When Harry Met Jan

An unexpected meeting with Sir Cliff in Mallorca (2008).
Photo by Oliver Neilson

Er . . . not that Harry (Webb, otherwise known as Sir Cliff Richard). This particular Harry is a cute kitten who blasted into our lives briefly last night.

Kitten Alert

The Boss and I were reading on the terrace, noses buried in novels as the light rapidly decreased. I’d noticed two of our eight outdoor cats sitting on the wall nearby, taking a great interest in something in the lane. Figuring it was probably a cicada, I ignored them until the unwelcome sound of feline aggression shattered the peace.

Jetta (the mother of all our outdoor brood) had jumped from the wall and chased something into the overgrown field across the lane. Minutes later, as we were straining to see what was going on, a tiny ginger and white kitten jumped onto the wall in front of us, wide-eyed and trembling from its encounter with the black cat. Far too young to be without its mother, we suspected that it had been dumped – something that often happens in country areas here where animal-loving Brits and Germans are known to live.

I immediately named it Harry, after a certain ginger-haired prince, and we gave it some desperately needed water, food and TLC. The little thing purred contentedly when picked up, reinforcing our suspicion that he wasn’t feral. We couldn’t leave Harry outside all night: our other outdoor cats were becoming increasingly aggressive towards the little intruder, and he was too young to realise that sitting in the lane was dangerous. We bedded the wailing kitten down for the night in our guest annexe, wondering how we would resolve the situation.

Harry Goes Home

This morning we both reluctantly admitted that keeping Harry was impossible, as he clearly wouldn’t be tolerated by our other cats. We would have to find a home or a sanctuary for him and, on an island where there are so many unwanted animals, that wouldn’t be easy.

Then, I remembered having seen some kittens outside a farmhouse, during a walk a couple of weeks ago. Although Toni and Maria’s farm is a brisk 10-minute walk away for humans, was it possible that Harry was one of those kittens, and had become lost going walkabout? Mid-morning, we drove down to see the friendly Mallorcans and, to our great delight, they claimed the kitten; it had gone missing on Monday and its mother (not much more than a kitten herself) had been searching the farm for it since. When I asked Maria what they’d named the kitten (having explained why we’d called him Harry), she gave me a bemused look and replied “Moix” – Mallorcan for ‘cat’.

So wandering Harry and mum were joyfully reunited – a very touching scene – and we came home with a thank you gift of Toni’s delicious home-grown tomatoes, peppers and aubergines.

Jan Edwards ©2012

A morning cuddle for Harry from The Boss

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