152 Comments

  1. Kim
    August 17, 2016 @ 10:30 am

    The cats should always win. I’m happy you and I are in agreement.

    I respect your values around pets and animals so much, and love reading and learning about all you can do. Honestly, I never really thought a lot about it until this year.

    My husband found a coon hound that had been dumped right off the interstate on the way to work a few weeks ago and we fostered him until he could find a home. It definitely opened my eyes to the needs of pets and how strapped the local animal rescues are. I would have kept him if he didn’t keep herding my child down the stairs and I was fairly certain it could lead to an injury. I probably would have kept him anyway (bad mom), but he found a nice home with a man who loves him and I only cried a little.

    Reply

    • Jeanne Desy
      August 17, 2016 @ 11:02 am

      I’m in love with Beryl already, working so hard to get healthy, being a good cat.

      Reply

    • Dixie Collins
      August 17, 2016 @ 1:16 pm

      When I had to have my precious cat Turgut put to sleep I was unconsolable. My husband said I cried harder over that death than my grandparents. I replied that I didn’t have to put down my grandparents. Anyway, I lasted ONE WHOLE WEEK before we went to our local shelter and I adopted two kittens – unrelated. They weren’t Turgut. No one could ever be Turgut, but 14 years later I still have one if them. Mr. Hoover sleeps with me every night and follows me from room to room. I will never have another Hoover. There’s the pain and the beauty of our rescues.

      Reply

    • Kristin
      August 17, 2016 @ 3:47 pm

      This just made me cry. Happy ugly cry. It has been a hard month for me as I lost my father, my dog has been a serious part of my daily therapy. I am sorry you had to go through such dark times, but am so impressed and overjoyed to see you taking in other kitties who are in need of a big heart, lots of love and a seasoned ‘care taker’. Enjoy!

      Reply

      • Wendy VanWinkle
        December 5, 2016 @ 9:08 pm

        When I lost my grandpa, my GSD was the ONLY living, breathing thing I would let around me…not even my kids. I was a wreck. Absolutely depressed and lost (he raised me from 2 months old). After a few weeks, I started coming around and a little better. Then, a few weeks after that, I lost Marco. We had to put him down due to cancer. It was the single worst day of my life. I still miss him. Every single day. I have 3 pups now, but my lab Luciano, he’s my love now and he keeps my heart happy, even when I am blue…

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    • Trish
      August 17, 2016 @ 4:02 pm

      So sorry to hear about losing your Elvis. We lost 2 fur babies in 10 days. So it is really weird around here right now. The good thing is that we still have one of our own kitties & our daughter still has a kitty here. Our kitty has gone into hiding in a room upstairs that she doesn’t really frequent so she doesn’t come out right now. She’s a little confused. But I love these 2 also so no new kitties coming here for a while.

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      • RedheadedCyclone
        August 17, 2016 @ 9:56 pm

        Not to start an advice thread, but when my Tasha passed, her brother did that and I found it helped for me to go and sit in that room and talk to him.

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    • wilma brennan
      August 21, 2016 @ 10:50 pm

      Good for you. From one foster mom to another. By the way, the name for a group of kittens is a “kindle,”
      and the name for a group of adults is a
      “clowder. ” The trick is to find homes for the kindle before they clowder.
      Oh yes, Berla Blue looks great on your Persian rug..

      Reply

  2. Paige
    August 17, 2016 @ 10:30 am

    We have three animals. All are rescues. A beautiful, mistreated Boxer dog, a chubby kitten faced big boy cat, and a sweet little black ball of kitty mischief missing an ear tip and half a tail. I think it’s so important to rescue animals. And adult animals in particular. Good work you’re doing.

    Reply

  3. Elisa
    August 17, 2016 @ 10:31 am

    When I win the lottery, and I will, most of my millions will go to spay/neuter programs and eliminating kill shelters. Until that day, I will adopt shelter, stray and abandoned kitties.

    Reply

  4. Barbara H.
    August 17, 2016 @ 10:34 am

    Hmmm – I see at least 3 cats in your long range future. The kittens are darling and Berla is looking much better. Lucky cats!

    Reply

  5. Suzanne Forbes
    August 17, 2016 @ 10:36 am

    KITTENS!!!!!! Your site is tipping over because your newsletter subscribers are so happy that you have kittens in your house. As a fellow blogger, that is a good problem.

