If it wasn't for those piercing blue eyes, Joanne may not have had a second look when she was browsing the BC SPCA petfinder page. She had already checked all the shelters on the island and the last cat on the Nanaimo page just spoke to her. Joanne's family, husband Jim and young adult sons, Ryan and Mike, had lost their loyal 16 year old companion Toby, a couple of months earlier and Joanne wanted to bring home a new feline companion. On a Sunday last August she drove to meet Bijou at Petcetera in Nanaimo from her home in Victoria and she knew right away she would take her home.
Bijou was found in an abandoned house and because of the neglect was very shy. When Joanne first met her she was so shy and scared that she tried to climb the wall in her cage. On the drive home Bijou didn't make a sound and at home a bathroom was set up for the little girl to get used to her new home. To the surprise of the whole family it didn't take long for her to come around. Within two days the bathroom door opened and Bijou started to explore the whole house room by room, visiting first in the computer room with Joanne. For the first months Bijou was ravenous, crying and being quite frantic around food. She has settled down now, knowing there is always enough for her.
Joanne says it was about five months before she really mellowed out, coinciding with the cooler weather and the fireplaces in both the living and family rooms being turned on. She settled down with the family and started to climb onto anyone's outstretched legs and settled in for a nap. She has taken a real shine to Jim and gets lots of loving and affection from Ryan and Mike too. Joanne, who is happy to have another female presence in the house, is still Bijou's favourite and she comes for pets in the morning after she sleeps all night on a chair beside the bed. After cuddles Bijou often starts to play – watching the tip of her own tail and then pounces, going around and around. During the day she will come to be brushed and petted and will purr and purr and play with everyday items like coin rollers and plastic armbands. Later, she can be found stretched out on her back with all four legs in the air – relaxed and very happy.
Bijou has stolen the family's heart and surprised everyone with her new found confidence, now joining Joanne in the garden during nice days, but never venturing far. It is amazing how being loved in a safe home can turn a shy, skinny little lady into a beloved, playful and happy pet.
Thank you, Joanne, Jim, Ryan and Mike for turning Bijou's life around – it is truly a miracle!
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