Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Beauty Shots and Beauty Kittens


It has been quite a stretch since I last posted. Everything is so busy here, and with my mom sometimes traveling in the winters…well, let’s just say that my blogging fell to the wayside. Good news though! There’s a volunteer here from America who is willing to translate for me. I slept in the crook of the volunteer’s legs for a couple of nights at least to check her out. She doesn’t have nearly the connection with me that my mom does, but she seems alright. One of the other volunteers takes beautiful photos. I always knew I was handsome, but...wow.

A lot seems to be going on around here. Of course, I stay out the way as much as possible: a nap in the shade is enough work for me. In the house, though, all manner of things are being done. I barely tore the volunteer away from her screens and small bits of shiny things. What is she doing? I have no idea, but words like Facebook and Instagram and Etsy keep coming up. Apparently, the Kini Cat Café is “on” them. Sounds dangerous. I’ve been keeping a low profile during the day.

Today I saw a fluffy black and white kitty in a crate being taken up to a car. Her name is Minnie and she didn’t seem all that happy. My mom was happy though; she told me that Minnie was heading to her new adoptive home. She’ll get lots of pets and loves there. Maybe she’ll get a bed or two to sleep on like the ones that I have when I come into the house for the night!

When I come in at night, I walk past a big cage full of baby cats. My mom says that she and Flora rescued them from the convent near the Kini Cat Café. Someone dumped them. It makes the fur stand up on the back of my neck. I don’t like that one bit. They seem happy, and boy do they have a lot of energy, all five of them pouncing on everything with their big bellies and tiny paws. My mom and the volunteers can’t seem to give them enough kisses. I suppose they’re okay, but I think I’ll be glad when they find homes. Less commotion…

I think I better get going…I’ve got to find a place to hang out that’s far enough away from the house that my mom has to call me at least seven times before I hear her at night. It’s quite a project! I’ll keep you posted.

Meows,
Junior


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.

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…