Written By: Gwen W. Segal, Wild Serenity Cat Rescue Fund & Because of Jim

You never know what’s going to happen when you open your heart. Sometimes it’s like a surprise that you were never expecting, and other times it’s a pain that you thought you could handle but couldn’t. No two relationships are alike and all of them end one way or another. The only thing that I know for sure is that if you never open your heart, then you can never have any kind of relationship.

I know blah blah blah. I was not ready to open my heart to another animal yet. I was getting there, but I still had it in my head that it would be on my terms. I would do the choosing. I was thinking of adopting a dog. It had been years since Coal, our wonderful black lab died and now that we didn’t have anyone with whom we had to stay home for, I thought a dog would be easier to travel with. Not that I did much traveling, but my mother was getting up there in years and Nick and I had not visited her together since 2005. We could bring a dog to visit her and to Miami to visit Nick’s mom. Traveling with a cat is much more difficult. It didn’t matter, anyway. Nick wasn’t ready for another fur kid. Our first turned out to be our oldest, and she died in 2019. We just needed more time.

Sometimes you just don’t get a choice. You might be thinking “You always have a choice” but it’s not that easy.

Jim was a cat. When he first showed up, at the beginning of 2020 while the country was going into lockdown, he set us on a path that would change our lives.

man petting tuxedo cat

We started calling him Idiot. It actually really fit him, but I couldn’t take him to the vet and say “Hi, this is Idiot,” so Nick named him Jim. He was still an idiot. He was also FIV positive. Chances were that sooner rather than later he was going to die. When he did, we probably wouldn’t know for sure. He would just stop coming over for breakfast, and dinner, and he wouldn’t be around for roast beef at 8 pm. He would just vanish the same way he appeared.

The thing is, he loved us first. He ran right up to us and marked us with his body. He came running into the house to eat, but then cried when we closed the door and asked him to get comfortable. He couldn’t get comfortable, and he couldn’t stay with us all the time because he didn’t know how to use a litter box, and he didn’t want to learn. When he needed to go, he needed to go outside. At least he knew enough to ask. We got him fixed, and he still came back. I took him back to the vet for his boosters, and he showed up the next day like nothing had happened. He was slowly becoming our cat. I even got him to use the litter box, but he did not want to live in the house full-time. We started having sleepovers, and in the morning when Nick left for work, Jim would leave too.

I had hope though. That was my mistake. I had hope; that he would want to stay in the house where he could be safe and cared for. I had hope; that we could keep him healthy for a good long while. My hopes were shattered when I found Jim in the middle of our road. He had been hit by a car. What came next was nothing I could have predicted.

jim the tuxedo cat

Nick and I set out on a mission to at least TNR all the rest of the cats that Jim had left behind in a small colony that was growing at the head of our road. Over the next nine months, we ended up rescuing, fostering, and acting as an adoption agency for 17 cats and kittens.

cat clowder feeding outside

When we thought we had successfully prevented the colony from turning into an uncontrollable clowder, I had time to reflect on the experience and decided to write a book about all of it and especially how COVID made things even harder. I decided to use the royalties for the book to help other organizations that do a much better job of TNR, cat rescue, fostering, and adoption than we ever could. I also started a blog called Because of Jim.

The fund, Wild Serenity Cat Rescue Fund, is used to endow organizations that do good work, and it also helps to pay for the medical expenses of cats and kittens whose needs we have become aware of. To date, we have been able to write checks to Saving Graces 4 Felines in Greenville NC; they were instrumental in helping us find homes for the first 10. We have also helped with medical expenses for five kittens who were dumped at our vet’s office, help Ginger’s Petfood Pantry in Florida, and Meowland Rescuary in PA. The fund uses royalties, adoption fees, and donations to pay what we can. We are very small and the checks we write are not very large, but we are doing want we can with want we have. Unfortunately, the needs of abandoned, neglected, and surrendered animals are great. Contributing to pet food pantries help keep animals in their homes, and that is the first step to keeping them off the street.

wild serenity cat rescue fund

Because of Jim we are still rescuing cats and doing whatever we can to help the companion animals who seem to fall through the cracks. We try to educate people as well as fund these precious animals. If you are interested in our story and want to know more, our book, Because of Jim the Story of 17 Rescues in the Height of COVID is available on Amazon.

because of jim by gwen segal book on amazon

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