How My Rescue Cat Actually Ended Up Rescuing Me

How My Rescue Cat Actually Ended Up Rescuing Me

He is a survivor, just like me; a beautiful little soul with a whole lot of love to give. He is my best friend.

People talk all the time about how they have found their soulmate, whether it be their spouse, significant other, or their best friend. Mine just happens to be my cat. While other animal lovers will know exactly where I am coming from, some people just may not understand this; and that is okay. In life, you cannot expect people to understand something they cannot personally relate to or have not yet experienced. I may find the human version of my soulmate one day, but for now I'm perfectly content with my four legged companion. My "soulcat."

My cat Cinder is a really specially little guy. His life story is just as compelling as mine, and I truly believe that we were meant to find each other. He has the most amazing personality, but he didn't start out that way. I started volunteering at Branford Compassion Club, a local cat shelter, the summer before starting high school, a few months after undergoing my first of two heart surgeries. I was feeling lost and alone, in need of some sort of purpose. Little did I know I would find everything I needed and more within the world of non-profit feline rescue and adoption. I began healing myself from the inside out, getting to help amazing cats as well as finding some of the best friends I could have ever imagined through the other volunteers. I devoted my whole heart and soul into the mission, and I miss it dearly since moving away.

Cinder came to us in August of 2012 sometime, when he was around four months old. We received a call from an employee of a local CVS, reporting sightings of a small, gray kitten underneath the dumpster out back. One of our volunteers was able to trap him and bring him into the shelter. He was feral, most likely living in the woods nearby and going to the dumpster to look for food and to seek shelter from inclement weather. He was not fond of people to say the least, and spent most of the time cowering in the corner of his cage which was located in isolation. He also suffered from health issues, which ranged anywhere from Upper Respiratory Infections to Urinary Tract Infections. Because he was constantly isolated, none of the potential adopters even got to look at him. All of these things pretty much deemed him "un-adoptable."

At that time, I was already partial to gray cats as I had my guy Smokey at home whom I got in 2003 for my fifth birthday. I LOVE gray cats. Because of this, I think I took a special liking to Cinder. I worked directly with all the cats, but I started spending extra time with Cinder at the ends of my shifts, or I'd even go in on a day I wasn't on the schedule just to have extra time to spend with him. It was slow in the beginning, but slowly but surely he started coming around and I saw him starting to trust me in a way he didn't trust anyone else. I started administering his medications on all of my shifts, introducing him to different treats and toys that he had never seen before, and giving him all the love and cuddles he deserved. If someone else entered the room while I was with him, he would immediately try to put himself in a corner until they were gone. He wanted nothing to do with them.

This bond that we had created continued to grow, and I realized one day that I couldn't leave him in the shelter. I had to have him as my own kitten. It took a lot of conversing between the officers of the shelter, my family, and I, but soon enough on I was finally taking Cinder home.

After having Cinder for almost five years now, I have come to realize that we are the same soul in two different bodies. For starters, we are both chronically ill. Secondly, we are both motherless. I don't know what happened to Cinder's mom or to the rest of his litter, but he was clearly orphaned when he was found. I, on the other hand, watched my mom's life spiral downward since I was a little girl until I lost her to an accidental drug overdose in February of 2016. My mom got to spend a little over three years with Cinder, and she loved that cat. That cat was like her grandchild; and Cinder loved his Grammy.

Even when she was still alive, I was already grieving her loss. I knew it was coming. Cinder attached to me in a way where now, he truly thinks that I am his mother. We were both missing something in our lives, and we were able to fill each other's voids. Lastly, the way Cinder attached to me reminds me so much of myself as someone who suffers from Reactive Attachment Disorder. All of these similarities that we share are living proof that we were meant to find each other.

Cinder and I are much closer than most people are with their animals. He literally has been my rock since I brought him home, helping me deal with illness, emotional ruin, family turmoil, and the loss of my mother. I suffer from many mental health issues along with the physical ones, which can all be very overwhelming for me at times. He is so in tune to me and my needs: he knows when I am upset, when I am in pain or not feeling well, and when I need to be comforted.

