Bringing home 12 fuzzy souls for the holidays

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, November 21, 2018

For the Christmas countdown of 2018, I have a cat tale to share that surely meows “cheaper by the dozen.”

It all started when my Mistress Heather saw a photograph on the internet of Bree, a young chocolate Point Siamese, and Sunshine, a lilac Siamese, at a kill shelter in York, South Carolina. These two blue-eyed beauties had her at hello.


Not that we needed another cat, mind you. We already had the ragdoll Genghis Khan.

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Like his namesake, he has always been fearless. This cat ended up needing a rescue home as he could not be contained by his first owner.


She gave him to a friend who bred Doberman pinschers, and he was constantly jumping into her dog runs. Not a wise idea for Genghis, as not all the dogs appreciated his visits.

Home number two worried he was about to use up all his nine lives. When Heather purchased a Doberman puppy from the breeder, she included Genghis as a package deal. Genghis was fond of Heather’s new puppy, Saphira, so it seemed like a good idea.


Upon his arrival to our farm, Genghis knocked out a screen to jump from a second story open window for his escape route from the house. The painter questioned Heather about the fluffy tan cat out in the front yard.

“What! That is impossible. He is locked upstairs until he settles in with us, this cannot be,” exclaimed Heather.

Yes, it was Genghis out in the flowerbeds. The broken screen told the story!

Today, Genghis prowls the farm and defies the cuddly breed description bestowed upon ragdoll cats.


Neighbors Walt and Jo delight in tempting Genghis with delicious chopped chicken when he visits their terrace. But no luring him in for a fireside visit, even on the coldest day. Genghis is a free agent.

Back to poor Bree and Sunshine, who needed a home quickly, as they were living on borrowed time in York.

These two were not the only Siamese in trouble at this shelter. There were eight in total. Each cat was assigned a name on its door.

Max, Grant, Tamara and Wiley and all were related. It turns out they were from a hoarding case where 60 cats had been captured and owner surrendered. Most of these cats were a year or two old, some extremely thin.

These eight were being kept alive for a brief period to try find homes after their tragic case of neglect. They had been spayed and neutered because they were purebreds. With their reclusive temperament, who was going to save any of these felines? 

Bree and Sunshine were timid but touchable, along with two small lynx point kittens Faith and Alice. That is why they had been advertised for adoption. They had a chance.

In another room at the shelter, Heather found stacked cages of young domestic shorthair tabby cats and one small black Persian mix named Juliette, who had lovely green eyes.

She purred when Heather stroked her through the bars. One level above her, Cleo, a diminutive grey calico cat, stuck her paw out to secure Heather’s attention. She continued to reach out and bat at my mistress until Heather relented and petted her too.

This cute kitty, with apple-shaped head and enormous gold eyes, was very friendly. A fearless tigress, she knew her time as up, too.

And right beside her was Deco, a very shy, long-haired black and white kitten who was miserable in this confinement and was giving up on life.

So many sad faces. Such desperate cries for help.

There was one more who was pleading for mercy. O‘Henry, a Russian blue mix with gorgeous green eyes and tall white stockings, was caged with his sister, Violet, who was also a looker. He was animated and did his best to stand on his hind legs entertaining his audience saying, “Pretty please, pick me and my little sister here!”   

It became clear the two pet carriers in the truck were not going to be enough. Heather paid for all the Siamese cats and left to buy more carriers at a local pet store. 

While purchasing the carriers, she decided she could not leave Cleo, Juliette, Deco, Violet or O’Henry there and chance them dying. 

As they were not fixed to depart, she would have to come back for them in a week’s time. In total, 12 cats were purchased.

The shelter exclaimed it was a record and presented Heather with holiday gift, a giant cat perch and scratching post that had been donated to the shelter. 

With love and time, homes were found for Violet, Grant and Max. Juliette went to live with Heather’s friends and neighbors, Elaine and Larry Jankins, who adopted HERD foal Titan. The two kittens, now named Ninja and Hope, went to Florida to live with John and Teri Vincent, who own two HERD rescue horses, Dude and Comanche.

The rest you ask, where are they? Well, they live on the farm and have each found their place in our kingdom.

Deco is the trusty barn cat.

The Siamese club never leave the house. They hang with Heather all day in her office, her dedicated secretaries.

Cleo runs the show coming and going as she pleases through the dog door. Even Genghis does not tangle with this unstoppable kitty. She sleeps in the Anatolian Shepherd Dutch’s dog bed most nights. He does not dare ask her to move over for him.

These lucky cats have all worked it out who has what territory in the house and are harmonious for the most part.

The one thing about love is there is always enough to go around as hearts expand with amazing capacity. For Christmas 2018, consider adopting a pet to brighten the holiday season and to save a precious life. 

Maybe this year that favorite jingle should say, “On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me a clever cat in a pear tree!”


Croissants are the secret ingredient to make guests beg for the recipe

Servings: 6 to 8

3 whole eggs

8 egg yolks

5 cups half-and-half

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 tablespoon of butter

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 cup of golden raisins

2 cups of peeled sliced ripe pears cut into small chunks

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ginger

6 croissants, preferably stale

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the whole eggs, egg yolks, half-and-half, sugar, ginger, cinnamon and vanilla. Set the custard mixture aside.

Slice the croissants in half horizontally. In an 8-by-12 baking dish, lightly butter the bottom and sides of the baking dish and then distribute the bottoms of the sliced croissants.

Next add the raisins and pears sprinkling over the croissant bottoms. Next add the tops of the croissants (brown side up), being sure the raisins and pears are between the layers of croissants or they will burn while baking.

Pour the custard over the croissants and allow to soak for 10 minutes, then press down gently. Let this set up 45 minutes covered with foil in the refrigerator.

Remove foil and put into preheated oven at 350 degrees. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool slightly. Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a touch of whipped cream for garnish.

Pebbles is the “spokespony” for HERD, or Helping Equines Regain Dignity, a local nonprofit that saves equines from dire conditions and in many cases slaughter. She dictates her monthly columns about her adventures and what a rescue organization does to Heather Freeman. Pebbles and Heather can be reached through