Thursday, 15 March 2012

We Have Cats!

We do, and kind of by accident really. And in direct opposition to my bessie mates recent blog story about her dog, I'm really not a cat person.

Hubby also, in fact. We've both love dogs and have always had dogs as pets in our childhoods. We as a family had our own dog (Rizla) who very sadly died in an accident over a year ago now. We have been talking of late, having settled on the Old Ranch in Joburg, of trying again. A visit to the local Dogs Home, excited talk about buying a new kennel/bed/bowl. We'd decided our hearts had mended enough to fall in love again. True dog lovers.

Then about four months ago a little stray cat turned up. I wish I'd taken a picture of her then, if I had known how things were to progress then I would have snapped away.

She was pregnant, although we didn't realise it at the time - she was so skinny and so obviously a stray. She took to living in an old hollow log in the back garden but she was very wary of people. She wouldn't let us get close, hiding in the long grasses and tree branches if we tried to encourage her, but if we left food out she would tip-toe down her tree log and eat it when she thought we weren't looking.

We got used to her and we encouraged her to stay because we live on an old Horse Ranch and rats and mice, er .... shall we say, are not always and entirely strangers to us. They even come and visit on the odd occasion. We decided that a cat in the garden was just what we needed to keep them at bay.

And as she was so wary of humans, we didn't have any concerns about the children having contact with a stray - she'd zip up a tree if she heard them approaching so much as they wanted to, she wouldn't let them play with her.

A month or so after she arrived, she disappeared inside her log home for a few days and didn't come out to eat. We didn't worry, the weather was very wet at the time and we figured she was just hiding the storms out. For a few weeks after that though, she spent a lot of time in her log just dashing out to eat when we put her bowl down and we began to wonder ....

And then one day there they were. Two tiny little black kittens with their proud Mum (I'm certain she was showing them off) sitting in the warm sun on top of their log, and playing in the long grass below when they felt brave enough.

We were so pleased. To see them healthy and doing well. Especially having been born in a log in our garden in the middle of a stormy spell.

The kids were ecstatic! We've not been close enough to determine their sex yet, but they've been named Kitty and Cat and Mum taught her kittens well. They too would run and hide up a tree if they heard the children coming and soon we were putting food out more regularly and watching the kittens exploring their new world in our back yard.

All was well until one very sad day last month, whilst friends were staying, we made the shocking and upsetting discovery of a dead, Mummy cat on the lawn. It was raining, her body was drenched to the skin but we could find no injuries or signs of trouble. She looked just like she'd just curled up in the grass and fallen asleep.

So sad, we still wonder what happened to her.

Natey, watching the "PUSSY CATS MUMMY, PUSSY CATS!!"
We immediately gave her a burial and looked for the kittens who were then about two months old we think and we were glad to find them on their log where they've stayed ever since, being fed yummy dinner scraps with bread and milk twice a day by yours truly and Hubby, while our youngest, little Natey Noodle, watches excitedly from the dining room window. They've got used to him shouting at them through the glass, "PUSSY CATS! EATING!" (he always shouts when he's excited) and they are starting to get a teeny bit braver with us.

Now about three months old, they'll stand at the back door, usually when we start cooking dinner, and mew for their bowl. They still scatter when we come out with their food though, into the long grass (which we now don't cut in their patch, just for them) but they emerge again very quickly, as soon as we're back inside, and they're eating and growing well.

If we manage to tame them enough for handling, then they're straight down the vets (bless them, don't tell them) but for now, they seem well and I'm just so glad they survived losing their mother so young and have stayed close to us, so we can keep an eye on them.

The seasons are changing now, Autumns definitely on it's way here in Joburg so we may have to rethink their sleeping arrangments and try to make them cosier.

I can see me now, making beds in the shed outside and trying to coax them in with a tin of tuna or something ...

And get me, a dog lover. Who doesn't really do cats.

Wonder what the new hound would make of them?


  1. I reckon the new hound would make a pie out of them, or maybe some slippers. I'M JOKING!! :-)
    I am also v v jealous. Go Puss-Cats! x x x

    1. BA HA HA HA HA!! I shouldn't be laughing. Slippers, snigger ...

  2. Look at those pretty kitties! I'm not a cat person either, but even *I* can admit they're absolutely lovely!


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