Monday, April 7, 2014

Something's Up!

Well it’s been a long time since I’ve been able to persuade my mom to write anything.  She can pick up my thoughts and I know she hears me, but she’s been so busy and very tired.  So instead of insisting, I’ve just settled for a nice quiet comfortable cuddle instead.

The house is a frenzy of activity.  I’m not sure what is happening.  My mom has someone to help and they are turning everything out, tidying and cleaning.  It’s been going on for a long time and usually means someone is coming to stay.

I have lots to do outside and have more freedom now I’m a bigger cat and am allowed to use the cat flap to come and go as I like.  It’s a relief not to have to use the cat litter any more – some of the other cats just don’t know how to be discreet…   Usually, I check out the field and area before breakfast, while my mom is still in bed.  I don’t go too far though, as I don’t want to miss food.  Anyway, even during the day, I come back to check on the house and goings on every half hour or so and mid-morning and mid-afternoon, I find a nice sunny spot for a nap – somewhere private, but close, so I can keep an ear on what is happening.

Today it’s all chaotic.  Lots of furniture is outside, all our cat beds are being washed and dried and I’m a bit worried because my mom has some bags out, that she’s packing.  It looks like she might be going away again.  I’m not too concerned because usually someone really cat-friendly moves in to look after us and she always comes back after a while.  We cats don’t have much of a sense of time.  We know about mealtimes, because we get hungry and we know about dusk and dawn, because these are times when we want to be out to do a bit of hunting, but the number of days doesn’t mean much.

The house really needed cleaning.  Mom and her friends have been out catching wild cats again for their neutering programme.  Of course, there are too many cats in Syros and nobody wants more unruly kittens, so I’m not against the idea.  But it’s all a bit disruptive.  You should see some of the disreputable characters that have spent the night in our kitchen.  No manners – some of them, they hiss and spit when I just go up to them to say ‘hi’. Luckily they don’t stay for too long.  Some of them have a bad smell… Mom has them all covered up with blankets to keep warm for the night and the next morning she feeds them and loads them all into her car again.  We don’t usually see the same cats twice and I feel sorry for them, because mostly, they don’t have nice homes like we do, or regular supplies of food.  They have to scavenge round the rubbish bins and rely on irregular handouts from passers-by. 

I remember what it was like to be hungry – it wasn’t fun.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

A Death in the Family...

Naomi mothering an abandoned kitten - reluctantly!

There are lots of us living here and my mom tries to give us all equal attention.  But one of my friends is very sick.  She’s a young calico cat – female of course – and she came from a place called Agios Dimitris, where there is a large church and a lot of sad cats – maybe a hundred or more.

Anyway, a while ago, my mom went there with a friend and rescued two small kittens.  Mom’s friend is Scottish and wanted to rehome a tiny ginger kitten, who looked very sickly and his friend; another calico cat wanted to come along too.

So, from being the only house cat, I suddenly had to share everything.  At first I was a bit jealous, but after a few days, I realised it was fun to have other kittens to play with and I enjoyed their company.  The ginger cat was named McDuff as it’s a Scottish name, the calico became known as Naomi; I’m not sure why.

We spent a lot of time together and always curled up for a cuddle at night and during siesta.  Naomi was quite clever and could find out how things worked, but McDuff was quiet.  I think he was relieved to be somewhere safe.  He couldn’t even eat at first.  While Naomi and I fed on cat biscuits and meat, my mom had to feed him milk and soup with a dropper.  She was very worried about him and took him to the doctor a couple of times.  But he soon began to gain weight and look better.

Naomi was fine until just before Christmas.  My mom had been away and Flora; our neighbour who helps look after us had been with her.  But we had a nice friendly carer living in the house, so it wasn’t too disruptive.  The first sign that she wasn’t well was when she developed a wobbly walk.  We were all worried.  She wasn’t in pain, but her back legs wouldn’t work properly.  We tried to support here and mom took her to the doctor’s for an X-Ray, to see if she had had an accident.  But there didn’t seem to be any damage.

Then in the middle of the night, she had a fit.  It was horrible and mom called Flora to come and see her.  The next day they went back to the doctor.  She was much worse.  We all got excluded from the bedroom, where we usually sleep at night.  The doctor was worried she might be infectious and we could catch something from her.  She had blood tests and antibiotics but nothing helped and she just got worse and worse.  I tried to sneak in to see her, but mom was determined to keep me out.

After about a week, mom told us that Naomi was dead.  She was crying, so was Flora – we all were.  We had been such good friends.  Flora dug a grave for her in the garden, near the lavender and they buried her, while we all watched.  They put some stones on top to mark the spot and a few bright red geraniums.  It was all very sad, especially as she was such a young cat.  We cats don’t cry like humans, but we do feel unhappy sometimes.  McDuff, who had been with Naomi since he was born, was dismal for many days.

Other cats in the outside colony had died, but this time, we had all lost a close friend.

We all moved into another bedroom, so mom could clean thoroughly, to avoid us catching whatever Naomi had.  I gave her special cuddles, whenever I could to try to cheer her up.

A few days later, a friend of my mom’s arrived.  ‘I’ve got a Christmas present for you’, he said.  He opened his jacket and inside was a tiny hairy white kitten, with huge eyes that looked like she had applied make-up like my mom sometimes does.  She was hungry and crying.  Of course she stayed and we all tried to make her welcome.  My mom called her Amelia and she settled in really quickly. 

We’re all pleased to have her here.