While travelling for work, Nicolle Azar Thompson likes to learn of the “hidden gems” from locals. During a trip to Paducah, Kentucky in June 2018, she learned of a popular BBQ restaurant called Happy’s Chili Parlor. She expected tasty food but what she got was so much more!
When she arrived, she was greeted by an unlikely patron.
Her welcoming party was in the guise of a young grey male cat who was very under weight, intact and VERY much craving attention. He began circling her feet, meowing and stared at her as she entered the restaurant.
“I sat at the counter to order my take-away and this cat just kept staring at me thru the open door but would never dare walk in.”
She asked the restaurant owners about the tiny stalker who’d taken a liking to her. They said he’d showed up just a few weeks prior, was a nice cat but unfortunately they couldn’t find anyone who wanted a pet cat. So he’d remained near the restaurant and workers would throw him scraps to eat and provided water for him.
Nicolle wanted more for the special cat though.
Having literally had cats in her cradle as a child and being a life-long cat rescuer and TNVR advocate, she couldn’t just walk away from him. As she ate her meal (which was delicious and she ate there everyday!), she decided she would look up local spay/neuter clinics for the boy. But he had other plans and tried to jump into her car with her!!!
With no plan, she couldn’t take him with her that day. She drove back to her hotel sobbing. As soon as she arrived, she jumped online and shared the story on Facebook. Nicolle researched cat rescues, spay and neuter clinics and possible fosters, but came up empty handed.
It was then she vowed that the sweet boy would be coming back to Florida with her. She named him Lucky for the obvious reasons and for “Lucky in Kentucky”; which is just fun to say in my opinion!
“Luckily”, with her connections in the cat world, within a few hours of her social media post, an adopter in Florida stepped forward! Now she just had to figure out how the best way to get him to his new home.
She began fund raising to cover the costs of the journey.
“I fund raised my butt off and after contemplating the trials and tribulations of flying with a cat (who I don’t know at all), I decided to drive from Kentucky to Florida.
The next day she went to the store for all the supplies they’d need for their drive. She headed back to the restaurant to pick up the cat who had no clue that his life was about to begin…or did he?!
“I gave one call and this fellow flew across a vacant lot straight to me! He allowed me to put him right in to the cage without any protest!”
Now the only catch was that Nicolle still had 3 days of work left and had to be in Tennessee next.
Fortunately her next hotel was pet friendly so she didn’t have to fuss with finding a new place to stay.
“Lucky got to spend some days in Clarksville, TN next. He was a perfect hotel guest, instantly litter trained and well behaved.”
They then started the 750 mile, 11 hour ride to Tampa, FL.
Lucky was NOT a good passenger so the travelling duo stopped in Macon, GA for the night. He thoroughly enjoyed watching chipmunks from “his” hotel window. The rest of the drive was happily uneventfully then 2nd day. Perhaps he accepted that the car was bringing him to a better life.
When they arrived to Nicolle’s home, Lucky stayed with her for a couple of weeks while he was neutered, vaccinated and checked for any health issues. All was well with him and he healed from surgery, putting on some much needed weight.He wasn’t even done growing yet and was already huge for his age!
“He was about 4 months when I found him. We thought he was WAY older because he was big but started losing his baby teeth about a month later!”
He is an absolute love-bug and followed Nicolle around her house constantly. At night, he was sure to be flopped right across the bed with Nicolle and her husband.
Once healed, it was time to finish his journey, travelling south of Tampa to Sarasota to meet his forever purrents! His new name was to be Shadow.
“Well. My first successful foster. I did it. Barely. Dropped off Shadow at his new forever mommy’s house this afternoon. Hadn’t stopped crying since I left Amy’s house today until she sent great pictures of him bonding with his new sibling (and then I cried more). I’m so happy for him. This guy absolutely deserves the best in life and I was put on that random street in Kentucky for a reason that night. Here is a shot of us watching lizards before he left.”
Now “King of The Castle”, Shadow resides in his furever home with his two new best friends, feline siblings Spade and Echo.
The lucky boy knew just who to choose as his rescuer to bring him out of the shadows.
He now lives the good life indoors with all the “scraps” he wants <3 Congrats to them all on a job well done!!
REMEMBER: ADOPT, DON’T SHOP; FOSTERING SAVES LIVES & SPAY AND NEUTER!