No Pawlace Like Home

“Turtley does look like giant pile of cat toys,” Pokey said remembering their friend’s description. “Who tell you it look like pawlace?”

“Nobodies,” Harry replied, “but duh cool cats should have pawlace…”

“Turtley. I not see any cats. You smell dem?” 

“Day is there. Not smell barry cool dough,” Harry replied as the ship hit the water, softly floating towards the shore.

The Hall of Fame felines had been watching and listening the whole time, hidden in the shadows. “Who you calling smelly, tortiturd?”

“Who you calling tortiturd, fluffy farts?” Harry was shocked and defensive. 

“Shelloooooo…” Pokey slid down the balloon as fast as she could to mediate, releasing just in time to fall down onto her sister’s back.

“Meow!” The surprise impact of her shell was more than uncomfortable for Harry. “I hates when you does dat.”

“Turtley not sorry.” Pokey said, clinging to her sister.

The Hall of Fame felines crept out of the shadows to surround their visitors, but Harry didn’t actually want to get in a cat fight and stayed balanced on the edge of the ship looking down on them. “Is you duh cool cats we hears about?” 

“Ya,” they squeaked in unison. 

“Is you cool as duh Ryan Gosling?”

“Who dat? We cool like duh Beatles and duh Eagles,” the scruffy tabby cat replied. 

“Turtley haven’t met him but meowmy say she need be famous like duh Ryan right meow so Bills not make her work,” Harry explained. 

“Please?” The tabby looked confused. 

“You from Buffalo?!” A tiny white kitten squeezed through the crowd, staring up at her with awe.

“Does I look like buffalo to you?!” Harry sassed.

“Not duh animal, duh place. My purrents move to Buffalo with hoomans dat loves Bills…” the kitten replied with tears in its eyes.

The tabby hugged her close. “Dis your home. We is your family meow.”

“Yous no has hooman?!” Although she preferred being the only cat her family, Harry was shocked to hear that not all kitties have a human attending to their needs.

“I did once…” the scruffy tabby began, “but I spent one day on the patio alone… just to get some space… and my brother wouldn’t let me back in the house. It was like he completely furrgot who I was somehow.”

“Is called Non-Recognition Aggression Syndrom.” A giant orange cat that was lounging at the side of the crowd chimed in. “My sister kicked meowt. She say I not smell duh same.”

“How dat pawsible?!” Harry had never shown so much concern for another feline. “Why duh hoomans let dem do dis?!”

“Turtley uncool,” Pokey added. 

“My hoomans tried meowy hard to make brother be nice but he not listen. I sneak out while day was sleeping so day not stop me,” the tabby explained. “Day separate us so we no fight. Twas meowy lonely. Me no likee.”

“Dis happen to all of yous?” Pokey asked. 

“No. Most of us never had our own hooman,” the kitten replied. 

“Turtley not know so many kitties not have hooman…” Harry muttered, thinking about the porch under which she was born. “Sound like duh cool cats not know duh hoomans who can help meowmy…”

“We also comes to settle debate,” Pokey thought it was the perfect time to change the subject. “Sissy and I turtley been fighting bout dis fur way too long… rock or pop?” 

“Please?” The Hall of Fame felines tilted their heads in confusion. 

“Which moozak better? Rock or pop?” Harry’s mood was instantly transformed. 

“Dat meowy strange question,” the orange cat replied. “Why need choose? New someday be old and old become new again. Is same with moozak.” 

“Need choose so sissy and I not fight,” Harry insisted. “Dis place fur famous musicians? Day is rock or pop?”

“Day once like pop but now more rock,” the orange cat reasoned. 

“You guys is turtley not helping,” Pokey whined. “Bills is in Buffalo?” 

“Ya,” the Hall of Fame felines chimed.

“Purrfect! We use cuteness to control bills so Bills not control meowmy. How we find duh Bills?” 

“Is up duh pike at skinny end of lake. If see duh waterfall yous went too far. Good luck! We hear Bills is meowy tough.”

Harry took a quick cat nap while Pokey made her way back up the balloon. The Hall of Fame felines watched to make sure their friends got out safely then crawled back into the shadows. Harry and Pokey kept their eyes peeled for Buffalo, but flew straight past, unable to recognize the town.

