Sparky was one of two new cats who showed up in our local park. I found him collapsed in the road one day and had to try to give him food. I was scared of him as he was super aggressive but when I saw him collapsed I slipped him some wet food and he recovered over time when I gave him more and more water. He was beautiful but also very difficult.

I caught him in a trap and took him to the vet to be checked and to also be neutered. He was a friend’s birthday present – I said I would catch him and I did on her birthday.  Then I released him and as with most cats when released he disappeared for a few days. He finally reappeared though and the change was colossal. If I hadn’t known it was Sparky I wouldn’t have believed it.

It took a few days but suddenly he was friendly. He looked terrible but then later he started to improve over time. Over time he gained weight and he got friendlier and friendlier. Before long he would walk me to the shops and sit outside our apartment singing to us. He then started coming inside the entrance of the building and sitting on the stairs trying hard to come in. He wanted a home and a family.

Every day when I got back from work Sparky was waiting for me, he wanted cuddles and kisses. He didn’t care about anything else, he had food regularly but he wanted attention. I started to spend more and more time with him, it got to the point where I would sit with him and read a book while fussing him on the step. I kept having to change my trousers and bleach wash my hands to keep the risk of infection away from my boys.

I was desperate to take him in but it was impossible, we were once again at capacity with nowhere safe to quarantine him. I felt sorry for him but there was very little we were able to do. My only rule stood unfortunately, we would not ever take in more animals without the adequate quarantine space. The situation was just escalating with Sparky outside. He was very bonded to the other cat who he had been found with. He was very attached to the cat we had christened ‘Scooby’. They played together every night after eating dinner. But Scooby was reluctant to become friendly with me and was hesitant whenever I approached. Sparky was the opposite and just wanted our human companionship.

Sparky started to become a menace whenever I was trapping. He refused to leave me alone and would stick close to me and steal the food from the traps. He was hilarious but also an absolute pain when I was desperate to catch other animals.

I started to spend more and more time outside with him. I was loathe to leave him and every spare minute (there weren’t many) I would try to fuss him. I was sat with Sparky once in the summer replying to emails when I suddenly heard a bunch of older teenagers coming. I didn’t bother moving, there was no point they were just walking home from school. I was sat back on the stairs behind a bush not visible to anyone apart from the cat.

Then suddenly I heard a shout, Sparky was sunbathing in front of me. He was chilling, when the boy shouted he looked up but didn’t bother moving. Then the boy came running at him aiming  a kick like Sparky was a rugby ball. He aimed his foot at him and I screamed loudly at him and jumped up from behind the stairs.

I lost my temper like I have never lost it before. I shouted words that I shouldn’t have shouted and chased them down the street. The boys fled. After checking Sparky was okay I called Chris to drive and pick me up from the park. He came and we drove around the streets to find them. I wanted a picture to take to their principle the following day, I was planning to go to war over their treatment of Sparky. He had done nothing wrong and to the children it was a sport.

That kind of behavior is what brings down the progression of animal welfare in Korea. There are so many people fighting together to make a better future and already you can see the improvements that have been made in society. The younger generation will evolve and eventually change animal welfare I hope but it will be the throwbacks, the children like those boys who hold it back.

I searched for the children for just under an hour, we drove all the neighbouring areas, I even checked the parks and then when we kept drawing blanks. I went to McDonalds and ended up walking up to each group of school boys and staring them down hoping that I would see the boys who tried to hurt my Sparky. I failed and then I went to spend more time with Sparky.

I knew straight away that he couldn’t stay there any longer. I moved him urgently into a foster home and he didn’t do very well there. He was good with the woman but not with the man. It became hard for him to stay there so we moved him to another friend who took him in. While he was there we advertised him like crazy everywhere but we couldn’t find the right home. He just wasn’t finding his home, he was fat and older and he urgently needed a home.

I didn’t want to leave for England and leave two cats behind (the second cat was Scooby- that is the next story) but I had no choice. I had rehomed all the kittens and my house was empty, I had to try to get the two adults rehomed but there was only so much I could do. While I was back in England my friend helped me network her. We ended up finding an adopter who sounded perfect, the same friend who was taking care of my boys helped liaise the adoption and Sparky finally went to his new home. He was amazing and immediately settled with his new mum despite there being an unscheduled move very quickly after. He immediately went onto a diet and he then continued to thrive. He had found his forever home filled with love and care. It took me forever to find him a home and he went through two foster homes during that time but he definitely taught me that it was worth having patience because the best is yet to come.