Persian cat “Bonnie”: Rescued from a cat breeder

By Pat Kingsnorth – Ark on the Edge – animal sanctuary

bonnie a rescued pedigree persian breeding cat
“Bonnie” a pedigree persian breeding cat rescued by RSPCA and Ark on the Edge. Photo by Pat Kingsnorth.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

One June morning in 2000 I was rung by the RSPCA and the call enlightened me in the world of breeding. They had been alerted to a breeder and had found 7 pedigree DLH (domestic long hair) Persians kept in cages for breeding purposes. Cages were not very big just enough for cat and some kittens. What they found was the females never been brushed and in a dreadful state.

The call was to ask if I could take one and keep her until after the court hearing. I hadn’t been up in the north very long but they had heard of the work I did and I was recommended.

The cat that came to me was the female white Persian Bonnie, one eye was blue and the other orange. She had been neutered by the RSPCA and because of her disgusting state had had to be shaved leaving just hair on head and tail the rest of her body was raw red from skin problems.

For 10 years Bonnie had not known anything other than the cage. The only time she had contact with another adult cat was the male for mating and then the kittens till 6-8 weeks old. She then was mated up again and off again in the never ending loop.

She didn’t know what it was like to be loved and cared for and she could only be described as a bitch. Within minutes of meeting the other cats she would launch herself at them and sink her teeth into them. So she had to be kept separate. With people she was very wary, so obvious that she had not been treated too well. I needed to attend to her skin and reassure her that I wasn’t going to hurt her.

The idea was for me to have her until after the court hearing and then the RSPCA would find her a home. Well, once you get an animal safe, they say its for life – and so she was. The breeder was heavily fined and banned from keeping animals and when contacted by the RSPCA they were told by me that’s fine I will keep her, and so she stayed.

With a background like hers it was very hard work gaining trust and reassurance. That wasn’t the problem. The problem was getting her to be with the other 12 cats I had at the time and that was a real issue.

As my ever growing rescued animals increased in size and needed more space we had to move and we rented a Raby farm which is now Ark on the Edge. The problem about what to do with Bonnie had worried me for weeks but I need not have worried. Putting all cats into carriers and transporting them to new house it was then a case of just letting them out and hoping for the best.

Nothing surprised me more than Bonnie walking out and finding the nearest cat bed and settling down with any cat that wanted to share with her. Unbelievable!

From that day on we never had any issues, she was one of the group and would happily lay with anyone of the others.

"Bonnie" a pedigree persian breeding cat rescued by RSPCA and Ark on the Edge. Photo by Pat Kingsnorth.
“Bonnie” a pedigree persian breeding cat rescued by RSPCA and Ark on the Edge. Photos by Pat Kingsnorth.

This year at the grand age of 23 she had had all bar one tooth removed and no other issues. She had become incontinent but I could cope with that.

I had to shave her hair regularly as she had always hated being brushed, not surprising from the way her life had started, and she had to have regular baths to keep her clean and disease free. She wore a small dog fleece coat and even had people buying her one. She joined us here in the centre for the last few months of her life and I think she really enjoyed the company.

She had been a little unwell and during one of our regular vet visits I had contemplated having her put to sleep. The vet arrived to see one 23 year old playing in the yard on a sunny day with a piece of straw. She checked Bonnie over and said there was no real reason to put her to sleep for her age she was healthy, so she lived on another 4 months after that.

Bonnie would be in the centre during the day and come with me in the house on the evening spending her time on my lap. Despite her start in life she lived till 23 years old and died quietly on my lap a few weeks ago.

Really drives home the horrible life some of these animals for breeding must have and I am sure that there must be thousands out there still in bad conditions.

We need to home in on this awful state and stop all this unnecessary breeding. There’s plenty of animals needing to be rescued without breeding anymore.

Bonnie was one of the lucky ones there will be plenty more not so lucky, once there useful days of breeding are over what happens to them!!

First picture shows her eyes, second few weeks before she died drying in the sunshine after a batch, third having a walk after a bath and last what she looked like after being with me for a while. Beautiful cat in the end so affectionate. RIP Bonnie wish you were the last to face such a bad start in life but know you won’t be.


Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

9 thoughts on “Persian cat “Bonnie”: Rescued from a cat breeder”

  1. The people who breed cats like this should move to Romania – at least there they wouldn’t look so bad.

    Sorry for being so cynical – I just don’t think Romania and Bulgaria should not be a part of Europe until they can live up to northern European standards of animal welfare.

    1. Agreed. The Eurocrats, more of less, ignore animal welfare when deciding if a country should join the EU. They say a prospective country should meet certain minimum standards that match, to an extent, European standards but then almost ignore animal welfare which tells you about the mentality of the unelected Eurocrats. Romania and Bulgaria are probably 20 years behind the old European countries in respect of animal welfare.

      There is a European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals. I believe there is Declaration on Animal Rights but they don’t seem to be enforced. Take the Persian cat. They appear to be window dressing. The Eurocrats are too keen to expand Europe – expand the extent of their power – to be overly concerned about animals which are well down the list of priorities.

  2. Bonnie was such a darling – she always looked grumpy but u couldn’t have met a ffriendlier cat – when she saw u come into the centre she would immediately get up and start meowing at u for a cuddle – she is very much missed at Ark on the edge by pat and me and all the volunteers and even visitors as she was part of the furniture xxx

  3. Poor Bonnie what a dreadful 10 years of her life she had and I’m so glad the rest of it was with you Pat so she knew what love and care meant.
    Breeders make me sick it’s all about money and they know full well that for every kitten they sell for a large sum of money it will deprive an ordinary moggie of a home.
    No they don’t love cats they only love money 🙁

  4. Oh that poor, poor cat, what she must have endured in her first 10 years of life, no wonder she was full of hell when she first came to you, but your kindness and good care paid off eventually and she had a lot of happy years with you, bless her she was an old lady when she died and yes it must have been a sort of mixture of relief that she had chosen her own time to go but also heartache that such a brave girl who you had obviously come to love such a lot was finally gone, each cat leaves a huge and unique gap in our lives when they go. Having read about the awful way she was used I can’t see that breeders like the person who had her can be cat lovers, they are just business people making and selling a commodity. How cruel they are. I agree with he above comments, you’re a special lady Pat.

  5. OMG Pat I’m sat here crying! that first picture of her she looks sad and angry all at the same time 🙁 I can’t imagine how she has survived those first 10 years the breeders are nothig short of evil monsters but what scares me is that they could easily move on and do this elsewhere despite the ban after all how is this policed? Do they for example have to report regularly to the police? Do they get checked regularly to ensure they have no animals?

    I have to say I also blame the people who buy these kittens. How many times do you see with puppies don’t buy unless you can see both parents and see them all together and
    happy and healthy in a natural enviroment. The same applies to kittens!! I feel so sad for this girl in her early years but I’m so glad her life became happy because of you. pat you are caring, compassionate and one in a million.

  6. Ruth aka Kattaddorra

    Such a bittersweet story Pat, a sad beginning, a happy middle, then a sad but happy in a way ending when Bonnie died much loved, in your arms. It must have broken your heart but I also understand the relief you must have felt that you hadn’t made the decision for her, she chose her own time just like our very old cat Ebony did.
    I hate breeders who look upon their cats as money making machines and hate even more those who neglect their cats like Bonnie’s breeder did, I’m glad they were fined and banned!
    R.I.P Bonnie and thank you Pat for all the good work you do at the Ark, you and your volunteers are unsung heros.
    What happened about your weather damage? I hope it wasn’t too much of a drain on your funds putting things right.

  7. Hi Pat, I loved this article even though it was sad (at the beginning). It finished well, though. Thank you Pat for telling us the story of Bonnie. She lived long and had a decent second half to her life. It is shocking when I read about cat breeders treating pedigree cats like this. I read a similar story about Persian breeding cats in America.

    I believe that the vast majority of cat breeders treat their cats at least fairly well BUT they have to put them in cages and outside because they are unneutered. The males are impossible as domestic cats as they spray and are looking to mate etc.

    On the basis that breeding cats are kept in cages most of their lives it means that as a hobby business it is completely unacceptable to me particularly when there are many so called unwanted healthy cats in shelters.

    When the fact that they are caged is compounded by neglect and downright abuse, cat breeding becomes a monstrous human folly.

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