Saturday, November 2, 2013

In the doghouse...

Well it’s been a long time since I’ve written anything.  It’s not for want of trying.  I keep trying to tell my mom what to write, but she’s busy and keeps saying she’ll write later.  Many things have happened; Jasmine House has had visitors staying and lots of people for meals.  One day there was a really big party – about forty people.  I thought it better to make myself scarce, in case they were not all cat-friendly, but then one of my mom’s helpers put little dishes of olives, crisps and tzatsiki on small tables they’d put around the terrace.  There was one table under the olive tree – it was still quite hot – and I waited my chance when I thought no one was looking.  I don’t really care for human food, but I find anything with yoghurt irresistible.  So I jumped carefully onto the table, so as not to make any noise and I’d just got my nose in the dish, when someone spotted me and yelled.  They made a big fuss about me eating from a human plate and my mom came and took the whole dish inside.  I thought maybe I’d be able to have some later…   But I wasn’t allowed even a tiny bit.

Now the weather is getting cooler, we’ve got lots more cat visitors at our Kini Cat Café.  It’s not really cold, but most visitors have left and there’s not much food around for the stray cats.  I know what it’s like to be hungry, so I never mind sharing, even when new kittens come into the house.  There’s always plenty of food for us all.  I’ll tell you about some of my friends later, but now I’m going to finish my story…

I’m quite a big strong cat now, but when I tried to get here from the beach, I was only small and had little legs.  After my bad experiences with things on the road, lack of food and feeling very tired, I plodded slowly up the hill to where I had been told the Kini Cat Café was situated.

After a long, hard climb, I saw the second rubbish bins and knew I was nearly there.  A few fat cats were scattered around, snoozing in the late afternoon heat.  They didn’t take much notice of me, but then dogs started barking.  No one had told me this was a café for dogs too and I was very scared.

I hid under the bin until I got my breath back and tried to decide what to do.  It was too far to go back to the beach, but how was I going to get passed the dogs and were they going to attack me.  Dogs I’d met so far on the beach hadn’t been that friendly, barking at me and trying to chase me.  Once, I even had to scrabble up a small tree to get out of the way of a particularly yappy youngster.

Then I heard someone coming.  I hid further under the bin, but she’d seen me.  She dropped her rubbish in the bin and bent down to talk to me.  I didn’t know what to do.  Should I be friendly, or run away?  But I was so tired; I didn’t resist when she picked me up, carried me past the dogs and gave me to my new mom, who was sitting on the veranda talking to a visitor.  The visitor recognised me immediately and told my mom she’d seen me on the beach.  I hoped if I was really good, purry and cuddly and kept my claws in, I’d be allowed to stay.

In fact, it was even better than I’d hoped.  I was given meat, biscuits and water and my mom made a proper bed for me inside, so I wouldn’t get into trouble after dark.  The dogs came to say ‘hello’, they were friendly too, I needn’t have worried about them and I’m so glad I didn’t run back to the beach.

At first, I was the only young cat here and the only inside cat.  I tried to be friendly with the other residents and mostly they were nice to me.  One or two of them let me know my place, but I didn’t mind.

Life is good here, at the Kini Cat Café.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Wheezles and Sneezles

I don’t feel too well this morning.  My throat is sore and I am sneezing.  I think I’ll have another easy day.  I’ve been vaccinated, so shouldn’t get too sick, but lots of the kittens are sneezy, so I must have caught it from them.

My mom noticed immediately and forced me to swallow some nasty fluid that had a slightly sweet taste.  I’m fussy about what I eat, so didn’t appreciate having this stuff squirted into my mouth when I was nearly asleep again.  I’ll be more careful in future, in case she tries to do it again.  I don’t like using my claws on her, but if I have to…

Things got worse when she noticed my runny eyes.  I tried to clean them myself, but it’s not so easy for a cat.  They were a bit sticky and I couldn’t see properly.  This was bad news; I got the full treatment.  One of her friends held me tight, she wiped each eye and my face with wet tissues, and then put drops in my eyes – it was horrible.  I need to get myself better before I get any more treatment.

Anyway, where was I with my story?

