Repeat Rescuer and Family Saved by Kitten

Cat lovers move past grief through adoption

We’re proud to announce that we’ve reached a pet adoption milestone: PetSmart Charities has found homes for more than 6 million dogs and cats!

Meet Missy June, who helped us mark this milestone when she went home with the Johnson family during PetSmart Charities National Adoption Weekend.

This story is written by PetSmart Charities Roving Reporter Bart Butler.


“Hey, you got a kitten!”

man holds kittenThat was the surprised reaction Neptune, New Jersey, resident Wayne Johnson got from his family when he returned from the PetSmart Charities® National Adoption Weekend carrying a charcoal gray kitten with green eyes.

They were surprised because Wayne had gone to the event looking only for information, not a new kitten.

The family — Wayne’s wife, Amanda, his 12-year-old daughter, Queyana, and his mother, Lillie — had just lost their male cat of 10 years, Bushin. Wayne hoped the event would help him learn the latest on how to adopt a new one — when the family was ready.

Event reawakens Wayne’s inner cat rescuer

“The environment was pretty cool,” Wayne said, “with all the kids and families and pets around. There were cats and dogs everywhere, and at some point you start to think, ‘I’ve got to save a pet today.’”

Wayne has loved cats from the time his mom got him one when he was in sixth grade.

And he’s had a passion for rescuing them ever since.

“Even when I was in college, my friends and I had cats,” he said. “We found a kitten on campus. We rescued it. That’s always been my mission.”

New kitten helps family move on

Wayne said losing their adult cat left his family sad and feeling empty. But he knew a new pet would help them move on and refocus more positively on life. “It’s something specific to pets,” he said. “It’s what they do.”

Wayne opted for a dramatic change. “I just wanted to start fresh,” he said. “We had a boy cat, let’s get a girl. And I definitely wanted a kitten.”

Special kitten fits right in with new family

Wayne knew this gray kitten was special. “She impressed me from the start,” he said. “She was totally relaxed, taking in the whole event, looking around like she was part of the show.”

cute kittenThey call her Missy June, and she’s quickly become part of the Johnson family’s routine.

“In the morning, she wakes you up by licking you,” Wayne said.

“As you’re getting dressed she’s pulling on your pant leg, pulling on your sock.

“When you’re in the bathroom, shaving, she jumps up on the sink. She’s all into it, running around the house until you leave for work.”

She’s also curious. “When someone visits, she doesn’t hide, she’s right there to see what’s going on,” said Wayne. “If they have a bag, her expression says, ‘what’s in that bag?’”

Missy June certainly keeps her family entertained. “She’s really playful,” says Wayne.

“She gets a kick out of these furry little mouse things. She picks them up and tosses them up in the air. She’ll grab them and run around with them, then she’ll bring them to you.

“Watching her is always entertaining.”

Feeling blessed by new family member

“We’re grateful to PetSmart Charities,” said Wayne. “We’ve got a beautiful cat, and PetSmart Charities almost delivered her right to our door with this adoption event.”

“We were empty, lonely, we didn’t know what to do,” he said. “And they provided us with a wonderful pet, just by virtue of me walking in. It was beautiful.”


Of course, Wayne’s rescuing ways get a fair bit of the credit, too.


Months later, it’s even clearer that the Johnsons are Missy June’s forever family.  They’ve dubbed her the family’s “little sister,” because she’s become playmate and snuggle buddy to the Johnsons’ 13-year-old daughter, Queyana.  

She still plays favorites with Wayne (especially when it comes to feeding time), but both Missy June and Queyana have learned a lot from each other. “Missy June still has new experiences in our house after all this time,” said Wayne. “She’s very curious, but sometimes even the simplest things startle her — a broom falls and she jumps aside.”

While Missy June is learning the inner workings of the Johnson home and training her humans on her preferences, Queyana is learning the value of pet adoption. “We’ve purchased dogs in the past, but now that we’ve adopted Missy June, Queyana’s learning how important it is to save an animal. She even wants to adopt another pet — maybe a puppy someday.” 

At first, Missy June was helping the Johnsons cope with the loss of their older cat, Bushin. They still have many fond memories, but now they’re more focused on the future with Missy June. “As much as we notice the similarities between Missy June and Bushin, we’re having fun learning about Missy June and what she likes to do.” 

The family has discovered how truly playful Missy June is. She’s very active, loves to play fetch and carries toy mice in her mouth. “When you try to take toys from her, she talks back to you,” Wayne said. “But, she doesn’t appear to like walking on a leash as much as Bushin did.”

And the Johnsons don’t mind that. They’re too busy basking in the joy of having Missy June in their family.



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