    I am so happy for you that you have kittens in your house, and the lovely ragamuffin. I personally also fall in the get a new cat, foster or forever, right away, and here’s why:
    1. Can provide a cat a home= must provide a cat a home.
    2. I believe cat people, those of us put on earth to serve cats, have a cat-shaped beam of love coming from our hearts at all times. If it’s not falling on a cat, it is going to waste.

    Of course this is different for everyone. But we went to the shelter the next morning after we buried our Seven, to “find the Dalai Lama” as my husband’s mother calls it, and as it happens we found her, then had to go back to get her a pet cat a week or two later.

    My friend Loraine, on the other hand, has been fostering/saving/helping but not falling in love with a nice little man for months since her loss of a longtime love.

    However it goes, it helps kitties, and I am so happy for you.

    Reply

  6. Di Elliott
    August 17, 2016 @ 10:36 am

    I’ve git my 3 cats from a shelter, and have fostered many kittens its annawesome thing to do! And a fantabulous way for you Victoria to help kitties abd spread awareness, and honor Elvis’s memory. Hugs and love from one cat lady to another.

    Reply

    • Di Elliott
      August 17, 2016 @ 10:41 am

      Oh and i do wish I had spell checked before I pressed send! No I’m not silly just fat fingers!

      Reply

  7. Emily
    August 17, 2016 @ 10:39 am

    Good for you! There’s no replacing Elvis; that simply won’t happen, but kittens! and a cat will distract you while you heal.
    In my area, there are free neutering clinics that come around a few times a year. We just have to be alert for them.

    Reply

  8. Jamie
    August 17, 2016 @ 10:39 am

    Purring machines!

    I follow the Itty Bitty Kitty Committee (completely on the other side of the country from you), but she fosters kittens. Check out her site when you have a chance. http://www.theittybittykittycommittee.com/

    Love and hugs to you and your fosters.

    Reply

  9. AsKatKnits
    August 17, 2016 @ 10:40 am

    Bravo to you! May their darling kitten antics be a balm to your aching heart. And, bigfoot is darling, really. I’d say you have the perfect things to help you with the unbearable grief. XO

    Reply

  10. Di
    August 17, 2016 @ 10:40 am

    Years ago we lost our one cat and my dad allowed my sister and I to each pick one from a litter. I chose Rusty and my sis chose Dusty-yes they looked exactly liked the colors and totally opposite personalities. Best fun ever! Just a thought as I know how having that second pet keeps the heart from totally being ripped away if one loses a pet.
    SPAY AND NEUTER-it’s like who the hell doesn’t these days???

    Reply

  11. Dianne Averill
    August 17, 2016 @ 10:41 am

    So glad you found room in your heart for fostering, and I hope you find your perfect foster fail! I wish the shelters in my area were more accommodating of people who want to adopt! I have been trying to add a puppy to my family for almost a year, and they have such strict rules…. no females with other females (for example). Cost for a mixed-breed puppy is more than $500!!!! And they don’t agree with how I care for my existing 10-year-old dog (who has epilepsy) so they have banned me from their list. And all I’m doing is not adding any unnecessary chemicals to her life. We have a fenced half acre and work from home…what more could you want from an adopter? Sorry for the rant, but I am so frustrated that I can’t find a puppy for my old girl!

    Reply

    • Jan Goad
      August 17, 2016 @ 12:10 pm

      Please don’t give up, Dianne. Look for a small rescue group rather than a county shelter. Here in the south, unfortunately, there are often people in parking lots selling puppies. Those poor little souls are as much in danger, in my opinion, as if they were sitting in a kill shelter. Same with taking a puppy from a Craigslist post; I have no doubt that’s saving a life, too.

      Reply

    • Bobbles
      August 17, 2016 @ 1:30 pm

      I also have a dog (Rocky, a black lab) with epilepsy. With the help of a wonderful vet (and my local pot shop), I’ve started him on CBD extract, in addition to a reduced phenobarbital dose. I hope you have your dog for a long time. It’s a hard disease to live with.

      Reply

  12. Ada
    August 17, 2016 @ 10:42 am

    Oh squee!! My heart. WHO is cutting onions here?

