(With UPDATE) Two 16-Year-Old Birman Cats Relinquished To Shelter With Heartbreaking Note–By Sobbing Owner Entering Nursing Home

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When life takes an unexpected turn, we are often faced with difficult decisions. For a woman in Maryland, she was forced to do something that utterly broke her heart–not to mention the hearts of everyone who reads this. The decision had been accepted that she would be moving to a nursing home for her best interests. However, it was her two 16-year-old Birman cats about whose interests she was most worried. She was unable to bring them with her to the nursing home. Even sadder, her family was unable, and unwilling, to take the cats in.

Photo courtesy of @FAACAC

She sobbed as she handed her two fur-kids over to a local shelter to be put up for adoption. 

Workers and volunteers at Anne Arundel County Animal Care & Control, Inc. will do all they can for these special siblings. They saw first hand how emotional the poor woman was. 

The 2 cats had been by her side for years, treated to a pampered, comfy life. But now that all changed as they were ripped from their lifestyles. The gorgeous cats, named Zipper and Missy, had their entire existence altered around them. Not only were they taken from their home, they would no longer have their beloved owner by their sides.

Photo courtesy of @FAACAC


Her family that didn’t want the cats had apparently also attempted another “solution”. Thankfully they failed!!!

A veterinarian refused to euthanize the pair, who appear to be in good health except that their teeth need to be cleaned. If any rescues were contacted by the family — the cats’ vet records indicate that was considered — that alternative wasn’t successful.

I can only imagine how long their owner had wrestled with the decision to turn them over. Especially thinking that this may have caused a rift within the family. She clearly wanted to best for her felines, no matter how much it hurt her to do so. It is clear that her hope are that a loving family takes the two into their homes and hearts. Ideally the siblings are kept together to ease the pain of the transition. Holding on to hope in her heart, she wanted to give them every opportunity to remain deservingly spoiled.

How can we know this to be true? 

The note that accompanied the now homeless duo during their relinquishing, shows just how much she loves them. 

Photo courtesy of @FAACAC

It also breaks our hearts more with every word. The senior woman was sure to provide the details on the cats meals, need-to-knows, her requests and special treats. Making the situation even more heart wrenching, was her sobbing that accompanied the note. 

  • Keep together
  • Never been in water
  • No kids
  • No outside (never been out)
  • Like to look out window
  • Missy skittish, afraid of loud noises

We have no clue how many animals she cared for throughout her life, but clearly Zipper and Missy are deeply loved. With senior cats, they can very often be set in their ways. Their bodies also are accustomed to certain foods and routines.

Photo courtesy of @FAACAC

For whomever adopts these sweethearts, they have a full meal plan and schedule already laid out! 

  • Can’t eat dry food–they eat Fancy Feast–the kind with gravy.
  • Zipper likes his food served in a mound.
  • Zipper only eats Fancy Feast fish and shrimp.
  • [He] gets 1/2 slice of American cheese–crumbled into balls as an A.M. or afternoon snack.
  • Missy likes Friskies beef shredded with ocean whitefish and tuna.
  • Missy also likes Fancy Feast gravy lovers, turkey with gravy lovers, chicken and beef feast.
  • *Chop Missy’s food

And the cherry on top of their daily routine? An adorable treat (although not a very healthy one), that they have each night. 

At night they get to eat Cool Whip off your finger. Zipper gets 5 fingerfulls. Missy gets 4 fingerfulls, if they want.

Photo courtesy of @FAACAC


A bit over 24 hours ago, the Friends of Anne Arundel County Animal Care & Control, Inc. (FAACAC) Facebook page shared the story of the cats.

This group of non-profit volunteers who raise funds for the shelter, knew the best way to get adoption attention. There had to be another caring person who has the purrfect home to offer Zipper and Missy! They just needed to share the devastating turn of events that led to the situation. The post was made on Sunday afternoon and included photos of the gorgeous pair.

