We recently adopted three rescue Persians from Joy Hawksley Hill – Zac, Lexi who we call Mona because she has a voice in everything and Tyler who became Chai as he is the colour of a good Chai Latte.

Here is our story……… My love affair with Persians started when my dad bought me my first cream Persian at the age of three, add on sixty years and I have always had a Persian, or two and sometimes three.  Our two boys Google.com and Pandaboy sadly passed away at 15 towards the end of last year.  We also have a 17 year old Maine Coon who arrived at our guest house one cold August moonlit night and never left, hence the name August Moon.  My husband loves cats but also dogs, so in addition to the cats, we have two Jack Russell’s, Bubba Jack, Ella May, two mixed girlies, Sassy and Tess and an old Golden Retriever called Fudge.

All my Persian cats have been purchased as kittens from breeders and raised and socialised with our dogs.  When Panda and Google went over the rainbow, we decided that with the sixties looming it would be irresponsible to look for a Persian kitten, so made the decision that we would love and treasure August Moon who is now in his twilight years and not get another kitty. 

Christmas came and went, our boys left a big gap in our household and one day I thought I wonder if anyone rescues Persian cats.  No, no, no my brain shouted, how would we integrate fully grown cats into our household?  Yes, yes, yes said my heart and when I found Joy’s website and Facebook page the heart won and the brain just had to take second place. 

I contacted Joy, who is one sassy, knowledgeable and tell it like it is lady.  She is the voice for these voiceless rescues and not just Persians, all cats.   I sent off a bit of background to her, some pictures of our property, we live in St Francis Bay, Eastern Cape and she is in Johannesburg so it’s a no brainer that a house check would be difficult.  I told her that we had dogs, that we had only had kittens with the exception of August Moon, but wanted to try and offer a home to a rescue Persian. I approached it not from what cat we wanted, but from what she saw as the best fit for our situation.   She was upbeat, honest and pulled no punches, “Are your dogs used to cats” “Yes” I answered.  After receiving our info, Joy asked our local SPCA lady, also Joy to come and inspect our home.  My husband and I nervously awaited her visit and recommendations like “soon to be” parents.  Joy Hawksley-Hill ticks all the boxes before her cats leave her, she does everything possible to ensure that these rescue kitties go to the best homes possible.  All the admin work is completed prior to arrival by Natalie who assists Joy with her organization.  Now which kitty would we get, then it became which kitties would we get, we always had two, so maybe two would work…..but no wait…….there were three who had been in one home together, oh well said my husband let’s not split them up.  So we found ourselves travelling to the Port Elizabeth airport one Tuesday morning to pick up our little family of rescue Persians.

Fast forward a month and we have enjoyed every minute of having this trio of kitties in our house. Zac the gentleman, Mona the drama queen with attitude and calm, sweet, contented Chai.   We followed Joy’s instructions to the tee, we had name discs made with their telephone numbers on, but no names, and we took some cooking oil and rubbed it on their feet when they arrived.  We kept them in our bedroom area for two weeks with supervised outside time.  Every day after that we added a new component to their day, a walk in a different part of the garden, an introduction to August Moon, then a meet and greet with one of the dogs, then another and so on until everyone had met everyone else.  Then we let them out for a couple of hours a day still supervised.  A month on and its business as usual in our house, cats and dogs totally integrated, happy and healthy.  We were patient and calm and let the cats set the pace.  Normally it takes me two weeks to introduce a kitten into our household and to the dogs, it took me the same amount of time to introduce our adult Persians.

It is wonderful to see how they all get along, but even more wonderful to know that we have given these adult kitties a secure home where they are loved and pampered.  Yes, I did the kitten thing for sixty years but really wish I had looked into adopting a rescue Persian sooner.  It is absolutely possible to integrate adult cats into your household with your other animals and Joy gives you a step by step 101 guide on how to do it successfully.  Please, please consider this when looking for a kitty.

We will forever be grateful to Joy for trusting us enough to send us these three amazing kitties.

Michele Stockdale

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