    Reply

  13. Cate
    August 17, 2016 @ 10:44 am

    We lost our very special cat Cupcake on Jan. 1. She was 15 years old and our children had grown up with her. She was THE BEST cat–beautiful, friendly to the limits of feline friendliness, a good mouser, amusing, well behaved. She tolerated the dog. She loved us and assigned us all jobs. Although she’d been ill for almost a year, she was kind enough not to really get sick until a couple of days before she died. She passed quietly and with dignity. Although we are “cat people” we were hesitant to get another cat. We grieved for her and she left a hole in our family. We could never “replace” her. However, when our daughter came home from college in May, she encouraged us to consider adopting a kitty. So we went to “just look,” but mostly to see if our hearts could handle it. We met Caroline, an older kitten, a tuxedo. She was extremely shy, so much so that she had been returned to the shelter twice. We went home and thought about, then called the shelter first thing in the morning to claim her. She must have been waiting for us because, two months later, with much patience and socializing, she is part of the family–running around, playing, accepting pets, using our beds as her own. We will always keep Cupcake close in our hearts, she’s part of us. But there was room for Caroline, after all.

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  14. Patricia
    August 17, 2016 @ 10:45 am

    Mostly our cats have just shown up and moved themselves in. We’re currently catless but have a neighbor cat on a part time basis. He gets his morning treats and snuggies and then settles down on the pillows for a long nap.
    I wonder how many of those cats currently visiting, are really just “foster”? Looking forward to future posts.

    Reply

  15. Beth Pfaff
    August 17, 2016 @ 10:45 am

    You are such a great person to do this! Hope your story inspires more people to adopt rescue pets.

    Reply

  16. JeanFB
    August 17, 2016 @ 10:45 am

    Oh my goodness what a wonderful thing you are doing! I looove Berla – I’ve already renamed her Twinkle Toes (in my head of course) and if my current fur baby would tolerate it (his feelings about other cats sound to be like Elvis’) I would probably drive 500 miles to get her from you! 😉 And the kitten video had me melting – all that purring! I’m glad you’ve found a way to begin your recovery.

    Reply

  17. Marsha
    August 17, 2016 @ 10:47 am

    Dear One- I am in love with all of the cats you are fostering. Fostering is not something I can do. It becomes adoption and you may be in the same boat(box)! I had a lovely Tuxedo that lived 20 years. She left me and I waited a year before adopting the most amazing Siamese Lynx that I could not imagine anyone not wanting.
    I love the wacky element of Berla’s bigfoot situation. She will always be a conversation piece. I hope she is teaching the kittens to be lovely little cats. Enjoy. Elvis approves, I am sure.

    Reply

  18. Brittany
    August 17, 2016 @ 10:48 am

    I did not think it was possible to love you more. But now I do. Thank you so much from the animal sheltering world for opening your heart again to help these sweet babies. Elvis’s memory couldn’t be honored in any more valuable way.

    Love, me (aka the Strategic Business Officer for Wright-Way Rescue in Illinois)

    Reply

  19. Nikki Moshier
    August 17, 2016 @ 10:51 am

    So happy you are finding ways to soothe your pain. Keep fighting the good fight. XXOO

    Reply

  20. Suzanne Forbes
    August 17, 2016 @ 10:51 am

    Also, if you don’t fall in love with Berla, and another reader nearby doesn’t madly adore her like I already do, and someone who reads your blog is coming to Germany/Berlin, we would give her a home when she is ready and pay for the cat ticket/vet exam/shipping exam.

    Reply

  21. Rebecca
    August 17, 2016 @ 10:52 am

    You will live to love another purr! I promise!! We lost our beloved “Psycho” kitty after 21 years of feline parentdom. I, like you, was crushed. I waited and waited for the heartache to subside, but always felt as if I was betraying her when I looked at other kitties. Then my husband found and shared with me a poem he found from another grieving pet owner (that of course I can’t find now… ) that basically said the best tribute you can give a beloved pet is to share that love with other animals who have never or would never experience any. Here I am three years later and I’m Mom to two spoiled rotten gray bundles of fluff. I still miss Psych’, but now know how lucky these gals are to share her home and love. And despite my initial belief, I still have love to give!! Don’t procrastinate…Elvis wouldn’t want it. She knows how many cat years could be spent honoring her with loving another (or others!). I’ve cried with understanding through all your Elvis posts and as I type, I know you’ll lavish love on many love hungry kitties in your life. That’s who we are…. I recognize you! ?