Since then, their story has been shared more than 21K times and viewed by more than 1.3 Million people! The shelter has received dozens of adoption interests and offers of assistance from other rescue organizations. Fortunately they are closed on Mondays, which will allow them time to filter through the information and applications.

Photo courtesy of @FAACAC

It’s a very good thing they may find a new home soon. The pair are not doing so well in the shelter environment. 

[They] are housed together in a larger-than-usual cage in the main cat room. We wish we could tell you that they were quickly adjusting, but so far they seem terrified, especially shyer and tinier Missy.

The shelter is reaching out to its rescue partners and to groups that specialize in Birmans, but we’ll be honest: A pair of 16-year-old cats who must stay together is a hard sell. Even if, as senior cats, they are available for free from the shelter. Their best chance for a happy forever? An adopter with an enormous heart, a quiet home, a sunny windowsill — and maybe even a comforting tub of Cool Whip. Please share this post to help us find that person.

Photo courtesy of @FAACAC


They will be first looking for a home that is local to avoid any travel trauma if possible. Ideally, they will be the only pets, because Zipper and Missy have likely never been around other animals. Coming from a quiet and calm environment, they will not be looking at homes with young children. The FAACAC know how many people have been touched by the story and promised an update ASAP. (Don’t worry, we’ll post it here too <3)

Because we are volunteers at the shelter, we are not the decision makers, but we certainly will update you when Missy and Zipper leave — together!

While Zipper and Missy’s new home hunt is underway, they want to remind everyone there are MANY other animals in need of homes. 

Meanwhile, we would like to point out that the shelter has many other fine senior felines also looking for new homes. The adoption fees for all cats 9 years and older are being waived right now (the usual adoption requirements still apply). If you are local to AACACC, which is in Millersville, MD, please come meet them.

If you are elsewhere, please visit your nearby animal shelter. There will be many homeless pets there longing to meet you. Thank you again!

Photo courtesy of @FAACAC


The original post and story of Zipper and Missy was shared hundreds of thousands of times. With the power of social media, that translated into a small miracle. But for these two loving cats, it was all they needed. Oddly enough, someone more than 2,600 miles away was behind that miracle. 

“It took only one person, a reader in Oregon, to find them a new home today [Tuesday].”

No, this woman didn’t adopt the cats, but she knew who they’d be perfect for–her parents!

Photo courtesy of @FAACAC ~ The happy family <3

They had sadly lost their beloved senior cat last year. When she saw the post from the AACACC on the needy siblings, she quickly brought it to her parents attention. 

Her parents that, as fate would have it, lived only 5 miles from the shelter in Maryland! 

Like many other people, they contacted us, and we passed along their information to the shelter administrator. They were looking for a local adopter (to avoid the trauma of long-distance transport). Ideally with no other pets right now but a stellar veterinarian reference. This couple fit the requirements perfectly!

Photo courtesy of @FAACAC

When they met the fluffy felines, it didn’t take long for Missy and Zipper to approve of their new parents.

I apologize in advance but I also (like a few comments on the post) believe these two to be the true Santa and Mrs. Clause! What better human duo to grant the wishes of the two cats!? They hoped the cats responded to them well and they would be the purrfect match. I love how it looks like the cats are whispering to each other. Maybe to secretly agree these would be their new humans? 

Photo courtesy of @FAACAC ~ Kitty conversing to approve of their new humans?

Well, it wasn’t long before Zipper, the more outgoing of the two, was enthusiastically licking the woman’s hand — even without any Cool Whip, his favorite treat.

Photo courtesy of @FAACAC

Shy Missy also started to warm up and seemed so much more comfortable than she had been just a couple of days ago.

All four involved soon agreed to the adoption, and this afternoon Missy and Zipper headed out the shelter door to their new forever home.

Photo courtesy of @FAACAC ~ off on a new adventure!