Cartoon by Rachel Hoyt
with background image by Roselie

To be continued…

This story was inspired by the fact that classic rock music truly calms Pokey down when she is pacing her tank to show she wants to go outside. Since we have all been “stuck in our tanks” this year, The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is just one of the many non-profit organizations that needs our support. Click here to visit their website to make a donation or plan a trip.

Please leave us a comment if you know an awesome non-profit that deserves our support and help keep this journey going by purchasing Turtley Pawsome merch. Follow us here, on Facebook, and on Instagram to make sure you don’t miss the next story.

Duh Birdy

“All duh coolest cats there,” Figaro shouted as his friends headed out. “Duh building look like giant pile of cat toys by lake. Purrfect place to park! Meowy lucky you fly boat.” His friends waved, but we’re too consumed by their music debate to respond. 

Pokey had been a fan of classic rock as long as she could remember. It was the thing that most helped her adjust to indoor living after her walkabout. She knew their mom had sung far more classic rock songs over the years but Harry refused to allow evidence from before she was born. “You is turtley too young to know duh best music,” Pokey muttered. 

“What dat?” Harry yelled. “I not too young fur nothing! Younger is better!”

“Turtley not true.”

“You just says dat cuz you old… but I went karaoke with meowmy and she a sucker for da pop. We bop to da pop. What more need know?” Harry began to bounce the ship around the air. “See? Dis beat meowy fun. Dis beat pop, not rock.”

Pokey was too busy holding on for dear life to protest. She screeched as loud as she could without loosening her bite on the rope, but Harry continued singing and “dancing” with the air ship to prove her point… until a Peregrine Falcon crashed into the edge of the ship during a dive, knocking itself unconscious. When it began to awake, Pokey asked, “Is you okay?!”


“We know you bird,” Pokey replied. “You okays?”

“B-b-b-bird is the word,” the Peregrine sang back.

“I thinks he broken,” Harry said, sharpening her claws. “I fix?”

“Stop dat! Dat fix nothing,” Pokey yelled. “Sides. I turtley sure he kick your butt. Is better be furriends.”

“Bird. Bird. Bird is the word,” the Peregrine sang.

“Purrhaps is broken…” Pokey began. 

“Why you say purrhaps?” the falcon asked.

“Shello,” Pokey said, a bit shocked the bird was suddenly speaking rather than singing. “Dan you is broken? Turtley sorry our ship get in your way.”

“Nah. I’m fine,” the Peregrine said, giving his tail feathers a little shake. “I always introduce myself like that. Why are you speaking cat? Cats say purrhaps. The turtles I know say per-snaps.”

“Purrhaps sister rub off on me more dan I thinks… or persnaps you knows duh snapping turtles.”

“Bird. That’s how you say it,” the falcon said.

“We both knows how to say bird…” Harry rolled her eyes.

“I meant persnaps…” the bird clarified. 

“Purrhaps what?” Harry taunted, but the Peregrine ignored her and flew up to perch near Pokey and talk privately. 

She watched and listened intently as the bird explained that only animals that purr and have furr say things like purrhaps and purrfect… “and they don’t have furriends. They have buddies.” 

“Fur reals?” Harry asked. 


“Why you keep using dat word?” Harry’s desire to hunt grew every time the Peregrine said it.

“Bird is the word. The humans have a song about it you know. Everybody’s heard.”

“Turtley. We heard. Dat why she asking why you keeps using dat word!” Pokey was getting irritated too. 

“I’m a bird. Why would I say word if bird is the word?”

The logic made perfect sense to Harry once she pondered it. “Okay. I gets but… is meowy distracting. Make me want to hunt duh birdies. Not you!!! Duh crows back home… and duh tiny tweet tweets. Day duh one’s I want hunt.” Harry shrunk in embarrassment. 

“Want to race?” the Peregrine asked.


“Absa-hootly not,” Pokey yelled. 

“You speak owl too?” 

“She speak turtle,” Harry growled. “How fast you fly?”

“Faster than you.”

“We see…”

“No, Harry!”

“Ready? Set? Meow!” The Peregrine dashed off like a rocket. Harry stretched and looked up at her sister. “I turtley tired of dat dude.”

“Bird,” Pokey mocked, sending them both into a fit of giggles that whisked the air ship to its destination. 

