Jess the Stray Cat Offers Love and Healing

This cat inspired a 10K bike ride.

A tabby cat sits outside a door.

(Vitaliy Hrabar /

One small event can lead to a great act. A purring cat has made such a positive difference in one student’s life, he decided to cycle 10,000 kilometers to fundraise for charities, including a cat welfare organization.

Jean-Louis Button is an environmental studies student at Swansea University in Wales, according to the BBC. Feeling lonely and isolated during Coronavirus, he was woken up one night by a purring sound. It was a stray cat who had found her way inside his room.

“I could see Jess was in a pretty poor state. I could see she needed help and I just needed some company,” Button told the BBC. The local Cat Protection branch located her owners who could no longer care for their 18-year-old cat. So Button took Jess in and was grateful for the company. “It just meant the world, honestly,” he said, describing the joy this cat brought him during isolation.

Button, who loves adventures and biking, then came up with an idea to do a summer cycling trip around the UK to raise funds for three of his favorite charities. These include: Swansea’s Cat Protection branch; Water for Kids, an African water sanitation project; as well as the Akshaya Patra Foundation, a school lunch program in India.

“I decided on a whim that this summer I wanted to push my physical and mental boundaries for three charities by cycling further than I ever have before to say thank you for the incredible work that they do,” he told The Irish News.

He created a fundraising page, and has since raised more than his projected total. He is presently cycling Britain’s coastline, having already covered 3,500 kilometers in three weeks. He started out by riding across the Scottish Highlands and the eastern coast, then will cycle along Britain’s southern coast, completing 10,000 kilometers in 60 to 70 days.

As Button pedals across Britain, he hopes to raise awareness for cats, who he calls “magical creatures” on his fundraising page. His story from loneliness to love may inspire more than cat lovers, for he is showing how far one fluffy, purring cat can propel someone to push their boundaries.

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