The Journey of a Shelter Cat


We have been asked many times, by many people, why someone would adopt a cat from out of state when there are very likely cats in their area that need homes. There are several reasons, but to me the most profound of those reasons is Love.

Social media has impacted so many aspects of our lives, and as cat lovers it only makes sense that we look at pictures of cats in whatever way we are connected. Social media has allowed thousands more people to see the plight of shelter animals across our country. It has moved many people, in many different ways, to help those cats. For some, it is crossposting. For others, it’s sponsorship.

Rescue groups have sprung from the ground like new grass in the spring, creating other ways for us to reach out and help homeless cats. There are fosters, transporters, networkers. The call goes out, wi-fi kicks in, and more and more cats are saved every day. But there is a methodology that must be applied in order for all of this to come together, in order to save that cat sitting in a shelter looking at nothing but death in the morning if someone doesn’t speak up. It takes teams of people to make a save work. Where once we would say, “It takes a village.” We now are able to say, “It takes a nation.”

Let’s hear it straight from one such cat. This is Jaguar, aka Jag’s, story. Keep in mind what I said in the beginning, the most profound reason is Love.

“I don’t know how I got here but I know I don’t like it. It’s loud, and cold, and nothing soft to lay on. No one will listen to me meow. It must be because there are so many others meowing. I can hear barking too. And there is a smell here, a smell that scares me for some reason, but I don’t know why. All I want to do is get away. The meow that was next to me yesterday was a different meow than I hear today. I hope that meow found someone to listen. I’m sick now. I can hardly breath, and my eyes are all funny, I don’t want to eat anymore. I really wish someone would hear my meow. A nice lady came by a few sleeps ago and took my picture. She heard my meow and stroked my fur. I thought she was going to take me with her. But then she closed the door to my metal box and moved on. I wonder why she didn’t like my meow. I heard her say, “kill listed” but I don’t know if that means she will be back for me or not. I know I have a person out there somewhere, I don’t think it was the lady that heard me meow. I wonder where my person is. How long will it take them to find me? Do they know I’m here?”


Jag shelter pic


“Maybe this is my person, she has heard my meow and is taking me out of the cold box with nothing soft to lay on. Why are they putting me in another box? It’s all closed up and I can’t see much, but I feel me moving. It must be a good thing, that awful smell is going away.”

 Jag’s person lives in Tennessee. In December, she was tagged by a friend on Facebook with a picture of this sick little stray in a kill shelter in Florida. They tagged her because she knows people, has connections, has a network, and a weakness for black cats. What that friend didn’t know at that time was, she had found Jag’s person. Jag’s person sees lots of homeless shelter cats on Facebook every day. But Jag was different, and his person has never been able to say why that picture made her do what she did. All she knows is that as soon as she saw that picture there was a connection. It was like he was looking into her heart and asking her why she wasn’t there to get him.

Things snowballed from there. Jag’s person sent a message to a friend in Florida, who in turn contacted one of her friends. That friend runs a rescue, and placed the call to let the shelter know that Jag’s person had been found. Someone would be there within 24 hours to spring him. The very next day, Jag was on his way to the vet. He was a very sick kitten, but the vet felt he would be okay, and with proper care would one day grow to be a rather large cat. The foster kept him overnight, but became worried when he wouldn’t eat. So she took him to the rescuer. The rescuer had to force feed him, but he was on the mend and able to eat on his own in a couple of days time. She became his surrogate for two months. By February he was ready to go home. Imagine Home happened to be doing a transport the following weekend, from Florida to Michigan, for two cats out of Miami, so it seemed to be the perfect time to get him home.

Jag left his foster/rescuer on Friday, and spent the night in Orlando with a very special friend. He joined the transport midway through Florida, on Saturday. He only made it as far as Atlanta, GA that first day before they all stopped to spend the night. The next day would be the last day Jag would ever wonder if the right person heard his meow.
“I thought I was home. But then someone put me in a little box and took me away. At least I could see out the door of this one. It was a very confusing time. I remember faces looking at me, and saying ‘how darling!’. I’ve since learned that’s a good thing. But even though I meowed at all of them, none of them ‘really’ heard me, but I could tell they tried. And then there she was. I could see in her eyes that she had been waiting for me to come and meow for her.”
First time ever seeing him
“I knew she was mine. It’s funny how I knew I was finally home. Really, properly, finally home with my person. I knew it as soon as I stepped out of that little box.”
you can be my new forever mama
“I have grown into a cat now. I’m more than twice the size I was when I got here. There are no other meows here, but there is a barker that I like to play with. That cold metal box with nothing soft to lay on, the fear and smell, the not knowing what would happen to me is a very distant memory. I’m so glad my person found me. I meow it to her all the time, and let her know by laying on her and rubbing her face with mine. She says I have a big purr. I don’t know what it took to get me here, I’m just glad my person made it happen.”
brubbies cropped 8-26-15  Snapshot_20151105_2
So you see, it takes teams of people coordinating efforts to save a cat. And remember what I said in the beginning about Love? I know this because I am Jag’s person. I wasn’t really looking for a cat. I knew my cat would eventually find me. I knew he would be from a kill shelter. I didn’t go to my local shelter because that shelter has a no kill policy, their cats are safe.
So when you see a picture of a cat that touches you in some way, please remember: There are many ways of helping shelter cats.
                              Share ~ Foster ~ Donate ~ Drive ~ Adopt
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About Kelly Radcliff

A tiny little house panther, abandoned, middle of winter. His little meows could be heard outside my window where he was attempting to stay warm next to the heat and air unit. A call to my landlord told me that his people had moved away days ago. That was in December of 2011. I couldn't keep him, though I wanted to. So I found him a home. In New York. I'm in Tennessee, so I had to find a way to get him there. He arrived on Christmas Eve. That is how I ended up doing what I do. There are so few advocates, rescues, fosters, adopters, and transporters and way too many kitties. I can actually do very little of any of those if at all. But I can help put a transport together. I can bring the right people together. I can inspire and can make people see that they can do something. And along the way I have made many friends, and found my sisters. Imagine Home is a creation of love. It comes from our hearts and lives in our souls. We will always be here, for there will always be kitties that need us.

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