One well traveled cat

In addition to regularly pulling from Cobb Country Animal Control and helping local shelters during hoarding cases, the Good Mews reach extends beyond the Metro Atlanta area.  Good Mews has a MOU’s (memorandum of understanding) in place with both the ASPCA and Noah’s Wish to take in animals, as our space allows, during times of disaster and crisis.

In 2011, we were contacted by the ASPCA after the floods in Kentucky and in 2010 we received 15 cats from a “sanctuary” in Pennsylvania that was forced to shut down.  These Pennsylvania cats came to us just before the 4th of July and received names appropriate to the holiday such as Washington, Jefferson, Sparkler, Firecracker and Braxton (it’s historically relevant, I promise.)

The cats arrived scared and with eye and upper respiratory ailments common to cats living in overcrowded conditions but with love, time and medical attention they learned to appreciate the good fortunes that had come their way.

Fast forward to January 1, 2011 and the sister of a volunteer visits the Good Mews website and spots this photo:

The picture that launched the journey

Paulette lives in Canada and was looking to adopt a cat.  She had visited  the website of her local shelter but no one caught her eye.   Knowing of Good Mews because of her sister she checked out our website as well.  I’ll let Paulette tell it from here:

Started going through the kitties for adoption and stopped at BRAXTON.  That picture of him just made my heart melt.  What a cute little face, he was orange and white (that was the color of Felix), the tattooed heart in his ear.  Did manage to check out the rest of the kitties but remember calling Bill (my fiancee) in to have a look at him. THAT WAS THE MOMENT!  Kept going back to his picture and reading his bio was unbelievable.    

Started back and forth with emails to Sandy asking a bunch of questions about him.  Couldn’t believe that he hadn’t been adopted yet with such an adorable little face.  Within a few days I knew I would take him in a minute, however, reality checked in.  To many variables.  What about the border crossing, didn’t want to traumatize him.  Hadn’t even met him yet.  What if he didn’t like me.  My heart was breaking for him, but wanted to be fair to him.  But at the same time I thought I may never find another Braxton.

My sister Annette was in on all of this as well. Emails from her back and forth were priceless.  She would email the picture of Braxton with little notes from him to me.  Annette & I even thought that maybe Sandy should adopt him so no one else would.  This went on for weeks.  I would love to send you some of the emails Annette sent.  I can’t thank her enough for doing that now.  The more I saw him the more I knew I wanted him.  I even printed out his picture and put it up by my desk at work (where it still is)  Have used that picture as our wallpaper on our computer (where it still is).  That picture is priceless.  

Needless to say, On February 2nd we had a snowstorm here (had a snow day) and got emailing back and forth with Annette re Braxton of course.  She was very supportive and it was then did I truly realize that he was to be my cat.  I emailed Sandy that day and told her I think she should put a notice on the website “Found Home”  Bill said if I truly wanted him no problem.  Would book the flight to go to Atlanta.  Can never thank him enough for that.  Sandy I’m sure thought I was nuts.  But it was meant to be. 

Then the paperwork started.  What had to be done, checked the website for importing a cat, what was required, etc.  Filled in the adoption papers, checked the flights, made sure good timing with Sandy, and prayed for good weather.  Flying from Buffalo in February can be tricky.  And like Annette said “what a better Valentine’s gift”  as that is the week end we were trying to make happen.  

The adoption was approved, travel papers for Braxton getting completed, checking the airline about flying home with him, and flight booked.  Fly in on Friday February 11th and fly home with him on February 13th.  As I sat on the plane to fly to Atlanta I kept saying to myself “this is the craziest thing I have ever done”.  But in my heart I knew it was the right thing to do.  My only concern was that he wasn’t going to like me.  

Sandy & Bill greeted me at the airport and off we went to get a quick meet with Braxton.  Much to my surprise he was much smaller than I thought.  But such a little sweetheart.  Spent a little bit of time on Friday, but it had been a long day.  Went back to Good Mews Saturday morning, but a little hard to bond in one day with a zillion other cats around and Good Mews was
having a Valentine’s Day Special so it was busy with people looking to adopt as well.  

He was fun to observe – much of a loner.  Did his own little thing.  Waited patiently and desperately for a bed to become available.  When he found it he pretty much stayed there. As you can see by the pictures he pretty much doesn’t have to worry about that anymore. Went off to find a travel bag to bring him home in.  Called Bill to tell him all about Braxton and how small he was.

