Carla Jimenez of “The Mick,” “Last Man Standing,” and “Raising Hope” has always left her heart and home open to cats.
The actress tells PawCulture that even as a child, she was always bringing home cats to take care of, to the mock exasperation of her father.
So, it’s of no surprise that Jimenez continues to give felines in need a chance to thrive.
Jimenez’s first cat, Peaches, thrived in her care for 13 years despite having a heart condition. “It just shows you if you love and care for them, anything is possible,” she says.
After Peaches died, Jimenez wasn’t sure if she was ready to welcome a new cat into her life. Then, while donating items to a high-kill shelter in Van Nuys, California, she found herself in a bit of a pickle.
“I went and, of course, I couldn’t help myself, I had to go look at the cats,” Jimenez says.
It was in that moment she saw a young, scrawny orange kitty who was fighting a cold. Though Jimenez didn’t bring him home on the spot, she kept returning to the shelter, clearly drawn to him.
Eventually, she went back and adopted the cat, who she named Joey but is also known as her “Creamsicle kitty.”
Once home, Joey turned out to be a hyper-affectionate feline (Jimenez says he greets her by the door like a dog would) and two years ago, Jimenez and her boyfriend decided it was time to give him a buddy.
She returned to the same high-kill shelter and found herself in a very similar predicament as before, falling for another sickly kitten.
“If nobody’s going to pay attention to them, I’ll pay attention to them,” she says.
With that, Jimenez brought home a tuxedo kitten named Max. While the fluffy kitty had a bit of baby brother syndrome when he first came home (he initially hissed at Joey), Jimenez says that “within ten minutes, they were touching noses.”
Since then, the pair have been inseparable, playing and snuggling all the time.
Max and Joey’s story has a happy ending, but considering where they started, Jimenez knows their fate could have been very different.
“In a world where there are so many loving, amazing animals that need homes in shelters, why would you want to buy one?” she says.
In addition to urging that animal lovers live by the “adopt, don’t shop” motto, Jimenez says any future pet parent should take their time to find the right match for their family.
“Don’t rush into it, it’s not a simple decision you’re going to make,” she says. “When you go to that shelter, let the animal pick you. You pick each other.”
Jimenez says that both Max and Joey ultimately picked her during those shelter visits, and none of their lives have ever been the same.
“You’re not only having your life saved by having adopted an animal, you’re saving their life as well,” she says.
Images via Bobby Quillard; Carla Jimenez Instagram