New kitten on the block

I’ve been searching for it all around our finca in rural Mallorca, but I can’t find it. I’m talking about the sign that says ‘Homeless and hungry cats, this way’, with an arrow pointing towards our place. There must be one somewhere . . .

In my last post I wrote about Shorty – who arrived at our finca as a tiny starving kitten in August 2012, but is now a thriving (in this case, a euphemism for slightly overweight) ginger cat. Although he was very small and frail when he first turned up, he was determined to become part of our feral feline family and resisted all attempts by the other cats to dissuade him. His tenacity paid off: he now has a bunch of adopted ‘siblings’ who are as close to him as they are to each other.

The ginge with a whinge

After completing that last blog post, I went outside to the front of the house and stood on the terrace in the unusually warm October sunshine to gaze over our land. Which is when I heard a persistent mewling coming from some shrubs. Minutes later I saw the source: a pale ginger kitten, probably a couple of months old. When I called The Boss out to see it, he said that earlier he’d heard a stationary car, with its engine idling, further up the lane. By the time he’d been out to have a look (we don’t get many unfamiliar cars using our lane), the vehicle had gone. We both suspect that whoever was in the car probably dumped the kitten on our land.

We’ve been feeding it since then and it lets us know when it’s hungry by means of a loud and persistent squealing outside. So loud that we no longer need to set an alarm to wake us up in the mornings.

Our other cats are not at all impressed, hissing at the kitten when it attempts to approach any of them. Ironically, the cat that has most taken against the newcomer is Shorty – who only 14 months ago was doing much the same thing as this latest little interloper.

We’re hoping that the kitten – which could be a female (and will therefore need to be sterilized at an appropriate time) – won’t upset the happy dynamics of our adopted cat family. Only time will tell.

Making itself at home - despite the less than warm welcome from the other cats

Making itself at home – despite the less than warm welcome from the other cats

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Check out my new, second blog about Mallorca

It’s all about some of my favourite things: food, drink, hotels (and other places to stay) – and they’re all Mallorca-related.

I’ve had lots of articles published on these subjects, but this blog contains things I write that haven’t been commissioned by, or submitted to a print or online editor for publication. In other words, things I write out of my own personal interest (and because I simply can’t help it. My name’s Jan and I’m a writing addict). I hope some of them will interest you too, and that you may even be tempted to press that ‘Follow’ button. And, of course, continue to read about living in rural Mallorca.

See you on the other side at www.eatdrinksleepmallorca.com. As they say on Mallorca, bon profit!

Entrance of Son Brull Hotel & Spa - voted in top 20 hotels in Europe by readers of Conde Nast Traveller magazine (UK).

Entrance of Son Brull Hotel & Spa – voted in top 20 hotels in Europe by readers of Conde Nast Traveller magazine (UK).

How to help a cat lose weight?

We’ve noticed lately that Shorty – the waif-like ginger kitten that turned up at the finca where we live in rural Mallorca in August 2012 – has developed something of a barrel-belly. If he could speak, he might say the same about me! (Only joking, honestly). It’s obviously not a case of pregnancy, as we took the little mite to be neutered as soon as he was deemed ready and it was clear, even to those of us without veterinary training, that he was a little chap – with not-so-little chap-bits!

The truth is that Shorty has always been a gutsy cat – on every level. He wormed his way into an existing family of feral cats who’d been born, in two separate litters from the same mother, on our land. This was their home and territory, and they initially weren’t too thrilled to see a tiny ginger kitten trying to muscle in at meal times. He persisted and the five remaining cats in the family now accept  him as one of their own.

Food time!

Shorty really enjoys his food. And everyone else’s. Our outdoor cats have their own individual feeding bowls and twice a day assemble for food – each eating from their own bowl. But it’s not long before Shorty decides that he needs to be eating a little something from all the other bowls too.  He could also be supplementing his food intake with ‘things’ acquired during his ramblings. When the cold weather arrives on Mallorca, Shorty will be well padded to deal it, but we want him to be healthy at the same time.

So, The Boss and I are currently thinking about how we could put him on a controlled diet. The logistics aren’t easy, as he’s used to eating with his adopted ‘siblings’. If only there were a Slimming World for cats . . .

Shorty after one month with us. Fourteen months later it's time for a diet!

Shorty after one month with us. Fourteen months later it’s time for a diet!

 

Another DIY project is finished . . .

DIY projects at our finca in rural Mallorca are usually fairly straightforward. The Boss is not one for starting a job and then leaving it halfway through to tackle something else – thank goodness. But our latest project – ‘refurbishing’ our garden path (here’s the previous post about it: https://livinginruralmallorca.com/2013/09/11/trying-to-prevent-weeds-in-the-mallorcan-garden/) – has been a protracted one.

An operation stopped work. The Boss went into the Juaneda Clinic in Palma to have his innards re-arranged, after sustaining a hernia while doing a previous DIY job. Yes, DIY can be hazardous to one’s health.

The patient has made an excellent recovery, partly because he didn’t have to have a full anaesthetic. He was given an epidural, which I must confess I thought was something given only to women in labour.  He still seems reluctant to talk about the experience of being aware of what was happening in the operating theatre. Which is fine by me; I’m not sure I want the gory details!

The Boss had made sufficient progress by this week to get ‘the itch’ to finish the path. Agreeing that he wouldn’t risk straining anything, we set about the task – with me once again wielding the shovel to lay the gravel. So many calories burned . . .

Another project finished. So what's next?

Another project finished. So what’s next?

The path is now finished and we’re very pleased with the new look. We’re not so pleased – nor surprised – to have already had to remove the odd weed popping up through the stones covering the weed-resistant membrane.  Is this a battle that can’t be won?

Learning to mend a stone wall

There are not many Saturday mornings when I leave home with an axe in my bag, but this was no ordinary Saturday . . .

It happened before we moved to live in rural Mallorca. At the time, we had bought our rustic finca as a holiday home; not that the times we used to spend here were what most people would envisage as a holiday: painting and decorating, making repairs, searching for essential services (such as plumbing) etc.

One of the jobs we arranged to be done was some work to our property’s old stone wall. Mallorca is criss-crossed with these ancient walls – which came about originally because people needed to clear stones from the soil so they could plant crops. We needed to create a gap in our own wall for gate posts and a gate, to provide access to our back field, where one day we would have an outbuilding to house a generator (which would need deliveries of diesel).

We used the services of an English stone wall craftsman, who’d escaped the dampness of the UK’s Lake District for the warmer climate of Mallorca. He was good. But such expertise doesn’t come without an appropriate price, and it was one we couldn’t afford for any future repairs that could become necessary.

A crafty day out

Which is how The Boss and I came to sign up for a one-day course on the craft of dry stone walling, taking place on a farm in our home county of Oxfordshire. And why I was carrying an axe – and some sturdy gardening gloves – in my bag.

There were 10 budding wall-builders (only three of whom were men!) on the course, which began  with a safety briefing and introduction to the art of shaping stone. How hard could it be? Very. I chopped ’til I dropped . . . the axe. Not an auspicious start – and one which made The Boss move a few paces further away from my chop zone.

But eventually the group was let loose on one of the farm’s tumbledown walls and, by the end of the day (and fortified by lunch in the local village pub), we’d managed to turn a heap of stones into something resembling a wall. Stone-shaping aside, it was a strangely satisfying day, even if it did mean saying goodbye to a few fingernails . . .

The Boss has, on occasions, used the skills he learnt on that day to make small repairs to our old stone walls. I’d have helped, but he chose the safer option and gave my offer the chop.

A typical Mallorcan dry stone wall

A typical Mallorcan dry stone wall