Story Submitted by Deb Kelley

This is a story about a kitten who fixed three broken hearts and about another who led us to him.

Holly was a tiny solid black kitten that my husband, Ken found on Halloween – thus his name. The dogs were barking at this little guy curled up in a ball in their food bowl. We think the dogs scared his mama and she abandoned him. Ken brought this scrawny kitten into my office and sat him on my lap. I didn’t need another animal. We already had dogs, but Holly looked up at me and snuggled into my lap, and I was done for. But at our first visit to the vet, we learned Holly had feline leukemia but was asymptomatic. The veterinarian said that as long as he wasn’t showing signs of the disease and we didn’t have other cats, he’d make a fine pet. Holly, it appeared, was not a cat at all, but a sweet-tempered, needy human in the thickest black fur coat. This little malnourished kitten grew up to be a huge, part Maine Coon. When he wanted attention, he would mew, stretch his paws up to be lifted like a child, and wrap his paws around our necks and give us a nuzzle hug. We could not leave the house without giving Holly a hug. This routine lasted for 10 years. When Holly passed, I couldn’t think of replacing him. He left an empty spot and I’m tearing up now 20 years later thinking about him. That’s the indelible impact this cat made on my heart.

A couple of months after his passing, my daughter showed me a little white female puffball on the humane society’s adoption page on PetFinder. We decided this little girl would be exactly what we needed. We visited the humane society and she was at the bottom of three levels of cages. My daughter sat on the floor and tried to play with her, but she spat, growled, and glowered in the corner of the cage. Her temperament was definitely the opposite of her photo online. Directly above her cage on the first level, this chunky gold, black, and white kitten was doing everything in his power to get noticed. He meowed, literally slammed himself against the cage door, and reached out his paw as far as it would stretch to try to get my daughter’s attention. I read his name on the cage door: Fiz. Fiz was determined to not be ignored. We took him into the playroom and his personality matched his name: fizzy. He bounced around the playroom, darting after toys, cuddling in our laps, and giving head butts. It was at that moment, he adopted us. Whereas Holly gave hugs, Fiz (we kept his name because first, he knows it and second, there’s no better description for this crazy cat) gives kisses and head rubs. He also enjoys watching TV with us. If we put on animal videos on YouTube, he will sit and watch alert until the video ends. He’ll also come and stand in front of me and wait for me to rub my forehead on his forehead, then he’ll go kiss my husband’s bearded chin and lay in “his” designated spot on the top of the bed, centering himself between the two us with paws outstretched and kneading. Or on the pillow behind me. Or on top of my laptop. Pretty much our bedroom is his domain. He just lets us sleep and watch TV there. I am convinced Holly led us past the high-maintenance Persian and to our regal, gold-eyed vocal little boy who has been a never-ending source of nuzzles for over 10 years.