My Greek kitty crew

Sunday, October 30, 2011

I'll say no more

It's happened three times recently that I've uttered the words; "That's the limit - I really cannot take on more cats." And literally - the moment I've uttered the words - another cat in need has apperead in front of my eyes. But as I've said before... what do you do when a cat in desperate need appears in front of you? Turn a blind eye??

I felt sad and somewhat furious when this precious girl appeared just a few days ago. At first she had me confused because there's a good number of brown tabbys around here. As I sat on the steps to the garden enjoying a lovely sunset with the many new kittens goofing around, this new girl came up to me and walked straight into my lap. None of the other tabbys has ever made a direct approach like that. So of cause I took notice and realised it wasn't a cat I'd seen before - and she was badly emaciated. How could a girl this affectionate be so emaciated??  It for sure was a case of a holiday visitor having cared for her during their summer stay (when she was a young kitten) and then abandoned her when they went back home. First I find infinitely cruel to make  a cat dependant on food if you take on to feed it and then leave it to fend for itself, but secondly I find it so cold and heartless to make it dependant on human effection and to then discard it.

Anyhow... she is very weak and will need a good amount of time to recouperate from the emaciation. She is so weak that she doesn't respond to any of the other cats walking up to check out who she is. In fact she walked up to one of the sleeping kittens to snuggle for warmth and had the kitten startled by her seeming audacity. But he realised she was no threat and happily obliged in a warm snuggle. She seems content as long as she can eat or snuggle. Whenever I'm around she follows me for an opportunity for a lap and embracing arms. Yesterday when I was on the ground taking these photos of her she thought I was offering her a place to spoon. So we did just that - and with the curious little looks of one of the new kittens (the white paws in the background). 

Earlier this week I started experimenting with black/white photos. There is something so timeless and poignant about black and white images and I think particularly the top image portrayed here speak volumes of this girls story. The sad and empty look in her eyes captures the story of her heartless abandonment. 

I can't wait to share happier images of this girl but for the moment - when it comes to how many cats I can take on - let me just say; "I'll say no more..." I'm beginning to think that the Great One above has something else in mind!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

New life

Little did I know that fateful morning ginger kitten was killed of it being the herald of a tragic death of a dear friend. She was a huge animal lover and has left behind a colony of 30 cats plus various strays/unwanted animals she cared for. She was constantly on the go with fundraising projects for good causes (animals, refugees, education for 3rd world countries) and you always knew where to find help with her around. Single-handedly she was responsible for the neutering of more than a 1000 cats. In the days following her death I wondered what message or wisdom she might want to pass from her life and a simple set of words appeared; "Do as much good work as you humanly can." That epitomized her life. Her passing has changed the atmosphere of this little island. It being a place where there is such a desperate number of animals in need she has left a gaping void behind. Only the day before she passed I was in the company of another friend of hers. Upon wondering about the fate of a tiny kitten in her neighbourhood the friend remarked; "Oh don't worry - Trudy will take care of it." Yes... she will be missed so so dearly.

So the good work must go on. Many little lives have come my way in the weeks since she passed. I almost feel as if she is sat up on a cloud pulling my strings -  directing my path to where the desperate ones are to be found. I say desperate ones because right now any person in their right mind would want to close their eyes driving around this island. Teensy forlorn kittens are sat at each dumpster and you imagine how desperate the situation is when your consideration has to go something along the lines; at least it looks in a resonable condition - it'll be strong enough to fend for itself. I tell you, it goes against a caring instinct, but there simply (and sadly) just isn't enough capacity to care for them all. 

But Ellie (imaged above) made her way in to my life - and there was no leaving her behind. And it was a strange moment. My DH and I were on our way to town and had just started a conversation about how we really had reached our limit with cats (another pair was rescued five days before!). I had just uttered the words; "I actaully fear finding another kitten" - and there and then I spotted (and I don't quite know how on earth I did it) Ellie, lying rainbattered (two days of torrential rain) in the side of the road in the opposite direction. Only about 10 days old - obviously discarded by a kitty mom who hadn't been able to cope in the rain. She was ice cold and her limbs moving very slowly. After a brief moment in sheer disbelief of the blatant irony of the situation, we rushed to the vet who declared she was just a few hours from dying. Luckily upon some intensive care she made a quick recovery.

But caring for her presented a whole new learning situation for me - one of which I felt a bit apprehensive. Bottle-feeding and caring for an orphaned baby kitten. They are so frail, can't regulate their own body temperature and without the antibodies in the mother milk they are highly supceptible to infections. It's basically an around the clock task to keep them alive. But... I like to learn. And here - almost two weeks later - is the magical and curious teensy Ellie. Caring for her has not been without some fretting (and she is still very delicate) but she is stronger and showing first signs of independence - and she is no doubt about to be a bundle of cute fun.  Don't you think she already has the looks of a very great personality?!!

Monday, October 3, 2011

A sad but valuable lesson


About a week ago we got a special delivery just outside our window. Three hungry kittens! It was our number-one-neutering-escape-artist Pepper who  endowed us with the "tabby gifts." No longer any beating around the bushes - just plainly delivering her off-spring - now old enough to eat proper food. Alongside this delivery came her long-time mate Bruce The Bruiser - a REAL alpha male who lets nothing and no one get in his way. The very same male that has also fathered Tiny and Ninja - and later Twinkle (a single survivor of a litter). He has also been an elusive cat to catch - so this time around I thought to try and get near him with the hope I'd eventually be able to catch him by the scruff of the neck (I'm surprisingly fearless when it comes to matters like that). This last week I've been able to stroke him on a few occassions when feeding him - obvisouly not without some foul hissing designed to let me know who's the boss. But I managed it and after that he became noticeably more at ease - not needing to flee every time he saw me. 

Anyhow, yesterday (exactly a week later) another young kitty mom suddenly appeared in the front garden (where I feed the adult cats - and Peppers new kittens). Never seen her before but there was no doubt what she came for. She cried out loud for food and was obviously hungry AND so was her three gorgeous little kittens - two more brown tabbys and one (swoon) little ginger tabby. When I did my late night check to see if there was peace and quiet all around I was deligthed to find the three new kittens huddled up in a padded box I'd provided for them. 

I was even more delighted this morning to find they were still there. Kitty mom had left - probably now in the pursuit of a life of peace and quiet for herself. All cats - big and small alike - were fed their breakfast. Just before my husband and I set out on the early morning run to feed some local strays I even enjoyed the newcomers happily preening themselves in the morning sun - such a delightful scenery. I marvelled at gingers gorgeous glow in the yellow morning sun.

Well, that was the last taste of delight this particular morning. We dashed out and were back 10 minuttes later. To find Bruce The Bruiser victoriously sniffing the still body of ginger kitten. I just simply could not believe the horror in front of my eyes. Ginger had savagely been slashed around and killed. 

Suddenly the sting of my ignorance began to burn. Something I know so well and yet had been so stupidly ignorant as to miss out on. An alpha male will likely kill off-spring that is not his own! Never had I imagined that I would actually witness any such thing. This was like a scene out of a documentary about wild lions. Truly vicious... and with no other purpose than to eradicate off-spring that was not his own. I suddenly got busy shooing him as far off as I could. There are still two kittens that are not his and they need to be protected. Now there's no other option than to arm myself with patience and to try and trap him as quickly as possible. This time around I have a very strong reason for wanting to catch him.

Above it's images of the two remaining kittens - Honey in the first image and Olive in the second. Later the two of them snuggled together in the shade.

Update!!! Tom cat has now been trapped and has been handed in for neutering. Now we hope for peace of mind and safety for the new kittens.