By ERIN MAYES
Angel the cat has used up all nine of her lives and moved on to the 12th or so.
A feral kitten found by Paul Purifoy and his wife, Kym Curran, of Pine Mountain Lake, she was part of a family of kittens, almost all of which were killed by dogs.
She has been adopted out four times, and each of her adopted owners has died.
Angel was attacked by a wild animal and thought to be beyond hope.
"We're talking about something where you could see her brains," Purifoy said.
Despite her trauma, she remains friendly.
When Purifoy took Angel to veterinarian James Van Gerpen to have her euthanized after she lost an eye in the animal attack, he was surprised when the vet asked if he'd rather save the tabby.
He said yes.
Today, Angel remains with Purifoy and Curran, now the founders of a nonprofit feral kitten rescue organization called Kittytails.
"We think that Angel is just going to stay with us now," Purifoy said.
Though they are the ones who chose to start the organization, something drew the cats to them.
Purifoy and Curran moved to the area in 1996 with two cats of their own. They put their pets' feeding dishes outside and were astonished when a dozen cats descended on the chow.
A self-described cat lover, Curran began trapping the cats to have them spayed or neutered and released again.
But often, there were already new litters of kittens to contend with, and Curran took in, spayed, neutered and adopted out about 50 felines in the first year she and Purifoy lived in their Pine Mountain Lake Airport neighborhood.
Purifoy estimates his wife is responsible for preventing the area cat population from increasing by 1.4 million since she began her efforts.
In 2001, Kittytails became a company, and this year it was incorporated as a nonprofit.