    Reply

  22. Cyndi
    August 17, 2016 @ 10:52 am

    Thank you.

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  23. Alison
    August 17, 2016 @ 10:52 am

    <3

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  24. Diana
    August 17, 2016 @ 10:53 am

    Yes, to everything you said! I’m happy your sadness is motivating you to help cats/kittens that need it so badly.

    Reply

  25. Linda
    August 17, 2016 @ 10:56 am

    Adopt them all. None of them will replace Elvis but you will love them anyway. We have 4 rescue dogs and 2 rescue dogs. Life is good.

    Reply

  26. Lulu
    August 17, 2016 @ 10:58 am

    Last Sunday there was an article in the WSJ about Cats.
    Even though I am a Cat Owner (multiple times) of cat pairs, assuming that they needed and appreciated the company of another feline while we are gone for long stretches (work-school-play), I was somewhat surprised to read that cats really don’t want to share their space with ANY other animal. It stresses them out big time. The domestic cat is a solitary predator and doesn’t hang with other kitties the way bigger cats do.
    Nonetheless. I have two kitties and will always keep them in pairs. True, our male cat REALLY doesn’t like the little female we adopted after Lily died. She annoys him, swishing her tail in his face, crowding out his food dish, following him around the yard. She doesn’t smell like Lily and doesn’t have that regal demeanor.
    But. We are providing a home for two cats, not one, and making a small dent in the overcrowded shelter of our county.
    So. Go for it, VEB!
    You can never replace Elvis. 🙁
    But you may meet another rock star someday, or even a rock group. 🙂

    Reply

    • Yvonne Angus
      August 17, 2016 @ 3:33 pm

      I don’t know about cats in general not liking other cats. I have friends with multiple cats, and they play together, eat together and sleep together. One friend had an older male cat. She adopted a male kitten that her neighbor had to remove. The old man loved that kitten, and grieved for months, when, sadly the kitten passed from a congenital condition.
      I think it just has to be taken on a “per cat” basis.

      Reply

    • Catbird Farm
      August 17, 2016 @ 10:45 pm

      If that is the information the WSJ article gave you, it is absolute nonsense. Trust your own experience with cats, not some “expert.” This is concerning if it is giving people the idea that they cannot, in most cases, happily house multiple cats, because it translates to fewer homes available to other cats.

      Now, are some cats more likely to prefer being a bit solitary? Or completely disliking all other cats (a la Elvis)? Yes. Just like people there are cat introverts and cat extroverts. But in my experience, as a certified crazy cat lady, I can assure you the loners are in the minority.

      I have 10 indoor-only cats, 5 indoor-outdoor cats and an outdoor-only colony that is open to any cat who shows up – 2 meals a day, warm beds, vet care and lots of love all provided willingly 🙂 . Our outdoor colony is a mixed bag of tame, semi-tame and feral cats – last count was 20. That’s about 35 cats I’m able to observe daily – and I’ve been doing this for years.

      We have a large old farmhouse with plenty of room inside (3500 sq ft) so that any cat that wants private space can find it easily (no room is off-limits to them). Nonetheless, at any given moment you will find at least 6 of them sprawled on the sofa in my reading room, overlapping, snuggling, washing each other. (want proof? check out my instagram: @catbirdfarm)

      Outdoors, we have a number of acres of meadows, woods, pine forest, ponds, 3 barns – a lot of room for them to spread out and be totally alone if they want to be (plus no one is keeping them here – many of these cats find us on their own (or get dumped here by their irresponsible waste-of-space former owners – yeah, people who don’t take excellent care of animals really piss me off).

      Given all this space and freedom outdoors, do you know where they generally are? Together in a group! They all nap sprawled out on the warm driveway or deck or cool lawns, en masse they go for walks with me and my husband – we look like Mr and Mrs Pied Piper of Cats – and when I’m inside I see them heading off for walks in groups without us. Four, five, six, seven of them, all trotting along together out to the meadow, into the pine forest, hunting together by the pond (the poor frogs have a hard time of it), and often when one catches something, it will bring it back to share with the others. Some particular outdoor pairs are inseparable – like Po our feral matriarch, a plump calico, and Spooky, her regal all-black son – she’s 12 years old and he’s 7 and they are never more than a few feet away from each other. So the idea that “the domestic cat is a solitary predator and doesn’t hang with other kitties” is just complete and utter bollocks.

