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Happy Tail: Fiona

There are adored cats, and then there is Fiona, who occupies the very heart of Zenia and Binoy’s home.

You can hear the love in their voices when they describe the gentle white cat with brown markings, who was plucked from a backyard colony in the Keele and Dundas area in late 2020 at approximately age two, where she had been living with eight siblings and family members, all eventually fostered and adopted through ACR.

“We are both animal lovers and were looking to have an animal in our life,” Zenia says. “I’m more of a cat person and Binoy is more of a dog person. But given the fact that we have a smaller home, we decided to start with a cat.

“Because of COVID, the process of adoption at that time was quite slow. But we found ACR’s website and saw a picture of Fiona. We filled out the form, spoke with someone on the phone and then were put in touch with foster mom Rebecca, who was very sweet. The way Rebecca described Fiona — sweet, gentle, good manners — I knew this was my cat. When we saw her on Zoom, it was love at first sight.”

Fiona and Zenia

For Binoy, the love bloomed when he and Zenia went to Rebecca’s home to meet the cat in December 2020, and they saw Fiona sitting in the window. “I was like, ‘Is that her?’” Binoy laughs. “That’s when I knew this was my cat now.” The adoption happened immediately after.

As legend has it, Fiona was the most social cat in her colony and the most difficult to trap. In notes that foster Rebecca kept from the time made by her trapper Natalie and ACR’s foster team, Fiona was described as “very close to her cat family outside, so would greatly benefit from being in a foster home with other friendly cats,” which Rebecca had… though the outcome wasn’t exactly as predicted.

“Fiona settled in pretty quickly and was very much a people-cat though she wasn’t so keen on my cats or my dog,” Rebecca recalls. “I have a room where I keep new fosters until they get settled, and she hid under the couch. If my cats went in the room, she would hiss. But if we went in the room, she was purring and wanted pets.

“But she was very gentle, never bit or scratched and she was not very nervous compared to some of the other cats we have fostered over the years,” adds Rebecca, who reckons she has fostered between 35 and 40 cats over the course of five or six years, some for brief periods, others for longer.

Interestingly, while many adopters elect to rename their cats, Zenia and Binoy stuck with the name Fiona. And not just because they happened to like it.

“We are both fans of the movie Shrek which has a character named Fiona,” Zenia explains with a laugh. “She is a princess by day and an ogre by night. Fiona really has the same temperament. She’s very elegant and classy and composed but when the sun sets, she turns into a different cat. So, we knew Fiona was the perfect name.”

“But Fiona is beautiful, naughty, dainty, greedy for food, energetic and playful,” adds Binoy, who allows with a chuckle that he may be more of a cat person than he claims to be and who gamely posed with Fiona and Zenia for a Christmas card shot while sporting a seasonal sweater.

“Plus, our experience with ACR was so good,” he continues. “We are so grateful to them for taking care of our baby and bringing her to us. We follow the work they do on Instagram, and I recommended ACR to a colleague, saying you could trust them with your eyes closed.”

-Kim Hughes