To be continued…

Did you know the Peregrine Falcon is one of the fastest creatures on the planet? It reaches speeds over 200 miles per hour when diving for prey. This amazing bird is a “threatened species” that needs our help to avoid extinction. Click here to visit The Peregrine Fund website and learn more about how you can support them.

Please leave us a comment if you know an awesome animal non-profit that deserves our support and help keep this journey going by purchasing Turtley Pawsome merch. Follow us here, on Facebook, and on Instagram to make sure you don’t miss the next story.

Everybunny Thinks We is Guys

“Fly safe you guys,” the squirrel yelled to his new friends as their air ship began to rise.

“Stay fun dude,” Harry shouted back.

“Why he thinks we is guys?” Pokey asked.

“Purrobably he say dat to everybunny except squirrel. We not his type.” 

“But turtley everybunny who meet us like us. Dat squirrel no like us?”

“He like us fine but he is squirrel. You is box turtle. I is Tortie cat. We meowy different.”

“Dat nutz. We is all animals… and we is sisters!”

“Dat cuz meowmy adopt us.”

“How else you make family?” Pokey asked as if suddenly unable to remember her days before she arrived at the pet store. 

“You think meowmy make you?” Harry asked, curious to learn if her sister’s memories were fading. 

“No be silly. I comes from da turtles! But dat different. I no have family until ma find me. Family more fun with you. Three is magic number.”

“Meowmy say dat… and right meow we is only two. I miss meowmy.” As soon as she said it, a bright red dragonfly appeared at her side, hovering over the boat between the balloons. Harry remembered her mom say on their hikes that the dragonflies are her friends. She stared silently for a while, hoping it would start the conversation, then she asked, “Did meowmy send you watch over us?” The dragonfly turned its head quickly, fixing its giant eyes on Harry, but said nothing. 

“What you mean? I hear duh whole time. We leaves together.” Pokey could only see the very edge of the boat from where she rode. She didn’t shout, but the dragonfly dashed away at the sound  of her voice. 

“You scare him off!” Harry was more than a little disappointed to see it go so soon. “Why matter if you boy or girl? Why not boy and girl like me?!”

“Nobunny is boy and girl…”

“I is! I girl with boy name.”

“Turtley not mean you is both…”

“Does too!”

“Nobunny know if I boy or girl when born. Dis not make me both,” Pokey muttered. Normally they would get an outside opinion to settle the debate, but there wasn’t another creature in sight.

Cartoon by Rachel Hoyt
with background image by Mathias P.R. Reding

We is turtley meowgical. No forget! We stronger together. We flies duh ship.”

“Sorry, sissy. I know no fly duh ship alone. I looks for da dragonfly.”

“No dragonflies up heres.”

“Not right meow but I sees Red. Is furriend of meowmy. Purrhaps he want fly with us?”

Pokey knew there are thousands of red dragonflies in the world, but she didn’t want to start another debate with Harry so she kept that information to herself while they floated blindly through the clouds. They emerged from the fog just before they reached the border. “You thinks day has good bugs in Canada? I turtley hungry but no want duh dry foods.”

“Figaro only say day has duh best syrup.”

“I hears of dis sweet stuffs from birdie furriend when go walkabout. Da hoomans turtley crazy bout dis goop.” The mounties stared with jaws agape as the air ship floated past so close they could almost touch the hull. 

Cartoon by Rachel Hoyt with background image by Igor Kyryliuk

Not one of the uniformed officers was composed enough to answer.

“No worry, Pokey. I has fastest paws in duh West. When we sees dem, I gets duh bugs furr you. No purroblem.”

Cartoon by Rachel Hoyt with background image by Brydon McCluskey

Figaro had been eagerly awaiting his new friends’ arrival ever since their mom asked his dad if her kids could visit. He was worried they hadn’t been  able to cross the border and had been pacing back and forth in his garden for hours. The intense relief he felt as their air ship appeared on the horizon caused him to stumble into a somersault that left him flat on his back. He quickly gathered himself and sat tall and regal until the ship was safely nestled on his lawn. “Welcome to Canada,” he said as he watched Pokey slowly work her way down the balloon. 

Without so much as a thank you, Harry began to explain why they came: “Meowmy say need be rich and furrmous as duh Ryan Gosling to spend all time with us. Puurhaps we find duh Ryan and he tell us how do?”

