Cats, never had one as a pet and couldn’t see the point of them. Then we set up home in the back streets of Kritsa in 2001, where feral cats are integral to the local landscape. My first surprise was cats have personalities and the second is they live in extended families.
Getting to know the local cats proved useful when I entered a 2000 word short story competition with an entry called Cretan Cat, set in war-time.
Although I didn’t win, I’m proud my story made it to the resulting anthology of tales ranging from dark and chilling to light-hearted and humorous. The proceeds from this book go to two charities, Cats Protection and the Against Malaria Foundation
To find out more Click Here.
This cat was the first to adopt us. He deigned to accept tidbits if we left them on the step and closed the door. After circa nine years a dreadful cancer destroyed his face. We couldn’t do anything about it as the cautious kitty would not allow any contact. When he slowed down due ill-health we thought his swelling tummy must have been another symptom.
No, he was a she. Told you I didn’t know much about cats. What a surprise, after all those years along came a kitten eventually known as Gentle Mummy.
This timid cat had her first litter while still a kitten herself, and with no kin to show her the ropes, none survived. Her second litter included a three-legged puss we called Tripod; under rules of survival of the fittest it didn’t make it through the winter. By the time her third litter arrived we noticed a female cat from the previous year stayed with mum to take an active part in rearing the kittens.
Gentle Mummy visited morning and night for a tidbit, always turning up within 24 hours of our arrival back in Kritsa. She brings each new set of kittens to visit, along with their older siblings. While females sometimes stay with mum for several years, often with their own kittens, males are chased off by year two.
While remaining shy, Gentle Mummy is determined I shouldn’t ignore her. Imagine my amazement the first time she tapped on my window. I take care not to over feed the cats, they mustn’t be reliant on me. However, I do like their interest in our house, they are excellent as Rentokil should a mouse or rat come by.
Summer of 2015 bought a litter of four kittens, all so different I wonder if there were four different daddies!
When we arrived back in Kritsa twelve days ago, the young males were prowling together while the females were with mum. As the weather got colder and word went out that scraps were available the whole family were on my doorstep this morning.
Front left is a daughter from three summers ago, and her daughter is at the back.
Gentle Mummy is middle left, on the white paint. Mr Grey, Ginger Tom, Miss Tabby and Mr Black Spot are this summer’s kittens. Finally, the kitten by the saucer was not around when we left in the autumn, so I’m not sure who mum is, but Mr Grey has been looking after him.
I still don’t want a cat as a pet, it is much more interesting to see them live their own independent lives.