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How A Cat Reversed The Fortunes of A Senior

Lesley O'Donnell - Friday, August 03, 2018

As August is the month of feline kings, I thought it especially fitting to write about a glorious thick-maned cat called Leo who I recently photographed on the Sunshine Coast.

He has a very interesting story.

Not only was he a rescue cat but, in the most unlikely of circumstances, he essentially rescued his new owner Val.

As a senior with declining health issues Val moved into an Aged Care Facility and was destined to stay there until the end of her days. But with some life changing treatment and sheer determination on her part, she managed to beat the odds and moved out to live independently again. Such an incredible and inspiring achievement!

Her one wish for her reclaimed life was to have a cat as a companion.

Her family thought it would be a straightforward task to visit an animal shelter and adopt on the spot. But Val had other ideas and felt she needed to sense an undefined “something” before making her decision.She wanted a “special” cat and it took many visits to many shelters to find him.

Waiting to be found was three year old Ragdoll Leo. He was accustomed to an indulgent life with another elderly citizen but became orphaned when she passed away.

Val couldn’t believe her luck when she first set eyes on Leo. “When I looked at him and he looked at me I felt an immediate connection and knew he was the one!” 

With his soft colours and captivating blue eyes he was so beautiful and good natured that she couldn’t understand why he hadn’t already been re-homed. Maybe he instinctively knew he had to wait for Val and the staff at the shelter held him back until they found just the right person to become his new carer.

The outcome was perfect and they are now absolutely devoted to each other. Leo comes and goes as he likes, enjoys basking in the sunshine on the windowsill as he watches the world go by, snuggles up for cuddles whenever he wants them (which is often) and allows Val to shower him with great affection.

Unknown to Val, until after she had signed his adoption papers, Leo’s original owner was so incredibly fond of her stunning cat that she wrote into her will that there be enough funds held over to support Leo in comfort and in health for the rest of his life. So for Val, this was an unexpected bonus to choosing the right cat. 

Val pinches herself about finding such a beautiful cat companion and wonders if she should enter him in Cat Shows. With a collection of his framed photos now adorning her living room wall she made the comment, “ My house now looks so trendy!”

I think this is a tale about good karma, the restorative properties having a pet can bring and good finding good.


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Pet Photography - Checkmate

Lesley O'Donnell - Thursday, August 04, 2011

Pepper and Olivia

I am very proud of the photos I took of these two cats as initially it seemed I might not achieve them at all. 

Olivia, the black cat, was rescued from under a house after being dumped and I think her early experience of life has made her weary of strangers. I was forewarned that I may not even catch a glimpse of her as she would probably hide under the bed and stay well away from me. Curiously though she warmed to me and even let me stroke her and so I was thrilled to be able to secure some stunning shots of her individually and with Mercy, her mum.

On the other hand I had expected to easily photograph Pepper, the striking Rag Doll as she had been described to me as friendly, social and playful. However, she was totally freaked out by the clicking shutter of my camera and tried desperately to stay away from me. Much patience and coercing were required but the time and effort were well worthwhile and Mercy was rewarded with some beautiful shots of her adored feline beauties.

Anonymous commented on 04-Aug-2011 09:39 AM
Well what better background could you have had than the present one, perfect colours. They are beautiful cats too.It just happens that this morning I was visiting a lady and she had two ragdoll cats and they were beautiful too. Have heard of them but this
was the first time of actually seeing one in the flesh! You must have heaps of patience and it sure pays off. Keep going.
Anne commented on 06-Aug-2011 09:34 AM
I fully agree with tha last person,Anonymous, right on the button. You area very clever and patient.
Dina commented on 06-Aug-2011 04:46 PM
Lesley these are stunning shots of the girls. I have a real soft spot for Olivia because she is so timid - I'm probably the only other person she allows to pat her. To see her perform in these photos was amazing. As for Miss Pepper who tends to steal the
show each time I go over - she surprised me with her hesitation. You have certainly captured the girls' beauty. I love my stunning feline nieces. Great job Lesley.

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