Perhaps we can’t count on Sami the cat to win a feline beauty pageant anytime soon. But if there were a contest for inner beauty, Sami would surely wear the crown. At least Sami’s owners, roommates Jay Telegdi and Peter Fortna, are convinced of it.
Sami, an unsightly Persian cat with a malformed tear duct, puffy face and crooked teeth, was originally rescued from Romania, where he was unwanted. Since he arrived to live in Canada, though, people everywhere have felt compelled to cuddle him. As Jay says in a news story, “The cat really does have a heart of gold, and it is super-sweet, affectionate and unique in many ways.”
That’s why the roommates were inspired to design a T-shirt printed with Sami’s monstrous mug, along with a note prompting people to “Be Kind.” They’re supporting a fundraiser for people from war-torn Aleppo by giving away Sami shirts to the first 200 donors. (Want yours? Get instructions here.)
Jay, Peter – and presumably Sami, too – all feel some kinship toward the displaced Syrians. That’s because they themselves are from Fort McMurray, Alberta, and were forced out of their home during last year’s sweeping wildfires. The house was eventually destroyed. Before that, in 2013, they were evacuated from the Calgary floods.
The experiences opened their eyes, and prompted them to find a way to help others.
“For better or for worse, Sami does look kind of ridiculous, whether in person or on a T-shirt,” Peter told a CBC reporter. “But he’s also very lovable, and just reminds people to be kind.”