Written by Wendy Scheepers – Marketing Manager: TEARS
Professional photography by Rachel Moncrieff-Robonison and Roxy Zunckel
Handsome, sociable tabby cat Jamie was very friendly with the team at the TEARS offices, graciously accepting offerings of food and warm cosy places to lay his head. He’d been born next door to the centre and lived on Lekkerwater Road, and when he and his siblings visited, we were more than happy to see that they were attended to, checked by the veterinarian and sterilised.
Jamie seemed to like us just fine, and one day he decided to stay on as a TEARS’s office cat. He was always ready with a purr and up for a cuddle or two – he brightened up everyone’s day.
Goodbyes and greetings
Tragically, in 2019, Jamie passed away when he was knocked over by a car. The staff at TEARS were devastated by this loss and we all mourned our beloved Jamie for many months.
During this time, we continued to notice Jamie’s sibling, who’d regularly stroll past the office. He looked so much like his brother – both with the same colouring, just slightly different markings. Not knowing the name of this larger strapping male, we took to calling him “Jamie’s Brother” or “JB”.
It didn’t take long before JB too began to come through the open window to sample the food we’d put out for him. Now, the king office cat, Baloo, didn’t take to this. Although looking nearly identical to Jamie, he wasn’t the easy-going, laid-back cat that his brother had been.
As the months passed, JB and Baloo began to settle and tolerate each other a bit more. But things were about to change for these two feline friends.
King of the castle
Baloo was adopted to a wonderful home. Of course, confident JB didn’t wait for a coronation before assuming his royal post. He was now king of his castle and he knew it. JB would sit atop the printer and gaze down upon the mere mortals who attended his every need and wish.
In each office, JB had a selection of cosy beds to choose from. His nights were very busy, so he snoozed away most of the day, allowing us to stroke him… until he didn’t. JB was most interested in the shed in which he knew the catnip was stored; he could sense that we’d be entering this shed and we’d be charged a catnip fee for entry. There was no hiding the catnip – JB always knew where it was.
On most days, we’d sprinkle him a catnip pile in the sunshine and he’d roll in the pile until he was covered in ‘nip then bake in the sunshine in his daze. JB came to be known as the Big Boss. He ruled TEARS and we all knew it. We were all privileged to work under him, but at the same time, we wanted more for him. Life as the cat boss of TEARS is a good one, but, just as any animal at TEARS, we wanted him to have a forever home.
A happier goodbye
We put JB on our website and on social media, he was featured in the newspaper, and we were even able to boost his post hoping that his future family would see him. It took a few months, but we finally had an application from someone who thought that King JB might just be The One.
Marda de Wet saw JB’s photo and description. Sadly, she’d just lost one of her cats, but JB’s personality seemed spot on and he looked so similar to her female cat. Marda came to meet JB and settled that he was indeed The One!
JB was whisked off to Bantry Bay to rule a new kingdom where he can live happily ever after, ruling his new roost.
Marda, JB’s new mother, shares...
First a little bit of history....
Last August, our TEARS alumni, Nelson, also known as His Magnificence, Mr Purrfect, and Admiral Nelson II, was diagnosed with kidney problems and his bone marrow wasn’t making enough red blood cells. We were giving him a subcutaneous drip daily, including a pill (which he loathed). At the same time I tripped and broke my shoulder into a million little pieces. So that meant we were confined to bed, and Nelson “glamped” under the sheet! We threw everything into the fight but, heartbreakingly, Nelson died on the 22nd of December. I was devastated.
Then, a tiny little voice reminded me that if one loses someone very special, the best thing to do in their honour is to give someone a home who needs one.
So, I opened the computer and started searching. I had very specific criteria; it had to be a boy around seven years old. I searched and searched online and couldn’t find a single cat who fitted the bill until I came to the TEARS’s website and there was JB. It was love at first sight; just like with Nelson. I knew he was the cat for me.
I can’t drive, so a friend drove all the way from Bantry Bay to far-off Fishhoek to TEARS. When we got there, we’d been stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic and JB had decided to take himself off for a stroll – he was nowhere to be found. So we decided to go for lunch (a delicious vegan pizza in Muizenberg). Now the road was much less packed and we made good time back to TEARS.
This time his highness was there! He was immediately popped into the carrier, although I felt very guilty that I was taking him away from everything he knew.
I’d prepared a separate room for him with all his stuff, where I’d also be sleeping. He didn’t give a second glance to his toys or his beds and came right up to cuddle up to me. There was just an instant bond that I cannot explain – but it’s very powerful. When I call him, he comes immediately.
He certainly is one of the biggest cats I’ve ever seen. His huge paws are like a (feline) Mohammad Ali’s hands!
It was amazing how quickly he settled; really from the first evening. He just seems to know that I’m his mummy and that nothing will happen to him. He has his favourite spots to lounge – on top of the sofa, on the sofa seats – and he loves to rip the bejesus out of the scratchpad!
JB is the coolest cat I’ve ever encountered! He’s so chilled and laid back; he knows he could take on a cat or dog if need be, but he’s just a pacifist. He sits on the side of our perimeter wall and meets and greets the passers-by that want a chat – and JB’s happy to oblige!
The most amazing thing is that whenever I call him if he’s outside, and I jangle my keys, he immediately comes to me. That’s very comforting. When the team works at the dining room table, he’s in his basket and manages the amazing feat of sleeping and supervising at the same time.
At night he sleeps all curled up on the bed with me and makes little noises... “nim, num, nim”. I think it’s when he’s thinking about the day and planning the next one.
He’s a dude, he’s a guy, and the apple of my eye!