Buddy, a 13-year-old obsessively-loving cat, was chosen by the ARM & HAMMER Feline Generous program to be one of the “Happily Furever After” sweepstakes winners in November.
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More than 5,500 photos and videos of “purrfectly impurrfect” cats were submitted and Buddy, from Highlands Ranch, was one of the five winners across the nation. Buddy and his owner, Janine Zarate were awarded with a year long supply of ARM & HAMMER cat litter, along with some cat toys, socks and are awaiting a portrait of Buddy.
In addition, each winning pet parent nominated a shelter to receive $10,000. Zarate chose the Rocky Mountain Feline Rescue in Denver where she volunteers.
We don’t usually get donations that big, so it’s like, we can really help some kitties with that,“ Rocky Mountain Feline Rescue kennel technician Amanda Schneider said. “We have some medical bills for some of the sick kitties here, so we’re putting that money towards paying those off.”
During the campaign, cat owners who adopted a shelter cat were invited to share their own story to inspire others to adopt. The Feline Generous program was created to help rescue cats who are often overlooked or misunderstood due to their appearance, physical limitations, age or personality.
“(Buddy) doesn’t have anything physically wrong with her, so she’s not imperfect that way…she is just a very special cat,” said Zarate. “But she has a misunderstood personality.”
Buddy is scared to death of strangers but shows her kitten-like personality at night when she is opening drawers and cabinets.
While living in Minnesota, Zarate and her family went to a shelter in 2010 to look for a kitten for her 3-year-old son to grow up with. Looking around the shelter, there were not that many cats, but her son saw a black kitten in the back corner of a lower cage and after a short visit with her, they adopted her. Only thing is, Buddy has become attached to Zarate.
“She’s my little stalker,” said Zarate.
In November, Zarate got an email from the Rocky Mountain Feline Rescue about the contest. She picked a picture of Buddy with food on her face and submitted it, along with the organization she wanted to support.
“I was just really thrilled because the money goes to the Rocky Mountain Feline Rescue and just shelters and rescue organizations, they need money all year long, so this is just awesome for them,” said Zarate.
Black cats tend to have a lower adoption rate in the United States. They are often seen as bad luck, not friendly and have been associated with witchcraft.
“The only thing that’s bad about a black cat is if you’re in a dark room, you don’t know where they are,” said Zarate. “They’re the most loving, wonderful cats that are out there so adopt a black cat, don’t ignore them.”
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