Last summer, my friend Bernadette lost her beloved cat Diz only three days before his 18th birthday. A few days after Diz passed away, a little tortoiseshell cat started showing up outside Bernadette’s home. We joked that Diz must have sent her.

Soon thereafter, Bernadette found out that a man in the neighborhood had called Animal Control to trap the little tortie. Bernadette spoke to the Animal Control officer and learned that her town runs a very successful TNR (Trap Neuter Release) program. Healthy cats are never euthanized. The little tortie had been spayed and then placed with a feral colony across the street from Bernadette’s home by the officer who runs the TNR program.

This little tortie, however, apparently decided that colony life did not suit her, so she crossed the road in search of a better place to call home. Bernadette had been feeding her and petting her, so she assured the officer that she would care for this little cat even if she remained an outdoor cat. This was fine with the officer.

Bernadette named her Chloe, fed her regularly, and slowly worked with her to build trust. She took Chloe to the vet for deworming and flea control. The vet guessed that Chloe was 6 or 7 years old and that at some point, she had likely been someone’s pet.


Chloe, however, showed no interest at that point in being a house cat. “The night I finally got her in, she practically killed herself trying to get out so I just let her go,” said Bernadette. “I have a little cat house for her in my entryway, and she spent lots of time there, but there’s no use trying to make her something she is not.” Bernadette would pet her over breakfast and dinner, and she would leave the garage door up in bad storms in case she wanted to come in. “She is who she is,” said Bernadette.


After about two weeks, little Chloe began visiting and “hanging out” on the screened in porch of Sue, the elderly lady next door. Sue had not been feeling well, had some trouble getting around, and over the past year or so had been somewhat withdrawn.

Chloe seemed able to pull Sue out of her “funk” and give her a point of focus. She would come inside Sue’s house for brief periods, but insisted on spending nights outside. Sue started feeding Chloe one meal a day, and slowly, Chloe started to trust her. She began jumping in Sue’s lap and purring and enjoying the attention.

Fast-forward a month to Hurricane Irma. Bernadette chose to evacuate but Sue did not. She said that she had survived many a hurricane in her 80+ years, and was not being intimidated by Irma. So, throughout the hurricane, even with no power, Sue cared for Chloe.


In the weeks after the storm, Chloe started staying inside at night at Sue’s house. She began sleeping in Sue’s bed at  night. She ate all her meals at Sue’s, and she started using a litter box. Chloe still ventures out during the day, but never leaves the immediate area of Sue’s or Bernadette’s homes. She comes home at dusk when Sue calls her.

Sue and Chloe have formed a “real bond,” as Sue put it. “It’s hard to tell who has benefited the most from this pairing,” said Bernadette. “Sue is feeling better, is more active and engaged, and laughs joyously with her beloved little cat. It brings joy to my heart.”

And in addition to becoming Sue’s new best friend, Chloe inspired Bernadette to participate in her local community cat program. She now feeds the colony of community cats Chloe was part of until she decided to cross the street and adopt her new senior human. “She is a smart little cookie with tons of tortitude,” said Bernadette.

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15 Comments on Who Rescued Whom? Tortie Adopts Senior Woman

  1. I’ve always been a dog person. Being disabled with back hip and nerve issues cats were a danger to me always wanting to wrap around my legs. Then my daughter found this pitiful little thing on the porch in the rain. After giving up on my “this is temporary till we find him a home” speech he became part of the family. Being raised with my rottweilers has made him a bit of a cat-dog. I have recently had extensive and painful leg surgery I was getting so angry with him because he wants to lay on that leg. We met a compromise and now bbn he lays between my legs with his head gently resting just below the insicion site. Until I found this website bit never occurred to me he is trying to help. I cried realizing how mean I’ve been to bvb ok m when all he was trying to do was help. P arts truly are Angel’s sent to heal bnb us both inside and out

  2. thank you for this nice story…I’m feeling in funk this morning and this helped. (I haven’t gotten new cats since my two died a couple years ago…due to my current life circumstances….And I miss kitties!)

  3. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful story. Chloe is such an amazing kitty. Now she can be safe inside a home and doesn’t have to worry about anything. We hope a lot of people hear about this story cause it’s really truly inspiring. Have a great day.

  4. what a darling story! and chloe is a beautiful little tortie. we lost ours a yr in sep. she also was an outdoor cat, and progressed much as chloe. she eventually became a housecat, traveled from NC to WV to FL where we lost her due to cancer. In NC we also had a feral tiger cat named tigger, and we went thru the same thing as Bernadette and Sue. she presented us with 2 kittens, we still have, but we couldnt take her away from her home in NC when we moved to WV. she worried me a long while, but I trusted the Lord to take care of her. there were some neighbors that didnt like her, and probably had her caught. cant think about that…..anyway, her two kittens are now 13 yrs old, her son has her feet so I think of her a lot. miss her too. Bless those two ladies and all who help/adopt these animals.

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