Congratulations to the new family and thank you so much for opening your hearts and home to them! 

That’s only PART of the miracles that occurred at the shelter this week however!

Other people who had seen Zipper and Missy’s story had hoped they would be the new family the cats so needed. But when the duo went home with the Clauses (sorry their names have been kept private), they decided NOT to leave empty handed. 

One adopted two 14-year-old all-white brothers, Ralphie and Alphie. Ralphie, with one blue and one green eye, was adopted with his blue-eyed brother, Alphie. Both are 14; Alphie is in a foster home and will be picked up Thursday by his adopter.

Photo courtesy of @FAACAC

Another adopted a second pair of 14-year-olds, Kitty and Junior. Junior, left, and Kitty, right. Both are 14 (but not related).

Photo courtesy of @FAACAC

A third decided to take home Bitsy Bee, a 6-year-old FIV-positive cat. Bitsy Bee, a 6-year-old charmer, is going to the home of an older relative of this woman to be an only cat.

Photo courtesy of @FAACAC

At least one other potential adopter is coming in later in the week to meet two more older cats too.

The story of Missy and Zipper has not only saved them, but also at least five other harder-to-place cats. That to me is the true miracle for all involved. Thank you so much to everyone that shared, supported, donated and adopted.

The aMEOWzing Cole and Marmalade fans were gracious enough to donate to the shelter to help many more cats too!

Photo property of Cole and Marmalade


Related Story: Senior Cat Finds The Purrfect Retirement Home After Owner Moves Into Assisted Living–In Florida Of Course!

Related Story: Senior Cat Returned 8 Years After Adoption Due To New Baby; He’s Been Waiting Over 225 Days For A New Family!

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  1. I live in Sunnyside Queens NY. I live in a studio apt. With three cats. All over 10years old All get along. I will foster the two Burmese cats or the Orange cat that was returned afer 8 years due to a baby. You can contact me at christineanyalai@gmail.com Please keep me posted on all three
    Christine Anyalai

  2. Hi, Maybe the family can be talked into caring for the lady in their home. My exes Dad we kept home and that’s where he died at 82, we hired a girl later on to help. I knew how most of the nursing homes were and definitely more pleasant at our house. Suzanne Boyajian former nurses aide ( so keep the cats!) *>*

    • If they live close enough to the nursing home, maybe they can get permission to bring the kitties over for visits.

      When a friend fell ill, we took in her cat. Every weekend for six months, we brought Small to her room in the rehab center.
      Don’t know how cats tell time, but Small would get anxious if we ever skipped a weekend.
      Thankfully, when our friend’s health took a final downturn, the hospital let us bring Small for one last visit. Somehow, Small understood, and now it’s my side she doesn’t want to leave.

  3. i adopted a young birman…and i can’t imagine why anyone would want to give this cat up for adoption…she is a jewel of a cat…they have a wonderful curious personality and they are very attached to their owners…i hope they find homes for these two….birmans are the best.

  4. I hope you can let the adopter know the elderly ladies info so the can send her a note about how they are doing once they are adopted.

    • I hope so too. That is my fondest wish, that this woman knows how loved and well-taken care of her beloved companions are. Even better would be if they were able to visit her.

  5. Arg, I teared up. The thought of one’s own health deteriorating yet fighting against it until one knows securely their pets are getting well taken care of and happy… is something I could see myself fighting for hypothetically. I live too far away but I hope these siblings find a kind soul to let them enjoy the rest of their days in peace.

  6. I so wish I could take these beautiful four-legged children. Unfortunately, I’m in the RSA. They are gorgeous and I pray that they find the perfect new home and soon. My heart breaks for their previous “mother” and I hope the new parents will keep her up to date.

