If you come to live in the Mallorcan countryside, you’re likely to end up sharing your life with a few animals. We arrived on the island with two cats: Minstral, our Birman, and Smokey, our Maine Coon (who died a few years ago from lymphoma). Minstral lives indoors, and has done so happily for just over 17 years – 13 of which have been with us.
For three years we have also had a ‘glaring’ – a highly appropriate (at least at feeding time) collective noun for a group of cats. Five of these were born (in two litters) to a black feral cat we named Jetta who, after being with us for more than a year, went off one day and never returned. Our land has always been the territory of her offspring.
Along came two more . . .
Shorty arrived (dumped?) as a tiny ginger kitten, dragging an injured back leg. His incredible tenacity enabled him to wheedle his way into the existing feline family and, today, he’s a handsome cat with a love of cuddles (and a tendency to dribble all over you). Peanut – another dumped ginger kitten – stayed for several months but went off one day and didn’t return. It had taken some time for her to be accepted and although she was eventually tolerated, she clearly felt the need for her own space.
And another . . .
On September 18th this year the latest addition to our feline family arrived. We came home late from Nit de l’Art in Palma de Mallorca to find a little scrap of a kitten just inside the gates, cowering near the dustbin. Another dumpee, it seemed. She clearly wasn’t feral, as she readily came over to us and The Boss was able to pick her up. She purred like a train – probably pleased to be out of the reach of the other cats.
We call her Pip and, since her arrival, she’s been living in our annex bedroom overnight and when we’re out and unable to keep an eye on her. We can’t be sure how old she is, but the vet has suggested we have her spayed during the last week of November/first week of December. Until then, we’re keeping her out of the reach of any passing tomcats, and keeping an eye on her interaction with our other cats. Initially it seemed as though she wouldn’t be accepted but, apart from the very occasional paw swipe from one of the big boys, tolerance generally prevails.
The new kitten is growing – in size, character, and confidence. She’s a fanatical tree-climber (The Boss has once had to resurrect his boyhood tree-climbing skills to rescue her when adventure overtook ability). She loves playing with the stones on our drive – grabbing one between her front paws and tossing it into the air. And her dribbling skills (of the football, rather than Shorty variety) with a small ball could teach Real Mallorca a thing or two.
Needless to say, our initial thoughts of finding her a new home have been forgotten. Welcome to the glaring, Pip.