“Dis meowy good plan. Duda not know duh Ryan but we finds him. No purroblem.”

Harry somehow felt the need to further convince Figaro of the worthiness of their cause and began to tell their life stories and how mama had always given them a nice home but said they might soon have no place to live. She was so passionate about helping mama she didn’t notice when her sister finally joined the conversation. 

Cartoon by Rachel Hoyt featuring Figaro

The felines glared at Pokey for interrupting the conversation before heeding her command.  They nodded at each other, turned back to back, stepped three paces each, then pounced, swatted, and gathered an assortment of plant hoppers until Pokey screamed, “Stop! Dat nuf!!”

Both felines fell to the ground, exhausted and panting. “Who win?” Harry asked. “My pile bigger?” 

“Day bout duh same,” Pokey said gobbling down a cricket.

“Not same!” Harry rose to her feet and began pawing her pile into a taller configuration. She had never been good at making feline friends. She came to meet Figaro at mama’s request. Pokey was not surprised by her sister’s behavior and continued to munch from both piles equally without uttering an opinion to break the tie. 

Figaro attempted to relieve the tension between them by asking what music they like. He hoped they might have a favorite in common so they could sing together until they felt covered in sunshine and good times again. Unfortunately, it was a subject Pokey and Harry had debated often and, when Figaro told them they had flown past the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on their way, the sisters rushed back to the air ship to head to Cleveland. Figaro tried to persuade them to hunt Ryan Gosling before they left, but they were convinced they could find someone just as great to help them later.

This story was written to help remind you that first impressions are not always right and that each individual’s view of the world is less flexible than you might think. Visit Project Implicit and check out their social attitude tests to learn more.

And… since we used his name several times, we would like to invite you to support Ryan Gosling’s favorite charity – The Enough Project – which works to create peace in some of the deadliest conflict zones in Africa.

Please leave us a comment if you know an awesome animal non-profit that deserves our support and help keep this journey going by purchasing Turtley Pawsome merch. Follow us here, on Facebook, and on Instagram to make sure you don’t miss the next story.

The ESA Box Turtle and Tortie Cat Decide to Work Hard

Cartoon by Rachel Hoyt
with background photo by Roberto Nixon

“Dat where duh lucky animals work,” Pokey said as they flew over the Hollywood sign.

“What be work?” Harry asked, continuing to stare at Pokey instead of the direction she was flying the air ship.

“Work like… watch duh air while fly! Is your job right meow. I is navi-gaturing.”

“Navigating. No need make every word like reptile.” Harry was learning to speak hooman at a much faster rate than her turtle sister and never missed an opportunity to correct her. “I no need watch. You points. I steers. Is meowy easy.”

“Dat why we go Orion’s Belt?” Pokey teased as the air ship continued winding through the air like a kite on the loose.

Cartoon by Rachel Hoyt
with background image by WikiImages

“You say go up! I goes up. You look up. I keep go.”

“Dat turtley not how navigating work.”

“Meow navigating be work too?! What not´work?” 

Suddenly Pokey realized they were going nowhere.

Cartoon by Rachel Hoyt
with arial photo by Daniel Dreifuss of Lost Above

They flew in silence until the city began to fade from view. Nestled between the mountains, just before the desert appeared on the horizon, Pokey saw a cattle ranch and answered Harry’s question about what isn’t work: “Play and sleep.”

“But dose duh best!” Harry shouted, confirming she had been waiting for an answer the whole time. 

“Turtley everybodys knows dat.”

“Dan why anybodys work?”

“One hooman more powerful dan all others. Bills make dem.”


“Yep. Dat what ma says..”

“Why bills make dem?”

“Turtley no know… but see dat? Da cows? Ma say day live to make num nums dan later duh humans turn dem into num nums.”

“What?!” The air ship swerved violently as Harry screamed in shock. 

“Duh chickens too.” Pokey bit down on the strap to help hold herself steady.

“Dan why meowmy no let me hunt duh crows?!”

“Turtley no know.”

“Is we gonna be num nums someday?”

“Turtley hope not… but I hears some hoomans think turtles is num nums. Purrobably somewheres duh cats is num nums too… but turtley no need worry. Ma protect us.”

