Zoe a little cat adopted from TEARS

- gardening for biodiversity
in Cape Town, South Africa

It was time to make space in our home for a lady cat. Someone to play with Thomas. We went to TEARS our local animal shelter. When cats with kittens are brought in, the kittens find homes easily, but mama gets left behind - and I wanted to give the discarded mama a second chance. Thomas is a six and half kilo big fluffy cat and I was nervous of introducing his wary character to a little person.

Zoë with teddy bears and books

After we lost Aragon, Thomas was a lonely only in the calm before the storm.

Thomas before

The cat beds are the same size but the Ungardener made Zoë's smaller so the little cat wouldn't feel lost. Yes so. When we let her out of the guest room, she strolled over to Thomas, breezily parked her front paws on the chair and said 'Hi Thomas, I'm Zoë'. She spread herself across the large bed, and Thomas concertinaed in the small one (even in the large one he scatters paws and legs over the edge!)

Large and small cat beds

We are not used such liveliness. Oh, a wooden giraffe - let's climb it! Down he came with an almighty thump and lost an ear.

Battered giraffe

Blurred cat

Zoë is our third tabby cat. Each one was different in shape and pattern and temperament. Pickwick our first was a short square sturdy cat. When we came home from work, we would hear her meow crescendo from the bottom of the garden, then see the raised flag of her tail ascending the slope. We now have both the largest and the smallest cats we have ever had. Zoë is named for her neat Zebra stripes, her white sOcks, and her roundish squarish monkEy face. 

Back to front Zoë

Side by side in the garden you can see the contrast in size, which daunts her. Not. At. All.

Cats in our garden

The first time we let her in the garden, Thomas followed her carefully step by step like a nanny. I left them to investicat. Sigh. Later I went to ask Thomas 'Where is Zoë?' He was perched on the pillar of our boundary wall, and turned a worried face back to the neighbour's garden. 'Over there!' Sod's law she chose the neighbour who HATES cats. Thomas and I waited ... and she found a way up from the lawn and bare walls ... tightroped along the crest of the wall ... and when I could reach, I lifted her down. When Thomas thumped down after her, she dropped belly to the ground 'A leopard!!'

Thomas and Zoë

He is a daunting expanse of cat, but watches over her carefully. First time she startled him (a cat, another! cat behind the curtain) he did a backward somersault.


Our Thomas has recovered from his horror of people and I hope forgotten an abused childhood. Rescued and adopted cats so we pick November for Thomas and December for Zoë. At the end of this year they will both be three, and Thomas will hopefully be fully grown.

Zoë at the door

Now that Zoë is free to come and go (when the door is open) she lolls in a patch of sun on the doormat.

Sadly TEARS is battling to survive. They would like to again provide free veterinary services to the township animals of Ocean View and Masiphumelele. Our monthly stop order and a home for one cat (Bella who is now Zoë) make a small difference. To support them please click the TEARS link

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Pictures by Diana and Jürg Studer

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  1. I have a Tabby cat similar to Zoe but with a lot less white. Your Thomas is a beautiful cat though - wow.

    1. Thomas is an SPCA special. I think Turkish Van as he loves water. We had no idea he would ... grow ... SO big!!

    2. Adoption is the only way to go IMHO. So glad for Zoe. She appears to have adapted to her new home. Her marking are striking under her chin and down her back. Congrats on your new family member !

  2. Zoe is gorgeous. Skimble - our very large tabby - says hello, as does Jess, our smaller black and white :) Ours are rescue cats too.

    1. Thomas and Zoe touch noses back ;~)

  3. Fun times at your house, Diana.

  4. They're getting along so well! Thomas is so good to look after his house-mate! All my own cats have been rescues too. When I adopted my Pipig as a companion for Ming, some 6 months after Ming's litter mate died, Ming hissed and spit for 2 days but then seemingly shrugged off his temper tantrum and accepted her. She was about a year old at the time and had already had a litter of kittens so perhaps she was more mature in her way than 7-year old Ming. I think about adopting another with some regularity but my husband argues that Pipig is pleased to now be the queen of all she surveys.

    1. We have had the same discussion. I was afraid Thomas would run away if there was an intruder on HIS patch. But between my husband and TEARS, Zoe won.

  5. Those are some beautiful photos and lucky cats. Our Maggie the wonder dog was an older lady found in a pound, she was incredible as I am sure you remember. Toby was a bought puppy from a breeder - my only excuse is that I am sensitive to hair casting and dander so we knew we wanted another mini schnauzer and I was bereft after losing Maggie. BUT I totally advocate adopting an animal - they are all so very lovely! Congrats on your new arrival :) xx

  6. cute and funny (and serious) post - congrats on extending the family.

  7. I really enjoyed this post. So good that little Zoe has already integrated into the family. What a beautiful cat :) B x

  8. Such is the inestimable value of self-confidence! Incidentally, I've moved from Dorset to Yorkshire and have created a new blog to reflect the new environs - Loose and Leafy in Halifax - https://looseandleafyinhalifax.blogspot.co.uk/

    Your Thomas looks terrifying!

    1. I have been to visit to your Halifax blog. Look forward to more as you settle in.

      Thomas is a gentle soul, unaware of how large and daunting he is ;~)

  9. Diana, This is a children's picture book story in a blog post! Delightful! The different personalities of your two cats come through so clearly in your images and words. I love the way Zoe immediately commandeered the larger cat bed and the way she sprawls across the threshold of the open door. So much for being shy in a new setting! And I love the way Thomas allowed her to take over his bed -- such a gentleman.

  10. I love this posting, Diana. Zoe is adorable. And how wonderful that you give a 'shout out' for the animal shelter. I hope many of your followers heed the call. P. x

    1. I do hope another cat or dog will find a happy home.

  11. Looks like you have a lovely new addition to your family. xo Laura

  12. Thomas sure is a gentleman giving up his bed and cute Zoe relaxes with complete entitlement. Our experience with cats is, they never stop growing. Our Purdee is fourteen now and she also says, h--meow.

  13. They are so beautiful! Thank goodness there are kind people like you to give these cats a loving home. We too have Grace who was left at the RSPCA with a box full of kittens and every pest and disease know to felines! The kittens easily found a home, but no one wanted a scrappy looking cat. We took her and she blossomed. She is such a delight and I am so thankful for the charities that give these animals a second chance at life. All the best. Karen

  14. I'm so glad Zoe is settling in so well, she looks lovely and reminds me so much of our previous cat Twinkle. Sarah x


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