Author: Maria

Sometimes, there’s something or someone that comes along, seemingly broken and imperfect, but with heart—a heart that changes the way the world looks at one’s flaws. Sometimes, it’s a cat. And sometimes, it’s a cat who manages to completely win everyone’s hearts and create a multi-national phenomenon: that’s Lil’ Bub for you.

cat stories

Born to a feral stray in 2011 in rural Indiana, one could say that she had a rather challenging start in life. But being thrust into the world with nothing but a tool shed to protect her and her siblings from the elements was the least of her problems. She was the tiny, tiny runt of the litter. Her legs were not proportioned to her small body, with her unusually long body and her stunted, little legs. Her lower jaw was significantly shorter than the upper one, causing her tongue to permanently hang out of her mouth.

Seeing her obvious deformities and her need for special care, she was taken in as a rescue in the hopes of giving her a higher chance at survival. She had difficulty feeding from the bottle because of her misshapen mouth, and it soon became apparent that it was going to be quite problematical to find her a forever home.

cat stories

But find a forever home, she did. She was adopted by Mike Bridavsky, who christened her Lil Bub—because of her adorable little tongue.
The happy ending would have to wait, it seemed. Lil Bub was then diagnosed with a multitude of congenital health conditions and issues that will have to be treated and managed for life. Her face and body will remain small and kitten-like forever. And while the concept sounds adorable, she will also have to deal with her dwarfism, which not only means her legs will remain stubby and disproportioned, it will also cause difficulties in even the simplest and most basic of movements, such as walking.

And it doesn’t stop there. At one year old, Lil Bub was also diagnosed with osteopetrosis, a genetic condition where the bones of the body grows denser and denser over time, and coupled with dwarfism, will render her immobile if left unchecked. This disease is so rare, that Lil Bub is the only cat ever recorded to have had this illness—that made coming up with a treatment plan quite difficult.

cat stories

But Lil Bub wasn’t going to let any inborn issue prevent her from waddling around with her twenty-two (yes, twenty-two!) toes and claws and living her life to the fullest. Her healthy appetite more than made up for her permanent lack of teeth, and her exceptionally pleasant demeanor made her the perfect patient, taking on her pulsed electromagnetic field therapy like a pro. Dubbed as a space traveler by her human, now fondly called “her dude,” she easily rides buses, trains, planes, and even Mike’s shoulders—the perfect travel companion for any occasion.

From Bridavsky’s personal Tumblr posts, she was shot to fame when her heartwarming story of rescue and survival, unique appearance, and adorably charming personality flooded the online community and social media world. Now Lil Bub’s website, facebook page, instagram, and other sites have garnered millions of followers from all over the globe—so much so that she had successfully launched a merchandise store, released an album, published books and printed products, produced a whole multitude of videos, and earned countless fans who crowned studios, malls, schools—whichever venue she’s scheduled to make an appearance. Not bad at all for someone born in a tool shed and diagnosed with a disease that would cut her life short!

 

pettingcat

I cannot make the sound, can you?
I know no one else
able to, from the throat emit this
low frequency, rebounded and repeated
gaining decibel but maintaining
feral, wild rolls like Spanish R’s—false
imitations of pure happiness with eyes
closed and mouth—I can’t roll a tongue
tight-lipped.

Can you be perfect
in joy; content just lying down
on a pair of jeans, a pair of sweats
blindly offering love in return
for a pat on the head?

When the “barrier”
of language exists, we recede
and keep our untrusting walls
distancing that hand, my vulnerability;
not like them. Sounding bells, beacons
of shining glee—

How do you
describe it? Pure pleasure, not
for anyone, not for everyone;
not continuous like a dog
tail-wagging here, there; no. Only
for one moment, guard down, claws in,
calm—that cannot be glazed over
but onomatopoeia; not a bang, or buzz,
or boom; No, not a purr.
Cats don’t purr.

Poem and Illustration: Shelly Leung

I don’t know what possessed me;
he wasn’t the gray childhood cartoon
I sympathized with but a golden-black
idol glowing by the streetlamp moon.
Maybe it was his marble-green eyes
he looked at me, through me
from the abyss.

Un-curious,
his stereotype seemed inappropriate,
only ever regarded me once
at a bus stop. He already sat
centered atop a metal black bench, eyes
un-wavered from the spot I vacated.
As I approached; no

arched back or hisses; simply turned
midnight marbles as if to ask, “Are you
waiting, too?” Without answer, he
lifted one paw, pat my arm and leapt
forward, a jingle of bells as he landed
at my feet, once more flashed eerily
green light on my being before the turn

no more lights, as if the street itself turned
tar black. Melted into the cavernous night,
a light mew–good bye. A light shown,
finally the bus; boarded, but out the window
I saw no green eyes. On faith, I waved
into the night. “Good night, Jerry”
hoping he would catch my farewell.