“Where is da hoomans num nums?”


“Dat not fair.”

“Turtley agree.”

Harry flew with one eye and both ears open, half asleep and deep in thought, until a dragonfly raced through her whiskers so fast she thought it was the breeze that shook her awake. “What duh animals do in Hollyweird?”

“Day prance and smile for duh hoomans when duh hoomans say.”

“I no like do what hoomans say. Purrfurr do what want.”

“Turtley. We helps meowmy figure out how begin again meow dan bills still her purroblem.”


“I turtley splained dis fore we leave.” 

Floating over the outskirts of Phoenix with a sea of stucco homes on the horizon, Harry remembered one thing Pokey said before they left.

Cartoon by Rachel Hoyt
with Arizona landscape background by Frankie Lopez

Pokey ignored the mention of her previous adventure: “Dat way look purrty. Go dat way.” She could see red rocks far in the distance which looked as delicious as a giant strawberry and, though she knew she was sad that they hadn’t packed any fresh fruit, she saw no harm in heading that direction. Knowing her sister couldn’t see red even if they had more daylight, she didn’t explain her choice until much later.

Cartoon by Rachel Hoyt
with Grand Canyon photo by Laura Colquitt

As the heat in the air around them grew stronger, the air ship sunk lower, eventually landing near the Grand Canyon. Ignoring her sister’s warning that the ground was too hot, Harry raced off after a roadrunner then leapt into the shade behind a boulder when her paws began to burn.

Pokey scurried as fast as she could towards the rock Harry had jumped from, worried she had fallen into the big hole. It took all the energy she had to make the climb and hours later, just as she reached the top, a squirrel appeared in her path. “She fine.” Before Pokey could say a word, Harry appeared.

Cartoon by Rachel Hoyt
with squirrel and background by Andreas Strandman

Pokey turned and tumbled her way back down, too exhausted to carry her shell the whole way back to the ship. After a quick break in the shady corner of the boat and a few bites of the dry kibbles they brought from home, Pokey climbed back up to her perch and they resumed their journey to find the purrfect place to live. 

This Turtley Pawsome story was inspired by the working animals of the world and charities like Veterinarians Without Borders which support them.

Please leave us a comment if you know an awesome animal non-profit that deserves our support and help keep this journey going by purchasing Turtley Pawsome merch. Follow us here, on Facebook, and on Instagram to make sure you don’t miss the next story.

The Legend of the Cat Caller

Once upon a full moon wander, a woman plotted revenge on her (now ex) boyfriend. Fuming because she had rented “the shack in the back” – a tiny garage turned loft behind a craftsman home – with her lover for nearly a decade in order to save up money for their future together and come home after a birthday weekend getaway with her sister to discover (via an eviction notice nestled under the brick he used to prop open the window) that he had bought the property and wanted to break up, adding “because cats should be allowed to roam” on a post-it to explain the brick. They had fought viciously before she left about her desire to make sure the new kitten stayed safely indoors until it had all its shots (if not forever). She had faced the shocking aftermath of a cat vs. car incident twice in life already and didn’t think she had the strength to endure another. She was semi grateful his actions had revealed how little respect he had for her and intent on dishing out a bit of karma.

Having serendipitously received an informal lesson on how to clicker train a cat during their mani-pedi session that weekend from a stranger in the adjacent massage chair, she headed directly to the pet store after rounding up her kitten, locking it safely back inside the apartment, and asking her neighbor to keep an eye and ear out for The Man while she was gone. Normally she drove the mile between their apartment and the pet store, but that night she was too hurt and angry to drive. She could hardly see straight and stumbled into the store like a drunk although completely sober. “Clickers,” she grunted at the salesman. “I need a clicker… and the smelliest, most enticing cat treats you have. Lots of them.”

Holding his smile despite her refusal to exchange pleasantries, the salesman silently led her to the cat treats section, grabbing a clicker from the dog aisle as they passed. “Some cats like these dental stick treats as a toy,” he began.

“An indulgence,” she said, still frowning.

“Maybe these Applaws fish filets?”

“Too big,” she said, reaching around him to point at the anti anxiety subsection. “Are those Composure things addictive?”

“No ma’am. Those are all natural.”


“That’s not a good thing?”


“Say no more. You want something that will really bring all the cats to the yard? Something more enticing than Meowjuana?”

