Wikipedia describes a pet as ‘an animal kept primarily for a person’s company or protection’ as opposed to those used for sport, work, livestock or research. Stray cats are those which have been lost or abandoned and feral cats are domesticated cats that have returned to the wild. Pets are supposed to be creatures that we cherish and love and so I always find it amazing the number that are abandoned. Pregnant females and kittens are often discarded. They are not abandoned pets, they’re just animals that for one reason or another some selfish, cruel person decided they didn’t want any more. Particularly in hot countries such as Spain, any animal that is abandoned is at increased risk of dying because of the lack of water in the dry season. Other risks exist of course such as disease, threats from other animals, humans, traffic and starvation.
I want to tell you about Lewis and Jota Be, two kittens who were rescued after their mothers were abandoned. Two groups of kittens were taken to our friend at the market in Mollina and he agreed to try and find them homes. We spied the kittens as we visited the market, one beige and one tabby which was climbing the walls of the cage they were in. The beige kitten we were told, was five weeks old and the tabby four.Typically taken from their mothers too young and not properly weaned. I was only going to take one but couldn’t decide which, so took them both. It was amazing that they both sensed how much better off they were coming home with us. From day one they were both happy, loving cats and they loved to race around the house having their mad half hour, so we called them after racing drivers! The tabby was Lewis and the beige one Jota Be
JB has lovely blue eyes but they often cross when he looks at you.
Despite being a week younger than JB, Lewis was always the brave one, the climber and the protector. He was an outdoor cat; the hunter. Often as he grew older he would find rabbit burrows where there were young and when they came out…wham! bam! he would pounce! Just as light was breaking we would hear screams and breakages and frantic running around the terrace outside our bedroom window. I would investigate and find ‘the sport’. Lewis would have caught a baby rabbit and scaled the six foot wire fence to bring it into the terrace where it couldn’t escape. Their cries are very distressing. I have saved many lives from torture and death by putting the rabbits back in their burrow. They may only have lived to last another day but I figure that was better than nothing.
We took the cats to England for a holiday. Lewis was everyone’s favourite. He loved to sit on my Mum’s knee and made for her as soon as she started knitting. It was, I guess similar to the scenario when you don’t like cats, they make a bee line for you; Lewis would see the knitting needles and must have known that he wasn’t wanted at that time but there was no way he was going to be denied.
He disappeared in Spain in 2014. He just didn’t come back home. He was neutered, so it was unusual. It was hunting season and so maybe he, like others fell prey to some trigger happy hunter who can’t tell a cat from a rabbit. I hope not. He was a pet and a much loved one.
Next time: JB