      So please, if you have the space and the means, don’t limit your cat household to just one cat – open your home and heart to as many as you can. I started with one rescue cat (from a farmer’s market – he’d been used as “target practice” by some asshat farmer) and over the past 20 years it has just kept going from there. I know I’m at the extreme end, but I do it because I can. When a starved mama cat or a malnourished barely-able-to-walk kitten just “shows up,” I can’t turn them away. And I’m the winner in all this because they give me so much love and pleasure every single day. Neither my husband nor I can imagine our lives without them.

      Ok, that’s my rant. Thanks to anyone who made it to the end.
      –Catbird Farm

      Reply

      • Deborah Burns
        August 21, 2016 @ 1:23 am

        What a lovely farm you have! I just started following you!

        Thank you for providing a home for all those cats!

        Reply

        • Catbird Farm
          August 21, 2016 @ 11:20 am

          Thank you, Deborah!

          Reply

  27. Ann Marie
    August 17, 2016 @ 10:59 am

    You said:
    “I do not think I will fall in love with her, but she will be a wonderful cat for someone and I am so thankful we are able to give her a home while she waits for her forever people.”

    Lol.. You keep telling yourself that… I expect the next entry in your blog will detail how cute they all are and how you decided you couldn’t part with any of them….

    I turned over a kitten I found on the street to the local shelter because hubby and I already had 4 cats and 2 dogs. Within 24 hours I was back there, frantically searching for her..and took her home. She passed last year at the ripe old age of 20..

    That’s why I don’t foster.. If 1/2 day was all it took for me to fall in love with that kitten, imagine what 2 or 3 weeks will be for you..

    Good luck!!

    Reply

    • Teri
      August 18, 2016 @ 5:51 pm

      Yep. I found a kitten in the Walmart parking lot. Drove straight to the shelter but they were closed. I was determined to take her in first thing in the next morning. By the time I finished the 10 mile drive home, she had so charmed me, the drive turned out to be her forever home. I think even my grumpy old man cat liked her. Eventually anyway.

      Reply

  28. Sheila
    August 17, 2016 @ 10:59 am

    I have 4 house cats, 5 makes crazy-cat-lady so you’re still good. The internet says so 😉

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    • Sheila
      August 17, 2016 @ 12:30 pm

      Oh! And I have a polydactyl cat – they are SO smart! And that thumb is about the Biggest, Fanciest Thing a cat could have. Ernest Hemingway had Polydactyls, so think about all the connections? Books, GFT, thumbs? Keep them ALL!

      Reply

  29. Nancy R
    August 17, 2016 @ 11:02 am

    In honor of Elvis I’ve adopted two older cats (brothers) who had been at the shelter for several months. Seems nobody wanted to adopt 2 cats but the shelter said they were so bonded that they wouldn’t separate them, so now they’ve retired to our home by the beach, with big double glass sliding doors that look out onto a patio filled with squirrels and birds. They each have their own basket, but prefer to sleep together, so somehow I know I’ve done a good thing by keeping them together. Kashmir and Hendrix want to say thank you to Elvis for inspiring me to adopt older cats.

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    • Victoria Elizabeth Barnes
      August 17, 2016 @ 11:04 am

      you made my day.
      xoxoxoxoxo.

      Reply

    • Catbird Farm
      August 17, 2016 @ 10:48 pm

      Thank you for doing that. The world needs more Nancy Rs.

      Reply

  30. SherryG
    August 17, 2016 @ 11:02 am

    You are doing a wonderful work. We have five animals, three cats and two dogs. All but one dog were rescues. The three cats were found by my husband at his job, two were abandoned by their owners at 10 days old (who does that?!), one was a one day old feral kitten separated from the mother. My teenage daughter and I hand raised all three. Lots of getting up in the night, just like having a human baby! I am very proud of my daughter, and how hard she worked with the last kitten, who is now her special cat Rajah. I also TNR’d seven cats in our neighborhood, and feed the colony. It is difficult with the scheduling, and you have to be feeding them regularly. That way you can withhold food for a few days to lure them in the trap. I have to admit, the three times I did it was exhausting! Once again, kudos to you for helping foster!