-Shelly Leung

cat poem I named him Jerry

 

Cats sleep, anywhere,
Any table, any chair
Top of piano, window-ledge,
In the middle, on the edge,
Open drawer, empty shoe,
Anybody’s lap will do,
Fitted in a cardboard box,
In the cupboard, with your frocks-
Anywhere! They don’t care!
Cats sleep anywhere.

Eleanor Farjeon (13 February 1881 – 5 June 1965)

Eleanor Farjeon (13 February 1881 – 5 June 1965) was an English author of children’s stories

and plays, poetry, biography, history and satire.

cat sleeping

“Snickers! Snickers!” “Oh man! Where is he?” I cried. “Mom did you see Snickers?” I asked. “No,” she said. “I’ve told you a million times to keep the door closed and now the cat is out again,” she said, as she rolled her eyes in disgust. I really didn’t know what she was talking about, she never tells me to close the door and I didn’t have the door open this day, but she did have her bedroom window open and I bet Snickers jumped out of her window. “Now go outside and find him, and hurry up because dinner is almost ready!” she said.

cat stories

 

So I left out, fearing Snickers was gone forever. He had never been gone this long before and I tried everything. I put food in his bowl on the front porch, jingled his favorite toys and even wound up they toy mouse that made mom yell at Snickers all night, and nothing. I went over to Frank’s house. Sometimes Snickers liked to run through Frank’s yard and tease his dog Tiger. Sometimes I liked to tease Tiger too, it’s funny when she gets mad and barks all crazy. I surpassed the front door. I mean Frank is my best friend he doesn’t care if I’m in his yard. I wondered the back yard and as soon as I turned the corner of his basement door I heard a growl. “Huh,” I thought. “Tigers never loose,” so I kept going.

All of a sudden, I felt heat swelter from the bottom of my feet to the top of my head, my eyes opened so wide I could feel my eye lashes almost touch my forehead. There was Tiger, no chain, no collar and a look of revenge on her face. “NOOOO!” I yelled as I dashed the opposite direction. She was hot on my tail, nipping at the back of my paint legs. Not only did I lose Snickers, but I might lose my life too! I grabbed a hold of a tree and climbed as fast and as high as I could, while Tiger looked up trying to figure out how to get up the tree. “Oh please, I hope she can’t climb, I don’t want him to catch us,” “Us?” I thought. “Wait a minute… huh?” I looked to my left… “Snickers!” Snickers must have been teasing Tiger and she chased him up the tree. She jumped in my arms. “Yes!” I thought. Then I looked down. Tiger was still there, she killed two birds with one stone; well a boy and a cat with one stone.

cat on tree

Now I’m stuck in a tree, with Snickers, a revengeful dog and an irritated mother at home. SNAP! “AAAHH!” The tree branch snapped, I held on to Snickers as tight as possible, grabbed another branch with my loose hand. I could still see Tiger, now she had her head cocked to the side in confusion. Worse just got worse! I had to do something and quick because my hand was hurting and slipping; I knew if I survived my hand would sting forever, but who cares right now? I let go! I heard Snickers let out the biggest fear filled “Meeeooow,” ever known to man! Tiger scrambled away, I fell on my bottom, but it didn’t hurt.

I was still alive. I looked up. I turns out I didn’t climb high at all, it felt like I climbed twenty feet, but it was only five. I looked at Tiger, she looked at me, and Snickers looked at both of us. Snickers and I took off running! I heard Tigers feet scramble on the ground as she struggled to start running. We raced across the street, slammed through the door and quickly locked it. Fell to the floor searching for just a smidge of air. Snickers looked at me then jumped in the window sill to watch Tiger. After catching by breath, I grabbed Snickers and went to my room. My hand was still stinging and my pants were ripped, but I found Snickers. That’s all that matters.

Winter can be a beautiful time of year . . . snowmen, icicles, trees hanging heavy with piles of glittering snowflakes . . But, along with all that beauty comes cold, sometimes frigid weather. The average temperature in Finlay, Ohio in January is about 25 degrees Fahrenheit. That may not seem like the coldest place to be in the winter but, when you are stuck in a wet, icy drainpipe with no blanket and no food for a few days . . . then it probably seems like the coldest place on earth.