“Yes. Yes I do.” She followed as he returned to the front counter and grabbed a half full mason jar from beneath the register.

“I can give you a free sample of my homemade cat treats. They’re made with crushed lamb jerky, peanut butter, and a teenie tiny amount of my proprietary blend of mildly addictive narcotics. I’m trying to formulate a recipe to engender domesticity in ferile cats.”

A smile crept on the woman’s face. “That sounds right up my alley. How much do you have? I need more than a free sample’s worth.”

“You’ll need to sign here stating you understand this product is still being tested and that you assume all responsibility for any side effects associated with its use,” he said, placing a confidentiality agreement before her and three ziplock storage bags full of treats beside it.

“Don’t worry. I’m not planning to give any cat more than one at a time,” she said as she scribbled her signature and handed him her credit card.

His congenial smile had been replaced with a squished look of perplexity. “How many cats do you have?”

“Just one,” she sassed, grabbing the free tote bag in which he’d put her purchase and heading out the door.

She strolled slowly the whole way home, weaving back and forth towards her neighborhood in a continuous S shaped pattern, looking for cats. She didn’t care if it was a family cat allowed to roam free at all hours or one of the many strays left behind by former tenants (an issue which led most landlords in the area to forbid cats on future leases). If she could see the cat, she approached it while saying, “Here kitty, kitty.” If it didn’t run and hide, she clicked her new clicker and immediately gave the cat one of the special treats. “Good kitty,” she told each one, careful not to get too close to any with low tails or ears, so as not to scare them further. It took her three hours to walk the 30 minutes home. She met 11 cats she’d never seen before.

She went walkabout thirty minutes each night after that, hitting some old and some new territory, feeding the cats of the neighborhood the special Come Hither formula she’d acquired each time. By the third night, the most social cats in the hood began to show up for a treat once they heard her clicker in the distance. By the second week, when the cats craved more and feared less, she was covering twice the territory in half the time, feeding more than three dozen cats.

Eleven days after she’d ended her birthday weekend celebration with a surprise eviction notice, with the help of several friends, the woman moved all her belongings into a new apartment, except three things. She left behind a small digital recorder attached to the high tech portable speaker The Man had bought her for Christmas (then borrowed without asking the next day) playing a recording of her voice saying, “Here kitty,” over and over, interspersed with the sound of the clicker. She set the recording to play next to a small pile of the treats then dropped trails of Come Hither in every direction outside before driving off into the sunset.

An hour later her former neighbor sent a photo of the scene she had left behind, then called so she could listen in. Her ex was wading through a sea of meowing cats to the apartment door, cursing loudly as several tried to climb up the legs of his blue jeans to jump in front of the crowd. The moment he opened the door, the cats jumped on him together and he fell face first into the apartment in shock, becoming the welcome mat for the rest of the feline flock. All trace of the Come Hither treats had been erased before The Man reached the recorder to turn off the hypnotic voice of The Cat Caller. Eventually, the cats stopped showing up nightly to beg for more, but the cat stampede he endured haunted his dreams furever more.

Harry (Harriet) – February 9, 2020

This urban myth was inspired by the clicker training method which the author is using to train her kitten Harry and written in honor of every once blissful relationship that ended badly. Any resemblance to real life events is unintentional.

Note: The cat training method described in this story is merely an exaggeration of the truth. The first step to training a cat is teaching them that the clicker noise means “treat” because they must be rewarded or they will lose interest in training. All you do is click the clicker and promptly give the cat a treat so they know that sound means food is coming. Once the cat knows the clicker sound, you won’t have to give them an actual treat every time you click to keep the cat engaged (though they will still expect rewards).

The author of this website was inspired to begin clicker training with her kitten Harry while reading Animals Make Us Human by Temple Grandin and Catherine Johnson (which explains why one should consider training a cat) and recommends you click here to watch a video demonstration with Jackson Galaxy on clicker training with cats for more information on how it is done.

The Tortie Kitten Who Became a Hare

Once upon an ordinary day, underneath the porch of a couple whom her kitty mama had never met, a tortoiseshell cat was born with coloring so asymmetrically wonderful that strangers would describe it as perfectly symmetrical. The lady of the porch (Miss E) posted photos of the litter online soon after she discovered them and, within hours, a woman she had met a few days prior (on a group scooter ride a few towns away) began begging to adopt the asymmetric beauty. “It’s been about a year since my last kitty passed. I just decided I was ready for a kitten and that I wanted to adopt a Tortie cat… and that one with the half black half orange face is so cute! Save him for me?”

