Rio the kitten

Sweet little Rio from Kankakee County Humane Foundation.

One of the best parts of my job is getting to enjoy Lifestyles of Kankakee County with you when a new issue releases. That happened this week when the October and November issue hit the stands.

Every issue has been special, but this particular edition ventured into new territory for us, as we had the opportunity to feature and include kittens and cats that are up for adoption at local shelters.

Not only was it a treat to get to meet and pet some of these furry felines, but it was incredible to see the work these shelters do. Staff and volunteers work tirelessly with the same goal of caring for animals and helping them find their forever homes.

It was difficult not to take all of them home myself and add to my already big family of pets.

Every cat we interacted with during the magazine’s production had its own personality and story. There was Rio, at the Kankakee County Humane Foundation, who had been discovered by a truck driver in the middle of the road during a storm.

Rio fits in your hand and was all about the snuggles, no matter who was holding her.

Then, there was Ellie Mae, at New Beginnings for Cats, who was sweet and shy. We were told she is a loving mother to her new litter of kittens.

We also visited Sunrise Center Animal Rescue, where every “model” we were introduced to just loved to be held. And while we didn’t get a chance to visit River Valley Animal Rescue, it was walking past their Momence storefront that inspired the idea for this issue.

We interacted with more than a dozen cats and, while some were initially shy, they all warmed up and just wanted to be pet or held. Much like us humans, they just want love.

It was tricky to get some of them to look in the direction of the camera. I stood behind the photographer with cat toys to get their attention. In doing so, I had to laugh to myself thinking about how, less than two years ago, I was afraid of cats.

Now, I can’t imagine life without my two cats. It was as though having them in my life was preparation for this issue.

Three of my four pets came from shelters — two of them locally — and not a day goes by where I don’t think “how did we get so lucky to find these boys?”

I often have that question of “How did I get so lucky?” when thinking about my job. Not only do I get to interact with the great people of Kankakee County but also the animals, which is what made this issue so special.

And, the best part is two co-workers involved with the magazine wound up adopting kittens.

Thank you to those who work endlessly to give these sweet animals the care they need until they find their forever families.

Taylor Leddin is the Life editor at the Daily Journal and is the editor of Lifestyles of Kankakee County. Her column, “A Taylor-Made Life,” publishes every Saturday in the Life section. She can be contacted by phone 815-937-3369, email tleddin@daily-journal.com or via Twitter @leddinlife.