We diverge from pigs this time… to cats and the Cat Shack.
I mentioned briefly in the last blog we have adopted two alley cats, which are rapidly morphing into rural cats. That was, until a week ago.
The little cats: Tiger, a tortoiseshell, 11 months old with amber eyes and Lilly, white, with grey and caramel flecks, 3 years old with startling blue eyes, have been settling in well to their new abode. I had cleared the Potting Shed of extraneous bits of furniture, boxes, an old freezer and all the usual detritus that finds itself at home in a little-used space. Food and water dishes were gathered from the kitchen cupboards; a dog bed surplus to requirements was requisitioned, washed and covered with an old towel. Subsequently, dried catnip was liberally sprinkled over what was now a new cat bed, an irresistible aroma for any self-respecting cat, promoting euphoria and overwhelming happiness!
In addition, the floor and walls were swept and spiders, along with their multiple webs, were banished to the garden before finally, a chair with a fluffy blanket was placed in the middle of the room to provide somewhere for both human and kitty to flop when desired. A new home had been created and with everything looking spick and span, we re-christened the Potting Shed the Cat Shack and readied ourselves to welcome our feminine felines
Our previous rescue cats, who sadly passed away over time, had been somewhat feral. So, imagine my surprise and delight to discover that from the off Tiger liked nothing better than to be cuddled, to head-butt me gently and snuggle her little head into my shoulder purring loudly. Lily was a little more recalcitrant, but even so, she swooshed past my legs, curling her tail around my calves, before lying down and rolling on her back, so I could tickle her super soft white tummy.
Tiger has to be the greediest little kitty, which meant that Lily had a hard time getting her fair share of succulent morsels, rather than just biscuits. So, I separated their food, taking Lily’s dish outside, so she got some of the good stuff before her little friend robbed her plate of deliciousness.
And so life went on. Tiger was always in residence; we watched her carrying out pouncing practice, much to the disquiet of various mice, voles and moles. Lily, however, was prowling further afield, taking in the sights and sounds of the area, only returning in the evening. She would appear outside the Cat Shack, which I can see from the kitchen window, and I would hurry down to augment the cat biscuits with something scrumptious.
Until a week ago.
I was taking the dogs on their usual morning perambulation when we encountered Tiger. As she stepped out of the herbage on the side of the track, she meowed at me insistently. I followed her, as she was clearly disturbed and looking for something. I looked and looked and saw nothing. Thinking that she was probably searching for some trophy she had killed, I called the dogs and we went on our way. Returning a while later, Tiger was still in the same place, still looking and still disturbed. I didn’t want the dogs to terrorise her, so we walked swiftly past, leaving her meowing.
Sometime later, I went to see if Tiger was still there. She was. I joined her and scoured the brush on either side of the track, but to no avail, nothing. I picked her up and cuddled her before popping her down and together we walked back to our gates. She stopped several times to look in the rainwater ditches; she halted again, sniffing the drains that go under the track, then hopping down to look enquiringly into them. Nothing. We returned through the gates and walked through the pig paddock together. She impressed me with her instinctive navigation of the pigs as she made her way back towards the Cat Shack. Once back, she tucked into a belated breakfast and I sat with her pondering what had happened. Intuitively, I felt that something must have happened to Lily. This was not a simple trophy hunt for Tiger to be so agitated.
The days have passed one by one, as they do, and every evening we all stare out at the Cat Shack, hoping we will see a lightning white speck as Lily returns, tail held high and a nonchalant air to her step. We are still waiting…