  7. this sounds like my two cats sabrina and sylvestermy hubby and I lovethem so deeply both house cats sylvester has never ever been outsie sabrina was a pregnant stray we took in almost 7 years ago and gaveus the gift of sylester trrough all our adversities in the last5 years he has the ability to make us laugh daily fortunatly for us when our time is up here on earth my dear frriend who loves them will take them I too have lrft a diary od their needs this story breaks my heart I will say a little prayer to ST>FRANCIS the patron saint of animals thatfind a forever home please keep us posted these two beautifulbabies

  8. I have three cats, the oldest being 13. If I ever adopt another cat, it will be a senior. They need and deserve loving homes too. Please keep us updated on these two beautiful kitties.

    • I live in Israel, so unfortunately I can’t help. But it is a heartbreaking story, and I wish I could do something. Please send me an update. I pray that both cats end up in a loving home together.

  9. i would adopt those 2 felines if i were closer and didnt already have a couple of cats. they are in my prayers that they get a loving home very soon.

  10. UPDATE: A wonderful couple whose senior cat passed away adopted these two beauties today! You can read the story on Friends of Anne Arundel County Care and Control’s Facebook page.

  11. It would be great I’d these folks could meet with the previous owner to give her some peace of mind that her babies are going to be well cared for.

  12. I cried tears of joy when I saw this update! Hurray for the woman that saw them, and hurray for the “Clauses”! I just know they were the right choice, and they’re going to spoil these babies.

    I wonder… is someone going to tell the original owner? Will we ever get an update on how she feels?

  13. Thank you soooooo much to all who adopted senior cats! There is no greater joy than to give a home to an older cat (or cats), and share love for the rest of their time here. I recently lost my mom, and adopted her two 14 year old tabbies. I can’t imagine life without them now – the love, snuggles, silliness, playfulness. They have several good years ahead of them, as do we!

    Thanks again to the adoptive families, and to you, Jessica, for continuing to find and share these stories!

  14. UDATED.
    That’s so so so awesome ♥
    I love you guys and do appreciate the change you bring. Not only in those 2 -> 4 -> 7 -> … lives but also in our lives. Your attitude, your ideas, your priorities and those stories teach us and change us all.
    Thank you :*

  15. I hope the shelter will be able to inform the former owner who’s in the nursing home, that her cats have a new home and are safe and loved. I’m sure it would make the former owner relieved if nothing else.

  16. What would make this story even better is if they would allow the original owner to visit since they are so close

  17. I hope if the Clauses live anywhere near the nursing home, that they will bring the cats to visit with their former owner from time to time. With a tub of KoolWhip so she can treat them.

  18. It is often the case that no matter how families say they love each other, when pets are left behind there are no takers. I cringe when I read the obits and see a beloved pet (or pets) remain. Love is a responsibility and no amount of tears or flowers or expensive casket can compare to simply adopting the living creatures our deceased ones leave behind. Taking care of their beloved pets is the only parting gift our loved ones need. Apparently, in many cases, the cost is too expensive. So thankful for these wonderful rescues.

  19. It´s missing the most important part of the story: the senior lady´s reaction to this miracle. Did anyone tell her? How did she respond? I hope she never learned what her terrible relatives tried to do with the hats, dark hearted people… Anyways, it was an amazing happy story in the end…

  20. This is sad on so many levels. Hospitals now have therapy pets in the ICU…why not let patients bring their own pets into the nursing home? Look at how torn up that lady was over surrendering her pets. Was that really helping her?

    Glad the pets found a new home, but somewhere in a nursing home in MD, an elderly lady has a totally broken heart and is sobbing herself to sleep at night. Knowing I’m getting older, and have a tortie as my only companion, that makes me sad to think I may have to do the same with my beloved cat.

  21. I am so proud of my daughter for taking in her Grandmom’s little senior dog when she went into a nursing home. She had 2 dogs, but took in the little guy. He found s new life there with her two children and husband. He claimed the spot on the back of their sofa. He was very old then, and many more years old now, but acts like a puppy! Sometimes change is good if it’s a good home.

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Written by JessiCAT

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