I had decided to leave the familiar beach and seek a new life at the Kini Cat Café.  I knew it was going to be a tough journey, but I was a strong kitten and resourceful, so I thought I had a good chance of finding it.  I had a few early morning biscuits, as many as I could fit in my small tummy.  Of course I had no way of taking anything extra with me, but I knew there were some rubbish bins on the way and hoped I might be able to get something there.  I had a last drink from the pool by the mermaid, said goodbye to my friends and was ready to go.  Some of the beach cats thought I was mad.  ‘There’s food here, why do you want to leave?  ‘Your friends are here and your cat mom – this is where you belong.’

They might have been content, but I didn’t want to be fighting for food every day, getting wet regularly and at the mercy of tourists, many of whom didn’t like cats and were mean to me when I went near them.  So I set out on my journey.

It was a warm sunny day and I started walking up the road from the mermaid, as Mitzy and Buster had described.  At first it was easy.  I kept close to the side of the road as I’d been told.  It was very scary when cars and trucks came by and I hid, just in case they saw me.  Once a huge monster full of people came by and stopped.  I was very afraid.  People got on and off and there were children too, carrying bags.  I’m careful with children; some of them have been really mean to me, trying to kick me, throwing water or sand at me and stamping their feet to make a noise so I had to run away.

Thankfully no one troubled me, or even noticed me and as soon as the monster had gone, I was on my way again.  The trouble was about five minutes later, I heard it coming back.  This time I was sure it was coming for me and I dived into a pipe.  It was hot and uncomfortable there, but at least it felt safe.  I waited a long time for the danger to pass, then came out slowly and looked around.  Everything seemed quiet, so I started again along the edge of the road, walking carefully past a shop, a souvlaki bar and a few houses.  The road wasn’t too bad, but already my feet were tired and I hadn’t reached the first set of bins yet.  I was getting hungry too.  I began to wonder if this was such a good idea.

The road started to climb uphill and it got harder to walk.  Thankfully it wasn’t too hot, so the road didn’t burn my feet and there wasn’t too much traffic.  I plodded on getting slower and slower as the road got steeper and my little legs got more weary until at last I saw the first set of rubbish bins.  I could see cats there jumping in and out pulling tasty snacks out of the plastic bags people had thrown inside.  The bins have heavy lids, but most people are too lazy to close them after they have dumped their rubbish, or some cat-friendly humans leave them open deliberately so we can feed.  My cat mom told me always to be careful if I got into a bin.  The food might be good, but cats have been trapped inside, if someone closed the lid.  A lot of cats seemed to be living by these bins.  They weren’t cats I had met before and I wondered if they would share…

I decided to watch for a while to check out the situation.  Just as well I did, as there was a loud noise, all the cats scattered and another huge monster came by, stopped at the bins, scooped them up with a big machine and suddenly all the food leftovers and my next meal were gone into the greedy monster, which ate everything.  It had no manners at all, not even a few scraps were left for us cats.

The monster went away, like the other one and I waited a long time in case this one came back too, but it didn’t, so I strolled over to the bin to talk to the residents.  ‘It happens every day’, they said.  We have to feed early, or the monster takes it all.  They were sympathetic that I was hungry and told me I could wait, because humans would soon start bringing bags of rubbish again and they might have some food scraps in them.  ‘Sometimes too, a kind human comes round with a few biscuits or some scraps just for us cats.’

It all seemed a bit uncertain and I had a long way to go, so I resolved to ignore my empty tummy and my dry throat and go on with my journey.

I plodded slowly on up the hill…

Monday, August 26, 2013

The Hottest Day of the Year

It’s very hot today; airless and windless.  In fact it feels hotter than it’s been all summer.  I don’t want to do too much, so I’m just sitting comfortably channeling my thoughts to my human carer, so she can write a bit more of my story.  I’m actually curled up in a wash basin.  Even the floor tiles are hot today and I don’t want to be out in the sun.  We black cats feel the heat badly.  It’s cool here and a bit moist and I’m off the ground, so I can keep an eye on the other cats and see what they are up to.  I don’t like to miss anything.

Anyway – back to my earlier days.  I was fortunate to have been born in the spring.  Kittens born in the autumn have a terrible time.  All the tourists are gone, the tavernas are closed and there simply isn’t enough food for everyone.  To add to our problems, it’s cold and often wet and it’s very hard to keep warm and keep our fur dry.  Often the good places to keep warm and dry are already occupied by the older cats – and they don’t want to share.  Even the rubbish bins don't have much inside.

