When our very, very special Tux died unexpectedly from a heart 
attack, I was devastated. Tux had come into our lives when we rescued him and his litter mates from a fast-growing feral colony. We bottle-fed them and found his brother and sisters adoptive families. Tuxie became our furry son.

After he passed I finally was able to channel my grief into a short-term obsession with the Animal Channel. I fell in love with their description of Birman cats—beautiful medium-long hair cats with gentle natures and a reputation of being “Velcro Cats.” Ben wanted to simply do a rescue. An orange tabby sounded good to him. I was all emotion and simply had to check out Birmans. That meant seeing breeders. Besides cost for a purebred cat, there is a lot about that experience that can go wrong. Specifically, a bad breeder, which is what happened.

We visited a Birman breeder who was exactly that. When we got there, we found what amounted to an indoor feral colony. There were about 20 cats of different ages wandering around a house in Palmdale. Ben was ready to leave early on during the visit. However, as fate would have it, he spotted a skinny 2-year-old female and his heart went out to her. She really was a rescue. We also left with a one-year-old male. After neutering and a check-up at our veterinarian, the cost was no more than it would have been at a shelter. We felt this was a rescue, not a high-cost purebred purchase.

Almost two years later, the male cat, Cosmo, has since died from incurable FIP—a very stressful and sad experience. Cameo, the ragamuffin runt, has surprisingly survived, despite intestinal issues and some bad liver enzyme reports. She is on a regime that reversed the liver issue and we give her B-12 shots for the intestinal problem. She is now 4 and though a bit high maintenance, she is thriving. She is now the queen of our home and we love her to pieces.

The point of all this is that both cats were victims of inbred ailments. Be very careful about how and where you adopt.