Miss E kept in touch with her scooter acquaintance as she watched over the litter. Their kitten mama came to visit and nurse them for a few days, then disappeared. Miss E couldn’t move the kittens into her house because her husband is allergic, so, when the kittens ran off to search for their feline mama, she and a friend hunted down and re-rescued the kittens, and the litter’s co-rescuer became their foster mom. She took them to live with her family until they were eating solid food, using a litterbox, and fixed up by Fix Nation to ensure they wouldn’t create more homeless kittens themselves.

Miss E sent messages to let Scooter Girl know how the kitten was developing and, the more photos and videos she saw of the adorable Tortie kitten, the more she yearned to have the furbaby in her arms. Not yet realizing that 99.9% of tortoiseshell and calico cats are female, Scooter Girl continued to imagine her kitten would be a little prince called Harry. “If you would by any chance trust me to get him fixed when he’s a bit older, I’d love to get vaccinations and let him grow up a bit before he has to endure surgery… and start cuddling ASAP.” Wanting to be responsible foster parents, the rescuers initially declined her offer to take over care for the Tortie immediately.

However, by the time Scooter Girl had learned that her little Harry was likely a Harriet a few weeks later, the rescuers had a change of heart. “We just learned that it will be a few more weeks before we can take the kittens to get fixed,” Miss E said, “and their foster mom is a little worn out from caring for all of them. Do you still want yours now?”

“Of course!” Scooter Girl replied. “I work a lot the next few days though. I can drive up there and get her on my day off?” She was ecstatic when Miss E offered to deliver the kitten to her the next day instead.

Harry (Harriet) was resting calmly in Miss E’s hand as Scooter Girl approached them that fall afternoon on the sidewalk outside her home. The kitten was unscathed by the 2 hour car ride and the sounds of the street. She happily snuggled up to her new mama’s heart when Scooter Girl held her close for the first time. Miss E refused to accept any cash for costs incurred thus far when offered. “Just give her a good home,” she said. “I know you will. She’s a sweet one.”

From the moment they first touched, Scooter Girl felt Harry (Harriet) “The Hare” was everything she had dreamt of. Her five week old furbaby was as silky smooth as a rabbit and took to the harness and leash like a natural. Around 11 weeks old, one warm December day, Scooter Girl finally introduced Harry to her sister Pokey the box turtle and promptly took her “tortoise and hare” on a walk. It was a magical day which led her to believe her life was purrfect.

Then, one Saturday morning, as Scooter Girl prepared to go out and scout a route for a very important group scooter ride she was scheduled to lead the next day, she noticed that her (now five month old) kitten wasn’t acting like herself. Her concern grew to fear as she cruised the backroads thinking about how Harry hadn’t wanted to cuddle the moment she awoke (though they had every day prior), nor had she walked on her leash or shown interest in bird watching that morning. Scooter Girl turned home and drove as fast as she could when she realized it had been more than 48 hours since she’d last seen Harry go poo.

An urgent check up quickly confirmed her new mama’s suspicions were correct. An xray showed a stomach full of items she couldn’t digest, including something that looked sharp and metallic. Shattered by the mere thought of not living her tortoise and hare dreams another day, Scooter Girl pledged to pay a sum she knew she couldn’t afford to get her kitten the stomach surgery she needed at the most expensive hours (right away) and get her spayed at the same time if possible to keep the kitten from having to endure another surgery again soon.

Scooter Girl didn’t lay her head to rest that night until the wee hours of Sunday morning, after she learned that the surgery had been a success. The vet said Harry would no longer be able to have children and they’d successfully cleaned out her stomach and upper intestine. “It looks like she ate a lot of different things,” he explained, “but mainly a lot of hair.”

Scooter Girl didn’t realize he’d meant human hair until she saw gobs of her blonde strands in the bag of items removed from Harry’s digestive system the next morning. Her heart sank a bit knowing that, although she was now living her dream, she would now worry about where, why, and when Harriet had eaten so much hair… and if Harry “The Hare” would eat hair furever more.

