“Hard things are put in our way, not to stop us, but to call out our courage and strength.”

It was when I was reading one of Eckhart Tolle’s books, “The Power Of Now” where he said “one should not be attached”, that I asked myself: what is so important to me that I cannot see myself living without it?

I could list two things:

• To never leave Stellenbosch, where I was living at the time and where I have planned to live until I die. (I moved away from Stellenbosch, ‘choosing to do so’ in 2010 after 28 years, because the town just became impossible for me to function optimally in as a blind person). Although I miss Stellenbosch,
it was a good decision.

• If any of my pets go missing (I lost my 3 cats that I tamed as feral kittens all together one night after moving into my new house when I left Stellenbosch).

Losing my cats was devastating. I still perceive it as the worst thing that ever happened to me.

“Maybe . . . it is true that we don’t know what we have until we lose it, but it is also true that we don’t know what we have been missing until it arrives.”

That loss steered me on to a new path…

My cats were beautiful, and I believe they must have had Maine Coon genes. It made me do some homework on the Maine Coon and I wanted one – maybe to try and regain something I lost? To try and get rid of the ache in my heart?

I met the Western Province Maine Coon breeders, Carol Middleton, Petra Smith, Elizabeth Wentworth in 2010. I was waiting for my MC kitten from one of them but then he came from an unexpected source.

Dominica Spooner was in the process of retiring from breeding. She had a litter of which, Spirit, a very famous stud was the dad. It was his last litter.
She gave me the opportunity to come to Riebeeck West and select a kitten. I chose Bliss. As Eeden my friend says, he came straight from heaven.

I was told by either Carol Middleton or Petra Smith that I must remember the breed is addictive…How correct you were in saying that …I love all animals, all cats, but especially the Maine Coon. One has to live with them to understand…

Bliss set off a tidal wave of Maine Coons…

I registered as a Maine Coon breeder with The Southern Africa Cat Council in 2013 but did not start breeding immediately.
I took time to gain more knowledge; show my cats although it is not something I really enjoy.

Finally, I imported my first breeding cat, Bella, in 2017.

Bella gave birth to 3 beautiful, healthy, big kittens on 8 October 2017: Renecoons Cecelia Camellini, Renecoons MR Franklin, Renecoons Mark Spitz.

On the night Bella’s kittens were born, a very special kitten became available – Shangri-la Zandollaar ZÁTOPEK of Renecoons. Plans were to use him as the future stud of Renecoons and by so doing to have the Spirit genes in all future Renecoons kittens.

However, for numerous reasons, I realize and had to be honest to admit that breeding is not for me.

“Give yourself permission to immediately walk away from anything that gives you bad vibes. There is no need to explain or make sense of it. Just trust the little inner voice when it’s telling you.” Anonymous

“Sometimes the hardest and the right thing are the same” Anonymous

“Do what is right, not what is easy” Anonymous.

“The path isn’t a straight line; it’s a spiral. You continually come back to things you thought you understood and see deeper truths.” ~ Barry H. Gillespie


Apart from my passion and love for my cats who are my whole life, I have a few other interests:

Although I am a psychologist, I do not practice as one anymore, but is involved with research on a part time basis. I can work from home!!

I am a good runner and won a half Marathon outright as a vet – the highlight of my sporting career.
My Personal Best times are:
10km : 39 minutes 38 seconds
15km : 60 minutes 21 seconds (Vet)
Half Marathon: 85 minutes 56 seconds
Marathon: 3 hours 23 minutes 36 seconds (at the time it was the fastest time for a blind woman runner in the world)

I represented South Africa at the 2012 London Paralympics in swimming. At some stage I was ranked 4th in the world for the 100m Breaststroke in my SB11 class.

I did 3 Argus Cycle tours on a tandem. My best time was 3 hours 3 minutes.
Although I have retired from competitive sport, I run and swim very regularly. This is my way of dealing with the onslaughts of life.

I love gardening, reading, spending time at home, playing the piano.

On 6 August 2020, after 40 years, I started to take piano lessons again.  I am very privilege to have Zorada Temmingh as my piano teacher.  We have a friendship of 39 years.  It is not difficult for us to distinguish between our friendship and the professional relationship of teacher and pupil.”

I got my first guide dog, Wendy in 2013. She gave me so much freedom to live my life even more independently. We can do most things that does not require driving in a car. For that I still need help. Wendy can’t drive yet (smile!)

Our home is a small, happy kingdom where cats, dogs and humans live in peace, love and harmony. I enjoy and value the small things in life…
How blessed am I not?

“I have learned that life is not about surviving the storm, but about dancing in the rain.”

I have learned that:

“In each loss there is a gain.
As in every gain there is a loss.
And with each ending comes a new beginning.”

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“Whatever your dream, enjoy the adventure.

Whatever your dream, don’t fear the unknown.

Whatever you do see where it takes you,

You’re never alone, follow your dreams.


Follow your dreams, follow your heart.

Fill your sails, make a start.

Time is flying on angel wings.

Follow your heart, follow your dreams.” (© Paul Jarman, Andrew DeTeliga).


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Enjoy visiting the site and sharing in such a way in the Maine Coon cat. They are a very special breed and deserve very special homes and owners!!

Renette Bloem

Renette and Wendy working.

Renette swimming breaststroke, SA National Aquatic Champs, Durban 2009.

Renette and running partner Peter.

Renette – Ladies Winner.

Renette running with Wendy at the JIVE Run.

Renette with running partner Peter.

Renette and Eeden – First Argus 2006 – having fun!

Renette sitting with ducks 2011.

Renette with Wendy.

Renette playing the piano.