Guest Author Kendra Olson How We Met by Chance

here’s a more recent photo of the four of us.

Guest Author Kendra Olson How We Met by Chance

Happy Birthday Holly and Smokey! And thank you for inviting Othello, Cleo and I to celebrate with you by sharing a story on Katie’s lovely blog.

Today, Othello, Cleo and I are going to share the story of how we met by chance one freezing cold, snowy day in January just over four years ago.

My husband and I had lost our previous cat, Kileem, to cancer back in September and had been looking for a new cat to adopt.  We scoured ads on Gumtree and visited local shelters trying to find a good match. But, surprisingly, nearly all the cats were taken—London is highly competitive. Then, one day, I found an ad for a sociable, black, 1-year-old, Maine Coon/Persian mix named Zeus. His owner was moving to Australia and needed to find a good home for him, and quick. I immediately phoned her and we chatted about Zeus and my experience of caring for cats. She told me how sorry she was to have to leave Zeus behind, and said he needed daily grooming, play etc. I promised that my husband and I would provide a loving home for him and we arranged to visit her in St Albans and pick up Zeus that Friday evening, just three days away. My husband and I were over the moon with excitement. Zeus was a beautiful cat and we’d always wanted a Persian or Maine Coon.

I cleaned and cleared, bought new cat food and treats and prepared a small area for Zeus to occupy while he got used to living in our flat with us. Then, on Friday evening, as we were getting the cat carrier ready for Zeus, we got a call. It was Zeus’s owner telling us that she’d decided to give him to a friend instead, and was very sorry.  It was such a let-down and I remember thinking that perhaps we just weren’t meant to have another cat.  We sprawled on the sofa, depressed and disappointed. Eventually, my husband suggested getting a take away, as a treat to cheer ourselves up. I reluctantly agreed.

We decided to visit the fish and chip shop up the road from us, as we’re friends with the owners. When we arrived, a beautiful, long, black cat sidled up to me, his emerald eyes shining under the fluorescent lighting. I leaned down to pet him and he nuzzled my hand. Then I picked him up and he lay purring in my arms, clearly enjoying the attention.

“We call him Sabbath,” the shop’s owner, Miranda, said. “But the guy who comes to collect him each night calls him Zeus.”

My husband and I looked at each other, delighted to have met a Zeus after all.

Here’s a photo of them watching birds fly by from the window, shortly after we adopted them (they weren’t allowed to go outside yet).

Miranda took down our order before continuing. “He offered him to me, but I told him I’ve already got a cat at home and can’t have another one. Maybe you’d like to take him?”

We agreed immediately. Finally, we’d found our perfect cat. But first, we needed to talk to his owner. We reluctantly said goodbye to Zeus, aka Sabbath, when we left for home that evening. Miranda had promised to give the man our phone number when he came by.

Later that same night, we spoke to Zeus’s owner on the phone. He said he was happy for us to adopt him, but only under the condition that we take his “little sister” too. He explained how he wasn’t able to care for the cats, though he loved them very much and wanted them to have good homes. We arranged to visit his place the following day so that we could meet Zeus’s “sister” and talk about our experience of caring for cats.

It was snowing as we left the house that afternoon, and freezing cold out. As we arrived, we saw a small black and white, long-haired kitten scampering about among the cars on his estate, her white paws turning grey from the engine muck on the ground, and her brush-like tail twitching back and forth as she leapt and dove in the snow, chasing imaginary prey. It was Cleo, who was then called Mincie.

Needless to say, it was love at first sight. Zeus and Mincie were brought to live with us shortly afterward. They immediately made themselves at home in our tiny flat, curling up on the bed at night and chasing each other back and forth as they played. Shortly afterward, we decided to rename them as we figured they should have new names to suit their new lives. Zeus was renamed Othello, for the handsome Shakespearian general, and Mincie was renamed Cleo, for Cleopatra and for Clio, the Greek muse of literature because she’s both inspiring and a bit of a princess.


Kendra Olson is the author of The Forest King’s Daughter, a historical novel set in 19th century Sweden. She lives in London with her husband and two beautiful long haired rescue cats. She’s a developmental editor of fiction and creative non-fiction at: and also writes a book blog at: You can follow her on Twitter at: @KendrarOlson

5 thoughts on “Guest Author Kendra Olson How We Met by Chance

  1. Pingback: A little story about how I met my cats | Kendra Olson

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