Sunday morning came and it was time.  I was very anxious – not knowing how this was gonna go with traveling in a bag on a plane.  All so new for him.  Went to Good Mews and Joyce gathered him up and put him in his bag and away we went.  Kept a blanket over the carry bag so as not to spook him.  He traveled very well in the car, then on the shuttle into the airport.  And off through security we went.  Had to take him out of the bag, carry him through screening as the bag went through xray, then trying to put him back into the bag.  Had to have the security girl help.  Once back in, onto the train to our gate.  What a trooper.  Never made a peep.  Onto the plane and the bag went under the seat.  He moved around quite a bit in the bag during take off.  Just kept reaching down petting him. Once the plane was off he slept the whole flight.  Figure the hum of the plane kept him relaxed.  And perhaps it was also the Feliway that was sprayed in his bag before we left.

Landed in Buffalo a couple hours later and he met his Daddy for the first time.  Bill was thrilled.  I have to give Bill lots of credit for letting me do this in the first place.  He’s a real sweetheart.  

Got to the border and asked what we had to declare and I almost said a case of beer first, but stopped myself and Bill said we are
bringing home a cat from Atlanta.  “What they don’t have cats in Canada”?  Pulled us over to inspection.  The border guard was an older gentlemen.  Asked a bunch of questions first then had to take Braxton inside.  Didn’t have to take him out (thank God) checked all the paperwork.  I don’t think he really knew what to do, so says yeah o.k. all looks good off you go.

Got him home, and against all that you are suppose to do, opened the bag and out he jumped right away, and off he went exploring.  There was no stopping him. He slept under the spare bedrooms bed the first night.  The next couple of nights he did climb up and sleep with us on our bed.  But that was it.  It did take him quite a while to get used to everything.  He wasn’t really sure about us gong to bed at night, so he would meow quite a bit when it was all quiet.  When we were up he was fine. Only when we went to bed.  We knew he was settling in when that stopped.  Took him awhile to realize that he could sleep on the “BIG”couch and no one would fight with him to get off.  As you can see by some of the pictures. Wasn’t eating that great either, but that came in time.  I knew it would take a bit of time.  Big change from the 400 cats in a crappy environment, to a loving shelter but still way too many other cats to compete with.

It’s coming up to almost a year now, and believe me he has settled in quite well.  He is the most loving cat anyone could ever want.  He just loves attention and loves to be petted.  Everyone that meets him can’t believe how small he is.  Bill and I can’t understand how he ever survived  the sanctuary he was at in Pennsylvania.  He is so passive he just would have been
pushed around and how he is so loving when he probably didn’t get much of that either.

We are just so grateful that we found him on Good Mews website, that I had a sister (Annette) who must have known he was
meant to be with us.

So, today is Braxton’s 1 year anniversary in his forever home.  He logged a lot of miles – 794 miles from Pennsylvania to Georgia and another 940 miles to his new home – to get there but it was clearly worth it for him.  You deserve all the love and happiness you have now, Braxton!

To see photos of Braxton when he and the other Pennsylvania cats came to Good Mews and pictures of him in his home click on the Flickr button to the right.

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  1. #1 by rumpydog on February 13, 2012 - 7:39 am

    What a wonderful post! We’re gonna have to profile you on my blog sometime!

  2. #3 by Sandy on February 13, 2012 - 9:19 am

    What a wonderful Valentine’s Day story! Congrats to Braxton and his family.

  3. #4 by Peggy on February 14, 2012 - 8:40 pm

    That brought tears to my eyes! I adored sweet little Braxton when he first got to the shelter – we were amazed at how loving the PA kitties were after all they had been through. Braxton was adorable and loved to cuddle up in a warm lap and soak up affection. Thank you for giving this precious baby the loving home he deserves – you are obviously amazing parents!

  4. #5 by Teresa Nolen on February 17, 2012 - 10:16 am

    Now this success story made me cry…..tears of JOY. Fate for Braxton to find a loving Mom and Dad and get out of the Hell Hole of a life he lived in PA. Some things are just meant to be and his destiny was a long journey but oh so worth while. Thank God you never gave up in adopting him. Precious things come in small packages and Braxton’s small size only made him have a huge heart. You, Bill and Braxton were meant to find eachother. No matter how many miles between you love came together. Love at first sight by a unforgettable picture that will forever rest in you heart. This will be the most memorable Valentine’s ever. Have a purrfect life Braxton and tons of thanks to You and Bill for opening up your hearts and home to a Good Mews kitty. Fate brought you together. They leave pawprints of our hearts!!!!!

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