STRAYS: A Lost Cat, a Homeless Man, and Their Journey Across America

Think you’ve heard this storyline before … Homeless man meets lost cat and they end up saving one another? Bet your mind jumps to ‘A Street Cat Named Bob.’  

Well think again…Strays is a new non-fiction book by Britt Collins (British journalist and animal activist) that will certainly appeal to fans of Bob the street cat, but offers a fascinating, heartwarming and complex twist on an old plot. Let’s set the stage…

Strays the book

Homeless, alcoholic, and depressed, Michael King (photo below) lives in a UPS loading bay on the wrong side of the tracks in Portland, Oregon and one rainy night, he stumbles upon a hurt, starving, scruffy cat and decided to feed her. According to Britt, “It was the first time in a long while that Michael had spent his last few dollars on something other than booze.

Nursing her back to health, King took her in and named her Tabor, after the café where he found her.  Since then she’s become somewhat of a celebrity in southeast Portland. Oh…did we mention there’s a contest where you can enter to WIN a copy of Strays (details below)?

lost cat and homeless man

When winter comes, they travel from Oregon to the beaches of California to the high plains of Montana, surviving blizzards and bears (yes bears!), angry steers and rainstorms. Along the way, people are drawn to the spirited, beautiful cat and moved to help Michael, who frames a striking figure with Tabor riding high on his backpack or walking on a leash.

Tabor comforts Michael when he’s down, giving Michael someone to love and care for, and inspiring him to get sober and to come to terms with his past family traumas and grief over the death of his life partner. As they make their way across the West Coast, the pair become inseparable, healing the scars of each other’s troubled pasts.

OK … you already had us at ‘lost cat’, but let’s continue…  >^..^<

Suddenly the plot thickens…

Michael takes Tabor to a veterinarian in Montana, and discovers that Tabor has an identification chip and an owner in Portland who has never given up hope of finding his beloved cat, Michael makes the difficult choice to return to Portland and reunite Tabor with her owner. Now Michael must create a new purpose in his life after Tabor.

This authentic tale of an adventurous and charismatic cat and her compassionate human admirers is a tearjerker of a movie just waiting to happen!

Meanwhile, the cat’s real owner, Ron Buss, spent the entire time distraught over his missing furbaby whose real name is Mata Hairi (Mata for short). When Mata disappeared on Sept. 1, 2012 and didn’t return for days, Buss feared the worst. Usually his cats were allowed out of the house during the day but came home before dark. This time Mata had wandered a little too far from home, and eventually bumped into King and his friends at their encampment.

Thus began a 10-month odyssey for King and Tabor (aka Mata), who embarked on their cross-country adventure whilst day by day Buss was slowly giving up hope that he would ever see his beloved cat again. Mata’s brother, Creto had been equally dispirited back at home the whole time during her absence (photo below…Buss walking Mata).

Spoiler Alert:  You’ll laugh, you’ll cry and most likely be an emotional wreck at the bittersweet ending. But it’ll be well worth it!

Strays proves the healing power of love and the profound bond between humans and animals. Enjoy the book trailer below:

We spoke with the author and her publishers, and they graciously provided us with 5 copies of Strays exclusively for Purrington Post readers.

*Contest Now Closed

This contest ended on August 11th, 2017 and was available to residents of the United States and Canada only. To enter the contest you simply needed to submit a comment in our “Leave a Reply” section at the bottom of this page saying:

My cat’s name is [insert your cat’s name] and he/she thinks I need to read Strays because… [your cats reason]

The 5 winners were chosen by the author from all correct entries and contacted by email.


Photo credits: Images kindly provided by Britt Collins


In closing we wanted to share a photo of Britt with one of her own cats, and of course Mata, who inspired her book!

Dying to read it? Don’t wait…grab your own copy on Amazon here => STRAYS

Do you have a lost cat adventure story to share? Drop us a comment in the ‘Leave a Reply’ box below.


  1. Kate Foley July 20, 2017
  2. Krystal McCracken July 20, 2017
  3. BARB DYER July 20, 2017
  4. mary anne smith July 20, 2017
  5. John Smith July 21, 2017
  6. Lynn July 21, 2017
  7. Denise Gillis July 21, 2017
  8. Helen Ball July 21, 2017
  9. Sheila Austin July 21, 2017
  10. Don July 22, 2017
  11. elaine buckman gilmore July 26, 2017
  12. Sheila July 27, 2017
  13. Karen July 27, 2017
  14. Cindy Jones July 27, 2017
  15. Christina M Fisher July 27, 2017
  16. Catherine Lingg July 28, 2017
  17. Amanda Turgeon July 28, 2017
  18. wendy mocioi July 28, 2017
  19. Debbie Porter July 31, 2017
  20. Barbara Ackermann August 12, 2017
  21. Tara Tanner January 16, 2018

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