When a man who was out walking his dog was approached by a homeless kitten, he stopped to pet it. And the little kitten seemed to enjoy the attention, too. Little did the man know, however, just where this show of compassion would lead him.
Jon Nienaber and his wife Leslie reside in Cleveland, Ohio. The couple are animal lovers and share their home with three cats and a dog. And with these four animal companions, they believed that they’d completed their furry family.
The pair know that with a great number of pets comes a great number of responsibilities. For example, the need to regularly walk their dog. And it was on one of these walks, in summer 2016, that something unexpected happened to Jon. Yes, although he’d no doubt walked the canine hundreds of times, this particular outing would live with Jon forever.
That’s because as Jon and his dog meandered through the neighborhood, a small ginger kitten wandered up to them. Now, this in itself was not that unusual. “My husband and I live in Cleveland, OH, in an area with a lot of feral cats,” Leslie told LoveMeow in June 2017.
This little cat, however, was particularly friendly and didn’t seem perturbed by the dog at all. “We have a basset hound,” Leslie continued. “And one day my husband was walking the dog when he called me and told me he found this adorable little kitten that just seemed like he wanted attention.”
As a result, then, Jon stopped to interact with the adorable kitten. And when he told Leslie about the cute little cat, she rushed to meet them with some much-needed food for the animal. Clearly, the tiny fur baby had already made an enormous impression on the couple’s hearts.
Eventually, though, the couple were forced to leave the kitten behind and continue on their way. But it seemed that the little animal had other ideas. Yes, when Jon, Leslie and their dog went on their way, the kitten decided to follow them.
At this point, the Nienabers pulled out a camera and began to film the adorable scenes. In the footage, the kitten tails determinedly behind Jon and the dog, and at one point, it even breaks into a sprint to keep up with them.
Leslie told LoveMeow, “He poked his head through a little chain link fence. He started following Jon and me as we were walking away! He seemed determined to stay with us.” The couple therefore indulged the little cat and let him follow them all the way home.
Then, once they returned to their house, the couple provided the little kitten with some TLC. “When I got him home, he was really dirty, and I tried to clean him the best I could. He seemed hungry,” Leslie explained.
But although the kitten had carved a special place in their hearts, the Nienabers simply couldn’t take on another animal. So they committed themselves to finding it a suitable home for the cat. And that’s when Leslie’s sister Sarah stepped in.
Sarah is a big cat lover, so Leslie thought she was her best shot at rehoming the kitten. And she was right. Indeed, Sarah came to pick up the adorable animal the very next day.
Sarah then brought the kitten home and named him “Pinot.” But although Leslie knew little Pinot was in the best possible place, she felt sad handing him over. In fact, part of her wished that she could have kept him with her.
“I’ll admit that it was really hard to give Pinot away,” Leslie told LoveMeow. “He was just this brave, determined little soul who wanted to survive, and was the cutest kitten we had ever seen.”
However, Leslie took comfort in the fact that she’d still get to see Pinot. In that sense, then, she had the best of both worlds. “It made me really happy that my sister took him in,” Leslie said. “Because I knew I’d get to see him grow and I could always visit him.”
What’s more, little Pinot had a similar effect on Sarah, too. Indeed, it was love at first sight for her when she set eyes upon the ginger kitten. And charged with the care of the baby cat, Sarah threw herself into getting him strong again. Subsequently, she saw that the kitten had some attention from the vet, and so very soon Pinot was as right as rain.
However, Leslie believes that things could have been much different for Pinot if they’d have simply left him on the street to fend for himself. “My sister Sarah was seriously an angel,” she gushed. “I am convinced that he would have died if we hadn’t brought him home.”
But happily, one year after his rescue, Pinot was fighting fit. And he loved nothing more than causing mischief. “He is obsessed with Q-tips, to the point where Sarah has found them scattered all around her bathroom,” Leslie revealed. “And [he] loves watching birds from their apartment window.”
Furthermore, Pinot had transformed from a tiny ball of fluff into a huge fuzz monster. “The vet thinks he has some Main Coon in him,” Leslie told LoveMeow. “He still has some of his ‘street smarts,’ and you will often find him hiding around a corner ready to pounce.”
With any luck, though, Pinot will never have to use his wily ways again. Now, his days are free to sleep in cardboard boxes, play in kitchen cupboards and stalk birds from the comfort of his home. In short, this kitty is living the feline dream – and honestly, who can blame him?