Cyclist Madison Kelly was participating in a bike race in the South Chicago neighborhood of Chicago when she ended up going home with an entirely different prize than she had expected. After finishing the race, Kelly was headed to her van when she caught sight of a group of fellow cyclists who were holding something small in their hands. It was a tiny kitten.
Kelly, the owner of an elderly cat, was curious and went over to see the kitten. "She was a lone kitten. Some bike racers found her all dirty under a car and carried her around looking for someone to take her," Kelly said.
The cyclists handed over the kitten to Kelly, and the little one immediately climbed onto her shoulder and refused to leave. Kelly had suddenly found herself with a new cat. "I didn't win the race but won a stray kitten's companionship," said Kelly.
Kelly named the kitten Puig, which she said "means podium in Latin and climb in Catalan." Puig knew right away that she had found the right person for her. "As soon as we got into the van, she curled up in my lap, purring," Kelly explained.
Once Puig arrived at Kelly's house, she made herself right at home. She began to enjoy the good life with Kitsy, Kelly's older cat, and learned to love baths and good food. "Since then, she is always wanting to be where I am and into what I'm doing," Kelly said. "Her personality is very playful and inquisitive."
"She likes to snuggle but when she's not snuggling, she's causing all kinds of mischief and hilarity hunting sponges and socks and stashing them in strange places," Kelly stated. "She stashed a wet kitchen sponge under the covers by my feet while I slept. My boyfriend and I typically wake up to a collection of socks laid out on the covers, gifts from Puig's night of hunting."
When 19-year-old Kitsy died, Puig was sad and in need of a new friend. So Kelly and her boyfriend adopted a new rescue kitten named Waffle. Puig and Waffle hit it off immediately, and it's hard to find one without the other.
Kelly went to that race to win, but she ended up with the best prize of all – the heart of a sweet little cat. "Adopt a stray and they will love you forever," she said.