A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

21 Cat Adoption Photos That Will Melt Your Heart

Updated: Dec. 02, 2022

These cats were in dire straights until their rescuers came along and gave them a second chance at life. Get ready to see some amazing before and after cat adoption photos.

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Johanne Before and After
Susan Mackasey


Johanne was just four months old when a stranger found her on the street and brought her into PetitsPawz. Susan Mackasey, president of PetitsPawz, immediately took her to the vet where Johanne spent over a month healing and recovering from worm infestation, anemia, and dehydration. When she was released from the vet, Mackasey brought Johanne home to foster her while she waited for a forever home, but then poor Johanne developed an upper respiratory infection. She fought that and slowly gained back her health again. By then, Mackasey was undeniably smitten with the now loving and vibrant kitten and adopted her. Johanne is now a healthy adult cat who loves affection, treats, and belly rubs. Discover the 17 things you never knew about your own cat.

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Wheels Before and After
Noëlle Burke/Wheels


Noelle and Neil Burke regularly feed and shelter stray cats outside their home. One day a cat showed up that Neil was certain was feral because he darted away when they approached him. It took about ten days, but the cat finally trusted Neil enough to let him pet him and pick him up. The couple decided they would take this little guy into their home, but knew he needed veterinary care before he could mingle with their other inside cats. Unfortunately, a prior business commitment took the Burke’s out of town before they could get this new cat medical care, then when they got back the cat was nowhere to be found. Luckily, he came back! They found him sleeping on their front porch and immediately took him to the vet. The cat, now named Wheels, has won over the hearts of everyone he meets, including all his virtual fans on his Instagram account. Before you adopt an animal, make sure to avoid these common mistakes. 

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Refugee Before and After
jme Thomas


Refugee came to Motley Zoo Animal Rescue looking like a mutant bat with bulging eyes and her health was in such dire straights the staff didn’t know if she would pull through. But Refugee is one feisty and spunky girl. Jme Thomas, executive director of Motley Zoo Animal Rescue, was amazed at Refugee’s transformation. She grew and thrived each day. Thomas decided she wanted to adopt the miracle cat herself but already had a cat at home who hadn’t been keen on other cats in the house before. Luckily, Refugee won the other cat over with her big attitude and soft heart. Refugee is now a fluffy and gorgeous cat and is happy to pose for her own Facebook page.  These are the major health benefits of owning a pet.

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Chewy Before and After
Beth McRae/The McRae Agency


Beth McRae is known as a “foster failure,” meaning she adopted a kitten she was fostering. Chewy is sure glad Beth “failed” because she might not be alive today without the care of McRae and the Arizona Humane Society. When she was brought in, the kitten was weak and malnourished. McRae nursed her back to health before naming her Chewbacca, after the beloved Star Wars’ character because they have similar brown fur. Today, Chewy is healthy and vibrant and acts more like a dog than a cat. McRae swears Chewy knows that she was saved and thanks them every day with her loving personality.

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Sam/Secondhand Hounds
Secondhand Hounds


Remy was a very sick kitten when he was picked up by animal control. His eyes were infected and swollen completely shut and he was very weak. Animal control reached out to Secondhand Hounds (despite the name, they also have cat foster and adoption services) to try to save him. He was put on strong antibiotics and was given blood serum to boost his system that was actually donated by a dog that was also being fostered by the rescue. Remy bounced back quickly and got healthy enough for adoption. He found a forever home where he happily watches birds out the window, climbs curtains, and gets into daily mischief.

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Kizzie Before and After
Secondhand Hounds


Kizzie came to Secondhand Hounds as a six-day-old orphaned kitten. A devoted foster mom bottle-fed Kizzie every two hours for two months because she was so weak. Once she was healthy, she was ready for adoption. Today she is a darling cat with a strong and sassy personality, living a wonderful life with her adopted family.

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Mouse Before and After
Secondhand Hounds


Mouse was literally stuck to the ground on his way to freezing to death in subzero temperatures when he was found. He had severe frostbite on his paw pads and ears and his ear tissue was so damaged that it died and fell off. Thankfully, he made an otherwise full recovery and was adopted by his foster mom. Now, Mouse gets to keep other cats warm and snuggly by being the big foster brother to many other cats that come through Secondhand Hounds waiting for their forever homes.