Rachel and Harry
January 19, 2020

This story is based on real life events of the author. The name of the woman who originally discovered Harry under her porch has been changed to protect her identity, but the other details are true. We offer you this Go Fund Me page which a friend started on our behalf the day the above photo was taken as proof.

After surgery, to ensure she wasn’t too active, Harry slept in a cloth carrier at night and was confined to the restroom (aka her clean space) when mom wasn’t home. Toys with strings and feathers were (mostly) banned from the house to eliminate danger and extra care has been paid since to make sure Harry never spends too much time alone (because we suspect the anxiety of being alone caused her to eat the indigestible things). Harry is given COMPOSURE cat treats to calm down when she seems more high strung or anxious (and will be alone). She also eats a bit of Tomlyn HAIRBALL REMEDY GEL every few days for good measure.

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The Box Turtle Who Went Walkabout

Once upon a desert street, amidst a sea of nearly identical stucco homes, a girl who had become obsessed with “terrtules” (turtle pronounced with a rolled r and flipped vowels) was taken to the pet store on her 14th birthday to pick out a turtle of her very own. Told that she would be responsible for keeping her pet’s tank clean, the girl chose a box turtle (aka the one who was staring at her when she arrived and didn’t require a full tank of clean water).

After reading that the turtle’s tail wouldn’t be a full grown, accurate method for determining the turtle’s gender for many more months, the girl chose a genderless name for her new pet which she believed reflected the animal’s nature: Pokey. To ensure that caging such an amazing creature didn’t make it unhappy, the girl took her turtle outside to sit in the grass whenever she was out working on her tan. Pokey shared a room with her mother for more than four years – until the day she said she wasn’t allowed to take her turtle with her to live in the college dorms (even though they now knew her to be female) and put her in the yard to hang out in their favorite spot until she graduated.

Pokey saw and heard her grandma put out food for her to eat on the patio a few times, but she didn’t eat it. She missed her mom and wanted to be wherever she was. She wandered daily, eating bugs and plants when needed for energy, hoping she would eventually walk long enough and/or far enough that her mom would be home. Most days were brutally hot. More than a few nights left frost on the prickly plants that surrounded her. She had almost lost all hope of ever seeing her mother again when, nearly three years later, she spotted her mom’s red car and rushed out of hiding and into plain sight.

“Oh my gosh! Pokey!” The young woman shouted with joy as she ran to grab her shell baby. “This is Speed,” she said as she put the leopard tortoise she had recently adopted face to face with the box turtle she never thought she would see again. The three posed for a photo beside mom’s already packed car. Then, going against what she desired (to do what she thought was best), the young woman left her turtle in her mother’s care once again. “You’ll be happier here, Pokey. I swear. More space, more sun… and I will be back to see you. Don’t run away,” she said before driving off.

Try as she might, grandma couldn’t keep Pokey from chasing after her mom. She practiced using her claws to scale the stucco house until she was strong enough to drag her 6″ long carapace over the 2 foot tall bricks which had been planted one foot into the ground to meet outdoor turtle enclosure recommendations. Pokey went missing again in less than two months. Then, Speed died suddenly of pneumonia a few months later… as did the next tortoise she bought illegally small. The woman declared herself unfit to parent any more turtles or tortoises and pledged to love them from afar instead.

She graduated from college, got married and divorced, and was just trying out a third type of career when the winds of change blew Pokey out of hiding. The family that found her put up signs with her photo (in case someone was looking for a turtle) weeks before Pokey’s grandparents moved out of their home one cul-de-sac away from the hiding spot she’d taken years to traverse to. Grandma rushed to claim Pokey and promptly found her a ride to California… where she currently lives in a tank and shall have turtley pawsome outdoor adventures only when her mama is supervising furever more.


This post is based on real life events of the author and contains far more truth than fiction. Pokey went missing twice (in the suburban Arizona desert) between 1996 and 2003, once climbing over two foot tall bricks to get out of her enclosure. She currently lives in a glass tank with reptile carpet, a synthetic half-log, fake stone lake, and stick on decor. She is no longer allowed outdoors unsupervised, but does go on walks sometimes with her mom (Rachel Hoyt) and sister (Harry the tortoiseshell kitten).

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