Margaret Owen Thorpe, Minnesota, United States

She told me her name was Maybelline. She announced she was using my deck – and my deck chair – to raise her kittens. She proceeded to tell the dog next door that she was too busy being a mom to play with her. At the time, I worked with a rescue group, so I asked my experienced Trap-Neuter-Return colleagues if they could help me.

My rescue friends and I took the kittens and Maybelline to the rescue group’s shelter.

When I went to visit Maybelline at the shelter, she had just that day come back from being spayed and vaccinated. With the help of one of the TNR folks, I got her into a kennel to bring her home with me. She was a valiant, brave, tough little black alley mama.

I gave her a separate kennel in a separate room away from my other cats – all three of whom also arrived at my doors, unannounced and unplanned for. Two came also from the alley; the third brazenly came to the front door. Maybelline spent about 3 days acclimating. The next day, the big black alley guy – Julio – walked into her room. She looked at him and said, “Yeow, Zowee, I am in love!”

Three years later, she and Julio are still in love. She is no longer terrified and has become the lappiest lap cat who has ever lived with me.