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  31. Betsy
    August 17, 2016 @ 11:04 am

    Your heart will always let you know when you’ve immediately found your next forever love. And those paws on Berla…I would have fostered her just to have those cute paws padding around my home!

    Thanks for the honest posts, albeit heart wrenching. We are in the final stages with our 16 year old beloved yellow lab. When I’m at my saddest times in life, it’s good to know I’m not alone.

    Reply

  32. Kathleen
    August 17, 2016 @ 11:05 am

    You have never been more lovely, even in ginormous ear ornaments. Thank you for being so proactive in saving animals.

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  33. Suzen
    August 17, 2016 @ 11:05 am

    Good for you, VEB, and good for the lucky cattins, too! We got our dog from Petfinder and didn’t find out until 5 years later that the so-called rescue was a nightmare. The owner of Golden S in South Carolina was charged with animal cruelty and sentenced to not operate a “shelter” for 5 years. Nice, sentence, right?! So, even if you get an animal from a reasonably reputable place, I learned you still have to do your due diligence. Our dog has high needs and because of this, we have expenses we didn’t plan on. We love him and will not relinquish him, but he has personality “issues.” Thanks for all your information on animals and your caring heart. The world needs you 😉

    Reply

  34. Constance
    August 17, 2016 @ 11:06 am

    The cat should always win. If they are bitterly unhappy with someone new coming in, well, think of it like this: your husband brings home a new wife for you to play with – how would YOU feel? Yeah, I thought so:)

    Unless of course you are traditional Mormon and then bond beautifully. (hee-hee) Which happens sometimes.
    I have had cats fall instantly in love with one another — or the established cat hates the newcomer and their is zero negotiation.
    Or it takes 3 full months of them being separated and eyeballing each other through the french doors until they are finally acclimated and don’t feel threatened.

    Love is love. Nobody will replace Elvis. And yet your big heart knows some other fur person needs love – and you are giving it as a foster mom.

    When you are ready – or if it is the right kitten, you will fall in love all over again (albeit differently), but still with your whole heart. Hearts have infinite spaces for love, and loving one cat doesn’t mean you loved the other cat any less.

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  35. Suzanne Steele
    August 17, 2016 @ 11:15 am

    I lover this post! So sweet! Now I want a box of kittens. 🙂

    Reply

  36. Fred Wishnie
    August 17, 2016 @ 11:16 am

    That’s a slippery slope there missy!
    We lived in an RV for nine years and had a small Shih Tzu for the entire time. We settled in Tucson last year and got involved volunteering at the shelter. A year later we have 4 dogs, 2 started as foster. It’s tough being around them and not falling.

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  37. Lucy
    August 17, 2016 @ 11:17 am

    How crazy, the first link about the man in washington – I know the girlfriend from facebook. She was mentally abused by him, and a lot of the pets were hers.

    Reply

  38. Toni
    August 17, 2016 @ 11:19 am

    Though we have had multiple cats throughout our 43 years of marriage, I’d like to think that every free kitten we took in was saved from a disastrous ending. We always, always neutered and spayed them and took responsible care of them until their life ended.

    I agree with the above thought…..somehow I see 4 cats in your future! You have too big of heart!

    Reply

  39. Maggie
    August 17, 2016 @ 11:20 am

    Hell yeah I’d be calling her Big Foot! I’d also be locking my refrigerator and just about anything else she could get those fancy thumbs into. I Love her feet! They are super fancy! Pinkies Up! (And the purring kittens: that sound never gets old. Did you know black cats/dogs are the last to get adopted? Superstitious idiots!)

    Reply

  40. Melissa
    August 17, 2016 @ 11:21 am

    Can’t stop watching the video
    All the cute!!
    I’m proud of you. So very,very proud.
    And I’m thankful for you too!
    Our sweet Oleander, who is 2ish now, was a rescue kitten.
    Thank you for the cute, but even more for the awareness reminder.
    You are such a doll!
    Big love to you, the kittens & Bigfoot ?

    Reply

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