A few days after I lost my mom, Cinder went missing. He was gone for a few days, and I was just totally distraught. I thought that he must have slipped out the door when someone was leaving. We searched endlessly, rescue volunteers left traps and helped us look in the middle of the night. It turned out that he was hiding in the ceiling in our basement, as he was so stressed out by all of the turmoil going on in the home, but for those hours without him I couldn't even function. It was because of this that I decided to register him as my Emotional Support Animal. He takes that title very seriously, as I swear he knows that he has a job to do and exactly what it is. It is his way of paying me back for saving him.

After I took him home, he ended up developing severe separation anxiety, to the point where he would get physically ill and completely anxiety ridden when I would leave the home. This got to the point where he would begin vomiting or having urinary issues where he physically couldn't urinate. He eventually needed daily anxiety medication to keep this under control. He was abandoned before, and every time I left he became terrified I was never coming back. He loves me so much; I am his whole world, and he just can't imagine it without me in it. He is so thankful for me.

After losing my mom, I decided I needed to make a life change. Cinder loved his home with Smokey and my grandparents, but when it was time for me to make my move I knew had to have him with me. He braved the trip from Connecticut all the way to Las Vegas like a champ, and made himself right at home into our new apartment. He's the king of his castle, and is now healthier than he's ever been. While he is only four and I hope to have many amazing years left with him, I know that I will never have another cat like him. He is one of a kind, irreplaceable, put in my life at the right time with a clear cut purpose.

I don't think I could have gotten through the events of the last four years without him, and the support that he provides to me on a daily basis. Unlike most people, Cinder has never abandoned me; no matter how unlovable I may have been at the time. He is my lovebug, my protector, my personal exterminator, 24/7 bug patrol, the welcome wagon that waits in the window for me to come home every day, the dream catcher that sleeps on my head every night to chase the nightmares away. He is a survivor, just like me; a beautiful little soul with a whole lot of love to give. He is my best friend. Mommy loves you, little man.

To follow Cinder's journey, you can like his Facebook page here:

Cover Image Credit: Mary Johnson Photography

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it


Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

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When You Give A Stray Cat A Home

Most people don't know the difference between a stray cat and a community cat, yet these animals lives depend on it.


The difference between a stray and a community cat.

Stray cats are people's pets who have become lost or abandoned. These cats are very friendly and comfortable around people. Stray cats are usually completely reliant on humans and haven't been able to adapt to life in the wild. They're the ones that will usually post up in your backyard or garage, hoping you'll feed them or give them some love. Community cats are those that have likely been raised in the wild. They've adapted to living on the streets, tend to keep their distance from humans, and like it this way. Community cats often live in colonies that allow them to live a longer life- especially with the help of a human caretaker. Caretakers provide spay/neutering, shelter, and regular feedings for community cats; allowing them to survive and live a long, happy life.

When you give a stray cat a home, you potentially save a life.

It's a tough world out there. Stray cats face many dangers in the wild like starvation and extreme weather conditions. Most of the kittens born in the wild will die within their kitten-hood due to diseases, parasites, and infection that they've been exposed to in the environment. Even then, if they survive their first few months their lifespan is still only expected to be about two years living on its own. People can be cruel and will set poison traps among other cruel attempts to eliminate the stray and community cats (In MY college town, there was food found on the side of the road where a colony of community cats lived that contained razor blades intended to harm them).

When you give a rescue a home, you give a rescue hope.

While some stray cats learn to adapt to the wild, "community cats" often tolerate human interaction, and in some ways, depend on humans for survival. These animals may be shy and abused by strangers in the past, but give them a chance. Offering help and kindness to a stray or community cat can encourage them to warm up to you, and give them a sense of hope. They have feelings too.

When you give a stray a home, you gain a best-friend

As I said before; a "home" to a stray doesn't even have to be living inside your house; a home to a stray could be your garage, under your porch, or any type of shelter around your house. Remember, these cats are likely to approach you and want affection. When you offer them shelter and food, they will become your best friend. ALL of my animals are rescues. We share a special bond, and they are so thankful and absolutely know who rescued them from the dark. They'll always be by your side and love you no matter what.

When you give a stray a home, you give them love, security, hope, and life.

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