My Cats....Mes Chats

11/13/2016 15:44

When I left my home in North Wales in January 2015 I had just one cat, my beautiful, male Ragdoll, Gabriel; after my three daughters, the love of my life. I had had cats , many cats, all my life so was glad not to have to pay the phenominal cost of having more than one flown by an elite pet carrier to Spain.

After settling at 'El Castillo' I made the mistake of looking online at a pet rescue centre near ********: the sad blue eyes of a fluffy white girl who had been badly injured after being found in the machinery of a laundrette pleaded with me to give her a home. Surely, she would be a friend for Gabriel? I could just go to see her? Well, it was obvious that I wouldn't just be able to visit her, especially not as she looked such a sorry sight with all her cuts and bald patches. Yes, I gave the rescue centre a donation and brought home the fragile ball of fluff. Gabriel, however, didn't seem impressed with his new feline friend and gave her a wide berth.

I assumed she had been neutered but, after a few weeks, the most blood-chilling cries emanated from this delicate creature whom I had named Phoebe: the sounds were unearthly and soon a couple of feral males appeared, looking most interested, under the fig tree in the garden. I got very little sleep over the following few nights: Phoebe sounded possessed and eventually escaped her incarceration.

The result? Six kittens eight weeks later; all resembling the two ginger and white brothers who had been constantly battling for her affections outside, scrapping and screaching almost to the death: it could have been either or both as females can be impregnated by more than one tom. Six! I, as well as Phoebe, by the look on her face, was dismayed, even horrified. Finding homes for cats in Spain is even more hopeless than taking proverbial coals to Newcastle.

However, they grew into the sweetest bundle of sibling love and fun: five boys and one girl; all so similar that I could only identify and name them by tiny distinguishing characteristics: hence, Shyface, Whitelegs, Stumpy.........Yet, my house was up for sale by August so homes needed to be found. An estate agent took one and, through an advertisement, I found an English couple who took the only girl and a brother. That still left three so, in total, I had five cats to take with me when I left for France in October.

The six of us left by car to start a new life in La Creuse. My daughter, Philippa, joined us in September 2016, bringing with her Olive, our black Bengal; Che, our ginger boy; and Lizzie, Philippa's disabled cat: all originally from the house in North Wales. The numbers were growing!

My house is built against a sheep escarpment of granite rock which harbours a number of feral cats. I had a cat flap installed on my back door. Need I say more? Word soon spread amongst the hungry hordes that there was a 'Bon Hotel/Restaurant' recently opened up. Monsieur Felice, a lithe, muscular male was the first to take up residence (I caught and had him sterilised asap); closely followed by the previously aggressive Blanche who is now a complete sweetie, so grateful for food and warmth. Both sleep on my bed every night. Am I mad?

That makes ten......or does it? Blanche is pregnant!