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 CafĂ©, 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…