"Loves sausages and cuddles"
Zuko, a British Blue
Dagestan - Vancouver
For many years, when asked whether I had pets, I laughed it off: “no, but I have two children, that’s more than enough.” By the way, all these long years, these same children were whining and begging for a “small cute pet”. Before they turned five, I could distract them with fish, but once they grew up, they insistently demanded a cat. The cat can be hugged and petted, they argued.
Sonya was in solidarity with my children. “Masha, you need a cat”, she claimed. Sonya sincerely believes that every human being needs a cat (except perhaps those who need a dog). Sonya kept on posting and posting photos of homeless cats. Tired of being tormented by doubts from every cat photo, I found a way out: I closed my eyes and visualized my dream cat. The only one I want. And so I lived in peace. Without a doubt. Without a cat. For a whole year.
A year later, my dream cat materialized. Like many other Sonya’s fosterlings, he was found on the streets of Makhachkala and was staying with a foster owner Dima in Moscow. The cat is registered as Kabachok (Russian for Zucchini), because he is dense, like a zucchini, - Dima explained to me.
I showed the photo of Kabachok to my kids and asked if they wanted this cat. They did not bother looking at the photo. They wanted any cat. I instructed them to come up with a name for the cat, and the kids, who hardly ever agree on anything, vigorously announced just a few minutes later - Zuko!
Zuko is their favorite character from their favorite animated series. Zuko is Zucchini, Zucchini is Kabachok - I was delighted.
Kabachok-Zucchini-Zucco's long journey to Vancouver took several months. He spent two of them in Istanbul with the wonderful Tatyana, who regularly shared his photos and videos. Here she is petting Kabachok, here he is rubbing against her legs, and here she is walking him in the garden. I was very grateful and a little jealous. The children were impatient - Mom, could you not have chosen another cat, one that is nearby and would arrive faster?
I could not have chosen another cat. Because a cat – is love.

Masha Kleiner
  • Aida Akueva, Dagestan curator
    When you look at Zuko's happy plush muzzle, you immediately understand: this gentleman simply should not have been on the street. He is completely homely, and imposing, and has excellent manners. How wonderful that now Zuko has a family worthy of His Majesty!
  • Dima, Moscow curator
    Zuko is a terribly smart and sociable guy. On his very first night in Moscow, right after arriving at 4 AM, he himself found a litter tray and then came to demand cuddles. Smart and curious. Before moving to Canada through Turkey, he managed to celebrate the New Year 130 km from Moscow in the Vladimir region, simply by enslaving everyone there.
  • Sonya, Vancouver curator
    Masha and her kids are not only my wonderful neighbors but also best hosts for Zuko. Of course, I always jokingly grumble at them that they overfed him and the cat will soon not fit in the door, but in fact, I always rejoice and am touched by their wonderful family. Be happy, dear Zucchini!
Contacts of the Phoenix Shelter in Dagestan (Aida):
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