Lionel is a stunning cat but his personality meant he was very difficult to home, new owner Sharon tells us their story and how she and Lionel were meant to be together. Such a heartwarming journey and it might bring a tear to your eye. 

I lost my beautiful cat of almost 18 years after several years of illness and needing lots of special care. I was heartbroken as he had been my world and couldn’t bear the thought of getting another.
However, after about 2 years, I decided to start looking for another furry friend as my house was missing something that only fur babies can provide.
I have always had a rescued cat but always from a kitten. With my current work schedule now, it wouldn’t have been fair and so I started looking at older cats so that I could love and spoil them in their latter years of life. There were so many and so many sad stories I was reading I wished I could take them all. Then I saw Lionel…
I made the call to ask how I go about adopting him I was told he had been mistreated and because of this had some nerve damage to one of his eyes. They said he had been a stray for about 1 year and was very temperamental and sometimes would bite…
This didn’t phase me at all and made me want him even more. He had never had a proper home or been properly loved in the whole 2 years of his life! No wonder he was temperamental!
I said I’m sure if he was taken care of and loved he will settle and be fine. So I went to meet him. He came to me and let me brush him and before I knew it I had a cat! He seemed happy enough but he didn’t like me leaving him. He followed me everywhere and would run ahead and then roll over in front of me showing off his fluffy tummy. I had to be in the room when he had his meals otherwise he wouldn’t eat and very often he would attack my legs if I walked away from him. Not just at meal times. Any time.
He is a big boy and I was sometimes a little scared of him. I certainly didn’t trust him as he never gave any warning when he was going to attack! If he didn’t get enough attention he would bite me and if he got too much attention he would bite me!! One day, I went down the stairs. I got half way down the stairs before he ran down in front of me and wouldn’t let me pass. His ears were flat and he was growling at me. He was very angry and every time I moved he attacked my legs! This day I cried.
I thought maybe I had made a mistake bringing him home but I didn’t want to fail him and give up on him. I tried to love him and I looked after him so well and he was mean to me! I just didn’t think he would ever feel like mine, he was never going to trust me and I felt very hurt. I had to keep reminding myself to be patient with him. He had been through a lot and we had made such amazing progress already. He changed every single day and went through several changes of behaviour in the first couple of months. None of it bad, except the biting.
I did have a bit of sleep deprivation initially. He went through a phase for a couple of weeks where he woke me at 3am or 4am wanting attention – pulling and biting my hair, nibbling my ears, licking my face, jumping all over me and constantly miaowing at me. He was like Simon’s Cat…
He’s not a small boy – he weighs 1 stone. I was nervous as I couldn’t see him in the dark and didn’t want him to bite me. I think he was just slowly adjusting to his new life and testing the boundaries.
Every day was better than the day before and it was hard to believe how quickly he settled in such a short time. Regardless of all of the above, every night since I got him he came to bed with me and every morning as soon as I woke, he would chirp and come for cuddles…
If he wasn’t already there, I would blow him a kiss and he would come running in at 100mph always with a chirp. Then 3 months in and he was completely settled. Unbelievable! We have our routine. He plays all the time. His favourite toys are his ping pong balls. He has 10! It doesn’t matter what room in the house I am, a ball will appear round the doorway for me to throw for him, or one will come bouncing down the stairs while he shouts from upstairs.
I never go upstairs alone, even if he is asleep he will come racing past me with a huge chirp to race me to the top. Then he hides under the laundry on the airer which I have to leave especially for him, usually a sheet, and he pounces on me with a loud miaow. The cat equivalent to Boo I think!
Even though I know he’s there and even though I know he’s going to do it he still makes me jump. I laugh every time and he is delighted with himself. He is very cheeky and has a huge personality. He demands lots of attention and chirps and chatters to me all the time. He’s stopped biting and he trusts me now.
I love and adore him and couldn’t imagine my life without him and the best thing is I know now he feels the same way about me.
April 2017 - here's Lionel