit of love won the day!

Four months later, all is wonderfully well with Casey.  She is healthy and nicely adjusted into our home and family.  She happily chases feather-wand toys, goes crazy for catnip, and has discovered the joys of grazing on her own pot of organic grasses.  She’s a happy chatter-box, talking and singing to me throughout the day.  And she greets me by flopping on her side and offering her furry white tummy for a rub.  Best of all, not one night has passed without Casey snuggled close to me in bed, purring us both to sleep.

It’s said that certain, special individuals come into our life when we most need them.  Danette was there for Casey at the shelter, to save her life and to help her trust humans once again.  There is no doubt that Casey came into my life to help ease my grief at my Emma cat’s passing.  And, I think I’m here for Casey to forever keep her safe and loved.

Casey has a unique and special place in my heart.  I now affectionately call her “angel.”  She is the beautiful little embodiment of the need we all have to love and the indomitable spirit that allows us to do so, no matter what.  Thank you, my little angel.  I will love you forever.

Christine, November, 2008

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holidatcatsPlease check out our special Holiday cats if you are looking for a fabulous feline to add to your family.

Holiday Mandy, Holiday DC, Holiday Candy and Holiday Mike are all special cats waiting patiently for their forever homes.

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Rescues will often tell you that kittens need to be adopted in pairs and I found that is so very true.  I rescued a young kitten on his way to be abandoned in a village in Armenia and brought him back to the US with me.  Marco Polo was the perfect name for my little traveler.  After having romped with dogs and having constant companions, Marco was lonely as an only animal and very vocal in letting me know.  I knew he needed a pal and went in search of a playmate.  Lucky for us we stumbled upon Homeward Trails and Cosmo.

Cosmo was one of several kittens rescued with their mother by HT from a local shelter.  An all-black kitten with a tiny tuft of white at his chest, he was the last in the litter to find a home.  Cosmo’s foster brought him to my apartment as I insisted the cats meet before committing.  He was brave as can be and happy to meet the resident cat.  There were no hisses from either, just a healthy dose of curiosity and plenty of purrs.  Needless to say, he never left that day, and Marco and I adopted him.

CosmoLittle did Cosmo know what life would be like with us.  We moved to Moscow, Russia for two years and most recently to Almaty, Kazakhstan.  With pet passports in hand, Cosmo and Marco have traveled more than many Americans.  When people come to visit, they always compliment the shiny coat of my little panther and his adorable golden eyes.  Cosmo is a lover and total lap cat.  He’s calm, quiet and easy going.  He enjoys our clicker training sessions but is not a fan of the human toilet training – he likes his litter.  Cosmo’s favorite playtime is to chase the string on the wand without any attachments!

I sincerely thank Homeward Trials for having brought Cosmo into our lives.  I’ve since learned that black cats are the last to be adopted and the first to be put to sleep in shelters. Soon to be four wonderful years with my little Cosmo, I simply can’t understand it.  He is a dream kitty, napping on my lap as I type this, and I can’t imagine a home without him.”

-Shana, Marco and Cosmo

Almaty, Kazakhstan

See all posts about: Black Cats

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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

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Kiki was 5 years old when she was abandoned at a shelter by her owner. She spent a week at the vet after being rescued by Homeward Trails and had a flea infestation so bad that she required iron supplements for three weeks. Kiki’s foster parents showed compassion for Kiki and were patient with her – they took excellent care of her. When I met Kiki, I could see that they loved her as much as I knew I would.

I wasn’t looking for much in a cat before I adopted Kiki. All I had wanted was another cat to love, and of course I’d hoped that this new cat would get along with my other cat, Reese, and vice versa.

KikiThough Kiki and Reese merely tolerate each other now, after a year and half, each step getting here has felt monumental. I’ll never forget the first time Kiki stepped within a foot of Reese and neither cat hissed, the first time they shared their cat tree to watch the birds outside the window, or the first time we all snuggled on the couch together as a family. Our progress has been slow but entirely enjoyable and well worth it.

Kiki has been more than just another cat to love. She gives me so much love in return every day. Every morning I wake up to Kiki snuggling beside me on my pillow, waiting for me to open my eyes and scratch her cheeks. When I floss my teeth, Kiki sits patiently beside me, staring up at me with wide eyes and yearning to play with the floss in my fingers. Kiki and I do yoga together. Kiki adores relaxation pose, and she practices her favorite pose often during our workouts. Kiki also enjoys being a lap kitty, climbing onto my thighs every time I kneel to take a picture of her and every time I settle into the couch to watch TV. At night, Kiki jumps on the bed and wiggles under the covers to spoon with me until I fall asleep. Kiki’s a part of my day, the best part of my routine, and the happiest part of me.

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