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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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.

Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.

7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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An Open Letter To Any Cat Lover

Some days a girl just needs her furry friends to make her heart feel warm and fuzzy.


My family has always had a true passion for animals, but we are especially fond of that special species called felines.

I do not have a single memory of my childhood that does not involve a cat. When I say my family adores these animals, please believe I mean it to the highest degree.

My dad loves cats. My mom loves cats, my sister loves cats, and my brother-in-law just recently became a cat daddy. I mean you have got to understand that this HUGE.

Our love for cats is a generational phenomenon. My grandparents all love cats. My uncles all have cats. My cousins all have cats. One could easily see that we take our love for cats seriously.

Since I have moved out of my parents' house, my love for kitties has only grown. Anytime that I get to go back home, I immediately jump out of the car, because my cats are right outside of my door because they miss me as much I miss them.

I currently have two cats. Tiger, my little old but still sassy cat, and Stuart, who goes by "Stewy" for short and always drools when you pet him. They have my heart I tell ya.

They love to come inside with me and eat treats out of my hand and just enjoy all of the attention. My parents are constantly sending me pictures of them, sometimes without me even asking, because they just know that I utterly adore them.

Tiger and Stuart are special companions for me. They know when I am happy, sad, or tired. I especially love that they curl up with me for naps.

They will meow a lot when I keep getting up to do things and all they want is to be held. They will sit in front of their water bowl until I give them fresh water from the sink (they are treated like royalty if you could not tell). They are sometimes all I need when I come home on the weekends.

I know that I will always have a cat in my life to be a furry companion. Marrying a man that is allergic to cats is simply not an option unless he is willing to compromise and get his allergies taken care of.

If you do not like cats, I completely understand, but please give them a try.

p.s. I am about to go home for spring break and you best believe that my kit-cats are about to be spoiled rotten.

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