This spring though, there weren’t many tourists, food was short and I couldn’t get enough to keep body and soul together.  I was taught good manners from my cat mom and didn’t enjoy joining in the undignified scrum for a few tourist leftovers.

The final straw was some late rain.  It clouded over, there was terrible flashing and banging in the sky and I was scared.  I had nowhere safe and snug to wait for the noise to pass and then it began to rain.  Really heavy rain that made rivers out of the roads; my fur got soaked and I was cold and miserable.  The tourists left the beach, the tavernas closed and there was no possibility of any food.  No chance either of supplementing my meagre diet by catching a lizard or grasshopper as my cat mom had taught me.  Actually I don’t like to hunt, I have a live and let live philosophy – not like some of the other cats who just hunt for fun.

Anyway, I was wet and soggy, strolling along the beach during a gap in showers, when I ran into Mitzi.  I’d spoken to him before.  Although he has a girl’s name, he’s actually a boy cat.  He used to live with humans and some of them are very stupid about cat anatomy.  He stopped to pass the time of day and I poured out my woes.  I was feeling very down.

Mitzi told me about the Kini Cat Café, where he went when he was a young cat.  Someone had directed him there and he was very comfortable, with regular food, a place to sleep, medical treatment when he needed it and lots of other cats.  That was the problem.  ‘I stayed a year or so’, he said, ‘Then it got out of hand.  There were four big fighting cats and they gave me such a hard time, I decided to leave.  I left with my friend Buster, he goes back sometimes, when he’s hungry – I might go back in the winter, but for the moment I’m settled here.’

I was interested – there had to be a better way to make a living.  I asked for directions.  He looked me up and down.  ‘It’s a long way,’ he said, ‘Especially for a small kitten like you.’  ‘And there’s no guarantee that they will let you stay when you get there.’

‘How do I get there?’

‘You have to walk along the street, up the hill, past the shops until you get to the second lot of rubbish bins and it’s just opposite.  Maybe you can make it, if you take it slowly.  I’d wait for the rain to stop though – it’s no fun walking a long way when it’s wet.  You have to be careful of cars too – they don’t stop for us, we have to keep out of their way.’

My tummy was empty.  Today all I’d had was a few cat biscuits made soggy by the rain.  I resolved to try to find somewhere warm and snug for the night, perhaps a light snack if I was lucky. 

Tomorrow was going to be my big day.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

A Handsome Boy

I’m quite a handsome young boy, even if I say so myself.  My cat mom taught me to keep myself clean and groomed and I spend a lot of time each day making sure I remove any grass, seeds or grit from my fur.  I’m agile and can reach almost all over my body with my mouth.  I have a special rough tongue that can clean and separate all my fur very effectively.  I can’t reach the area around my head though, except with my paws and sometimes another cat will clean this part for me, as my mom used to do.

I’m nearly all black, with white socks on my front feet and longer white markings on my back legs.   I also have a white patch on my tummy that goes all the way up my chest.  I can’t see how far, no matter how hard I try to crane my neck.  I have a fine set of white whiskers and my face is all black.  I know this because I was scared one day when I was small and saw another cat in some water I was drinking.  My mom told me not to worry – it wasn’t a real cat, just a reflection of me, but I’m still careful when I drink from pools of water – just in case…
I have an OK purr.  It’s not as loud as the ginger cats; they can make an amazing noise and sometimes they purr in unison.  It’s most impressive.  But my purr will do; my human mom likes it and always makes a fuss of me when I purr to show my appreciation, by stroking me around the head, or rubbing my tummy.  I like to sleep upside down.  Not all cats do this, but if you trust the humans around you, it’s fine and particularly cooling when the weather is very hot.

The one thing I’m worried about is my miaow.  No matter how hard I try, I can’t make it any louder.  However much I concentrate, draw breath and stretch my neck, it always comes out like a squeak.  Some of the older cats here can make blood-curdling noises that frighten other cats, but I just can’t do it.  I’ve asked older cats, but they can’t explain either.  One good thing is that my human mum recognizes my squeak immediately, if I want to go out, come in or ask for something.  It’s even loud enough to wake her if she’s sleepy – so I guess it will do and I should be thankful for having such an easy comfortable life now.

But I digress – I was telling you my story…