This is the story of my cat, Alfonzo.
My partner and I were visiting my family in Portugal for a week in September of 2021.
Around half way through our trip, I heard a cat in distress. I grew concerned and decided to go out and find the cat crying.
After a long search, we found this little black cat crying at the door of an abandoned house.
I attempted to call him over and gain his trust but he continued to cry and keep his distance. After several hours, he came over and became trusting. He was just so small and innocent.
We soon found out that his cry was just his meow and he had no obvious signs of pain or wounds.
He had so much love to give and I immediately fell in love with him. My head was completely on researching how to get Alfonzo back to the UK.
I soon realised that getting him home was too expensive and such a difficult task to do in the 3 days we had left of the holiday.
When the night hit, we headed back to our villa but Alfonzo decided to follow us. He waltzed in, had a mooch and had some biscuits.
Alfonzo jumped up onto the sofa and had a nap.
We decided to let him stay with us until we went to bed and would eventually let him out before he grew too attached to us.
However heart-breaking, I opened the door and let him go.
By the morning, I'd woken up distressed and low about saying goodbye to Alfonzo.
Little to my knowledge, I opened the door and there he was. Patiently waiting.
Although I felt hopeless about being unable to afford Alfonzo coming back to the UK, I felt the term 'cats choose you' to be very true.
I spoke to my partner about the situation and we came to the conclusion that we needed to find his home or alternatively find him a safe and happy home.
We took Alfonzo to the vets to see if he was chipped. He wasn't. The vets had come to the conclusion that Alfonzo was a stray. He was fit and healthy but riddled with fleas.
We then enquired about whether they could help Alfonzo find a home as we were due to go home in 2 days time and because of how many ill animals they had in the cattery, they couldn't risk taking him.
After a conversation with my mum and Lorri, I was faced with ultimate support in getting Alfonzo back to the UK.
I spoke to my family in Portugal and after a long conversation, they decided to keep him at their home whilst I sorted transport and requirements for travel.
We then decided to call him Alfonzo.
We took Alfonzo to the vets to get microchipped, vaccinated against rabies and issue a passport before taking him to my fathers house. We gave them food and money before kissing Alfonzo goodbye for now.
We headed home the following morning.
Once we returned back to the UK, my mission in arranging transport for Alfonzo began.
I looked into flying him back as this would be the quickest and least stressful journey for him but soon realised, it was incredibly expensive and difficult to organise without being with him.
Whilst finding transport, VEGAN Happy started an auction to raise as much money possible and opened up a donation page for the people who just wanted to donate.
My mum also had donated so much money and participated in the auction too. My mum gave us around £400 towards Alfonzo coming home which was an incredible help and so generous of her.
Hours, days and weeks went by whilst finding the right route for Alfonzo.
But low and behold, I found an incredible company that would drive Alfonzo from Portugal to Surrey in the UK.
They had aircon, food, they would stop every couple of hours to ensure he was okay and well.
The deal was done.
I paid and his trip was booked.
The day before I picked Alfonzo up, the VH team headed to London for the Great Entrepreneur Awards.
We got a train there and back, and I couldn't divert my trip to go straight to get Alfonzo due to time so I had to travel back to my hometown and then jump in my car and head back there. It was exhausting!
Alfonzo arrived at the pick-up location at around 7pm on the 21st of November 2021.
It took me around 3 hours to get to his pick-up point and it was pitch black but so worth it.
I saw him for the first time in 2 months and my gosh, had he grown! He was shy, quiet and understandably unsettled.
We headed back to Alfonzo's forever home.
The trip back he was very good but a little tinker.
Alfonzo would chat away to me all whilst sticking his paw out of the transport cage clawing my arm when I changed gear.
We stopped at a service to top up on fuel and have a little cuddle before resuming the journey.
When we arrived home, my partner was waiting.
We let him out and unlike other cats, he would be so curious and not shy. We had cuddles, food and a few treats for his good behaviour.
After a few weeks, we had introduced Alfonzo to my mum, Lorri, my partners family and every single person understood my crazy reasons for bringing him home. It wasn't so crazy after all, he was just the most perfect, affectionate cat we all needed.
Alfonzo is a cheeky, lovely and incredibly loveable little soul.
He cuddles in all the most crazy positions which would seem to be uncomfortable, he kneads in the most inconvenient places, he darts around as if he has had two bowls of cat nip and loves going out and playing with the other cats on the street.
We are unbelievably grateful we found him and will forever love him.
I would like to personally thank Lorri, my mum Karen and everyone who donated to give Alfonzo the best life possible.
Emily & Alfonzo x