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Milo Before and After
Pure Breds Plus/Connie Habash


This beautiful Siamese was dumped off at a high-kill shelter with his sibling. Pure Breds Plus in Santa Cruz, California rescued both cats for adoption. His sister was adopted, but people passed on him, probably due to his age (he was 11 at the time), shyness, and anxiety. Meanwhile, Connie Habash and her family had just started searching for a cat and saw Milo on the Pure Breeds Plus website. Santa Cruz was an hour away though so she decided to look closer to home. But each time she found another cat it just didn’t feel quite right. While her search continued, she checked back frequently to see if Milo was still available. One day she realized there was a reason she wasn’t finding a cat close to home. Milo was meant to be with her family! Although he is still a bit skittish, he has settled into his new home and enjoys the occasional snuggle session on Connie’s lap. Make sure you’re not guilty of making these 12 common mistakes when it comes to your own kitty.

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McGregor Before and After
PetConnect Rescue


This scruffy little guy was found as a stray full of fleas and covered in feces. He desperately needed medical attention but the shelter could only do so much to help poor McGregor. Thankfully, PetConnect Rescue was able to pull this sweet guy from the shelter and get him the veterinary care he needed. With lots of love and a bath, McGregor cleaned up nicely! He now enjoys clean living in his forever home with a loving family.

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Kenny Before and After


Kenny was found by a PETA fieldworker “working the pumps” at a rural Virginia gas station. His charming disposition proved a successful way to get handouts from the people who were gassing up. The cat was such an effective panhandler that employees said that the shop was constantly running out of cat food because customers were always buying it to feed to the silver tabby. But a gas station is no place for a cat. The PETA worker gently coaxed Kenny to go back to the Norfolk, Virginia shelter where he would get the proper attention he needed and eventually, a forever home.

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Nudge Before and After


Nudge spent most of her first ten years in a cage as one of approximately 240 cats at the Sacred Vision Animal Sanctuary (SVAS) in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. An undercover PETA investigation revealed that SVAS was, in fact, a hoarding facility and the cats were seized. Sadly, many were too ill to survive, but a handful of cats did. One cat in particular really loved being pet and made it known by nudging the nearest hand available. It’s no wonder, she had no human affection or attention being in a cage for so long! Now that Nudge’s world has opened up, she’s discovered she loves to cuddle up on laps and knead the blankets that cover the toes of her warm and nurturing family.

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Georgie Before and After


Heavy rains and lashing winds came down hard one night in North Carolina and one little orange tabby was in the midst of it all alone. Thank goodness PETA’s fieldworkers don’t clock out when the weather is bad; struggling to hold onto her raincoat against the driving wind, the fieldworker dashed from door-to-door asking if anyone knew who the cat belonged to but was met only with blank, uninterested stares. Clearly, Georgie was on his own so the PETA fieldworker quickly grabbed a crate and a can of food and was able to get the nervous and water-logged cat into the carrier to enjoy a hearty meal. Thankfully, that was Georgie’s last night in the rain. He now has a dry home, a full belly, and a loving family.

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Mango Before and After
Rescue + Freedom Project


It was a chilly day when a stranger heard meowing near a car. The rescuer soon discovered the noise was coming from under the hood of the car and opened it to find Mango inside. He was most likely trying to find a warm place to ride out the freezing temperatures, and luckily he wasn’t hurt. Rescue + Freedom Project (R + FP) was contacted and brought Mango over. Shannon Keith, president of R + FP fostered Mango, named for his orange fur, until they found him a home.

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Simon/Hefty Before and After
Photos by Ali Crehan


Simon (previously known as Hefty) was found in Bridgewater, Massachusetts tangled inside a trash bag that was cutting off circulation to one of his feet. At just five pounds, he was starving and had been badly wounded by what was most likely a coyote attack. His rescuer and Taunton Animal Hospital saved his life with the medical care, including laser treatments (thus the cool googles), he desperately needed. When Hefty’s story was featured on a local news station and People.com he was able to find a loving home the next day through the Scituate Animal Shelter and now resides on Cape Cod with a loving family and a new name, Simon.

