We lost our beloved Bonni in the summer of 2013 after 16 wonderful years. We still had two beautiful girls but the hole that Bonni left was significant. My other half and I would lament how no one came to sit with us on the sofa, and at night no one would cuddle up to us on the bed. As loving as our girls were they were not lap or bed cats, likely muscled out by the strong personality that Bonni had been.
I thought that maybe the time was right to bring a new baby home but I liked the idea of a rescue cat. We had been to breeders previously but had tended to chose the unwanted, with our last kitten having been born with only one functioning but very beautiful eye, and adopting as our first ever cat, an old stud and show cat who had passed his alleged prime! I believe fate drew me to see Jumbo’s Strawberry Persian rescue advertisement online. He looked like Bagpuss, a big old cream cameo Persian and there was something soulful and desperately sad in his eyes. I have seen stud cats living in a pen in a garden before I only adopted rescue cats, and Jumbo was a stud cat before Strawberry got him, so he reminded me of a sad chimp held in a zoo. When I found out more from Strawberry about his background. I couldn’t wait to offer him a new home.
Having contacted Strawberry and being successfully home-checked I would check the Facebook page regularly and I happened to see a very striking exotic cat called Jaffacakes on the page. My goodness but he had an amazing face! Almost other-wordly in an alien sense with huge azure blue eyes and I have to say I was smitten! His history (before Strawberry), was that the family on his chip could not be bothered collecting him when as an indoor only cat, he had got out and got lost again from their home. He was too much trouble they said. On enquiring to Strawberry, I was sad to hear he had been chosen by another lady but I did mention to Strawberry that if he became available I would be interested. Little did I know that at the time he was the most requested cat that Strawberry had ever had! I recall so vividly sitting on the Jubilee line going home after work and Strawberry messaging me to say that the new home for Jaffacakes had fallen through and that he had become quite bonded with Jumbo. Jaffacakes had a love for Jumbo’s huge and expressive tail, so much so that they had been full introduced ready for me to adopt as a pair. They had been put in together and had become great chums! Would I consider adopting two? Well she didn’t have to ask twice and so we found ourselves driving to Strawberry with two cat carriers and much excitement!
Bringing in two new boys to our home with two established girls is no easy feat but credit where its due, our girls were really quite easy going and welcoming! Jumbo, with his background of being in a pen situation (before rescue), took longer to come round and even now he doesn’t allow us to pick him up and everything is very much on his terms but he is a loving bundle of joy with the dirtiest cream face that he pushes into bowls of cat food with glee. He loves to eat and is such a happy soul snoozing on his part of the sofa (woe betide you if you choose to sit in his space!).
Jaffacakes or JC as we call him is the apple of his mother’s eye. As affectionate a cat as I have ever known in my 40 plus years, he will climb into your arms upstretched from the floor at full height to be picked up and kissed as he wraps his head around your face and purrs like a little steam train with puffing cheeks. I know we aren’t meant to have favourites but my goodness he is my very heart and soul and has been from day one! I cannot imagine my life without him or indeed Jumbo who make our family unit so happy.
Just over a year after the boys came home, and having kept in touch with the Strawberry family, so inspired by the work that they do, they told me about another little exotic who had been forced to sleep outside in a garden for many years to avoid children. The neighbours threatened to call the RSPCA if her family did not take her to a rescue, so she was taken to Strawberry to have her sore eyes etc sorted out. She looked like JC’s sister but without the luminescent eyes! Her photos showed an innate sadness that touched me, and knowing just how wonderful JC as an exotic shorthair was, who was I to say not to this little cream lady who through no fault of her own had been neglected and unloved? So Strawberry number 3 came home with us and nearly a year on she is just as wonderful and affectionate as any cat I have known. She loves to sit on the arm of the sofa and cuddle into my other half and will lie in bed with us atop our head like a cream Davy Crockett hat! She purrs and seems so happy to have a warm bed and a bowl full of biscuits. My little Dolly! is now adored and cossetted and loved and we regularly tell her as she dreams on her feather pillow that she will never be outside again and never neglected.
I cannot put into words what a difference my three strawberry cats have made to our lives. Last Christmas, cuddled up on the couch with cheese and biscuits, corny Christmas films on and all three of them perched next to and on us on the sofa, all felt right with the world. Were we lucky with these three particular cats? Possibly- but then there is also the rescue angle- they seem to appreciate us and what we give them- which is absolute love and adoration. Maybe they appreciate it all the more because they had experienced neglect in their lives- who knows?! What I do know though is that there is nothing better in the whole world than all of being together and some mornings when all 5 of my cats are in the bedroom and on the bed- I am the happiest!
I would never buy a kitten from a breeder again. Strawberry rescue has demonstrated just how wonderful rescuing a cat can be. There are so many beautiful feline souls out there without the need for breeders to make money from even more kittens. Would I recommend adopting? Oh my goodness yes. My life is a million times happier with my strawberry babies. They have literally changed my life for the better and I couldn’t live without them!