Susan Orians was passing by Donnell Middle School in Finlay, Ohio on a Wednesday evening in January of 2014 when she heard a noise coming from the downspout on the school’s wall. Upon closer inspection she realized it was the faint meowing of a cat. Susan went home and returned with tuna to try and coax the cat out. Other bystanders had gathered and they also tried to help free the crying cat. One helpful bystander even tried a cellphone app that meowed. But, nothing could lure the cold, scared little kitty out. Finally, the small group of would-be rescuers made the decision to contact the school first thing in the morning. The concerned group disbanded but not before vowing to return the next day and try and help with the rescue.

When the school received Susan’s call early Thursday morning they quickly contacted the Hancock County Humane Society. Employees and volunteers of the humane society arrived on the scene and began working to save the cat.

PIPER cat storiesA hole was cut in to the downspout then food and catnip were placed in to try and entice the cat out. After some time had passed with no sign of the cat, a camera was placed in to the downspout. They soon discovered that the cat was too big to fit through the downspout and gain freedom. After exhausting all their efforts, workers left the scene around 8:30pm on Thursday evening but vowed to return the next morning with a solution to save the poor feline. Early Friday morning the workers returned to the school and began digging out the buried portion of the drainage pipe. By 10am on Thursday, the cat was finally freed from the pipe.

The orange male cat was very muddy and emaciated. He was quickly taken to the local veterinarian where he was found to be suffering from hypothermia. Upon further inspection, the poor cat was found to have a broken leg and other injuries that indicated more trauma than what the drainpipe could have done. Though he was battered and beaten, he was expected to make a full recovery.

The loyal group of volunteers who helped rescue the stranded cat decided to name him “Piper” in reference to his time spent stuck in the drainpipe. They learned that Piper most likely crawled into the pipe through a drainage basin located on a nearby street. Most likely hiding from whatever threat had injured him in the first place.

The positive side of Piper’s story is that his rescue made headlines and garnered much attention. Many people came forward with requests to adopt the cat and give him a forever home. Happily, Piper won’t need to worry about being caught out in the cold, harsh winter any more.

cat storiesIn 2011, a married couple had just made the agonizing decision to put their long-time cat companion to sleep due to health issues. Their house seemed quiet, empty and lonely without the sweet “meow” of their loving fur-daughter, Misty. They decided to make a trip to the local Humane Society to see what cats might be looking for homes. They walked in to the cat room at the Humane Society and were greeted with about 15 cats walking, lounging, playing and napping. Immediately a black cat walked up to the gentleman (Don) and started rubbing against his leg’s, purring as loudly as he could.

Don’s wife was busy eyeing up a calico kitty named Princess who was busy ignoring all the visitors in the cat room. Don told his wife that he was certain the black kitty was “the one” and was ready to sign the adoption papers that day. His wife, however, talked him in to waiting a few days. She explained that she didn’t want to rush the decision, especially after losing their dear Misty such a short time ago. Don agreed to come back to the shelter in a few days and see if they felt the same connection to the black cat.

Don and his wife returned to the shelter two days in a row and each time they entered the cat room the black kitty walked right up to Don and began purring and rubbing against his legs. By the third visit, both Don and his wife were convinced that the black kitty was meant to come home to live with them. They could no longer deny that the cat had a very strong connection to them and needed to become their new companion.

After signing the adoption papers and placing the cat in a carrier, the couple was on their way home when they decided to stop at their vet’s office to make sure the feline didn’t have any known health issues. They had already decided on the name “Mario” and, so, introduced him to the staff at the vet clinic as such. Don and his wife were retired and lived on a fixed income so they were happy when the vet declared Mario to be a healthy cat except for one issue . . . he needed to have his teeth cleaned. The vet estimated that Mario might need one tooth pulled during the cleaning and also informed the couple that Mario had an active infection in his mouth (probably due to needing a cleaning).

The couple scheduled Mario’s teeth cleaning straight-away and all went as expected except that Mario developed another infection after it was done. The vet prescribed antibiotics to clear it up, however, one infection lead to another . . . then another . . . then another! Several rounds of antibiotics later and their vet finally referred Mario to an Animal Dentist about 50 miles from where they lived. The dentist diagnosed Mario with stomotitus and said that he needed to have all of his teeth pulled over a 5 month period. The couple was devastated!

After all of the surgeries were completed the total they spent on Mario’s teeth was over $10,000! They had to dip in to their retirement fund to cover the cost.

The silver lining?

Mario’s wonderful family doesn’t regret for one moment adopting the black kitty and bringing him in to their lives. They consider his adoption to be the best decision they have ever made. Mario now uses his story as a teaching tool on Twitter and encourages other feline pals to see an animal dentist whenever he hears they have infections that never clear up. Stomotitis is a very serious desease and can eventually cause death or very serious health problems. Mario was one very lucky cat to find such a loving family!