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Georgia Before and After
Photos by Ali Crehan


When a supporter of the Scituate Animal Shelter brought in a cat that had died in a car accident to the shelter in hopes of locating its owner, they quickly realized the cat had recently given birth and immediately took to social media channels for help in finding the orphaned kittens. A local CBS news station helped get the word out as well. A tip from one of their followers led them to discover the kittens days later, clinging to life in a chilly barn. Thankfully, all the kittens survived and are thriving in forever homes.

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Lupine Before and After
Tenth Life Cat Rescue


In his previous life on the streets in a rural Missouri town, Lupine had been used for target practice and was, understandably, traumatized. He’d been shot in the head several times with a pellet gun and his left shoulder had been shot with a rifle, fracturing it to the point that he’d need to have it amputated. It took a lot of love, patience, and devotion from a local veterinarian and Tenth Life Cat Rescue foster parents to help Lupine heal emotionally and physically. When Lupine opened his fractured heart his foster parents didn’t want to be without him, so they made Lupine a part of their family. He lives today like nothing ever happened to him—a happy kitten that loves tummy rubs and his sister cat, Minerva.

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Meow Ze Dong Before and After
Andrew Hiller

Meow Ze Dong

After Hurricane Matthew, Brittney Hiller and husband were lunching at Hunting Island, South Carolina along the marsh boardwalk. They heard sounds coming from nearby and discovered it was a tiny kitten. Beth lured him out with a piece of meat from her sandwich and tried to pick him up, but he was skittish and ran away. She decided to go back the next day and see if she could capture him. Apparently, he liked banana nut muffins better because that’s how she got close enough to wrap him in a towel and take him home. Meow Ze Dong, as he’s called, now lives happily in a 4,000 square foot complex keeping the Hiller’s business free of mice and bugs when he isn’t taking a nap on an office chair.

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Mollie Before and After


The neighbor of a PETA staffer found a sweet kitty with a collar embedded under her front leg. The cat had managed to get a front leg through her collar; the tight fit and chaffing had created a deep wound under her leg. She was also extremely thin. The PETA rescuer took the cat to the vet for a wound check and shots and spent three months trying to find a home for the kitty. But, she became so attached that she decided to permanently adopt the cat and named her Mollie.

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Barry Before and After
Animal Protective Association of Missouri


Barry recently came to the Animal Protective Association (APA) of Missouri as a stray. In his young life, he faced hardships we can only imagine, including being badly burned over much of his body. His skin was dry and painful and the tips of his ears had melted from the burns. But these horrible things didn’t burn Barry’s spirit. He still trusted some humans and never missed a chance to cuddle. Thanks to the support of Heads to Tails Hope Fund for Cats, Barry now enjoys a happy life with his new family and cat brother, Larry. Wondering what your cat is trying to tell you? These are the 17 tricks to decoding your cat’s behavior.

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Magoo Before and After
North Shore Animal League America


Magoo didn’t have much time left when he was found by a good Samaritan lying frozen and lifeless in a snowy ditch in upstate New York. Magoo suffered severe frostbite to his face and limbs as well as nerve damage to his hind legs. Due to the severity of his condition he was transported to the North Shore Animal League America and enrolled in their Help Me Heal Program. The damage on his face and nose required reconstructive surgery so he could eat better and avoid secondary complications. Despite more surgical procedures, Magoo continued to fight his way back to health and today is thriving in his foster home while his adoption is being finalized.

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Yoda Before and After
North Shore Animal League America


Yoda had enough of the human race. He hid in the back of his cage when North Shore Animal League took him in and didn’t want anything to do with his new mom, Beth Stern (aka, Howard Stern’s wife). You can’t blame him, because when North Shore Animal League rescued Yoda he was skinny, sickly, and his fur was matted. On top of that, he had a serious heart condition and his future didn’t look too bright. That didn’t deter Beth from wanting to give Yoda a loving home for the remaining time he had left. But what happened next shocked everyone. You see, Beth also fosters kittens for the North Shore Animal League and Yoda began to thrive when Beth’s foster kittens came into the home. He seemed to have discovered his life’s purpose looking after the orphan kittens, acting like a parent to them. He still has that heart condition but he’s made a miraculous turnaround and is now healthier and happier than anyone thought he would be! Next, read on for 19 dog adoption photos that will melt your heart.