When we took on the responsibility of caring for the feral cats that were born on our finca in rural Mallorca (in two litters to the same mum), we knew that some of them would one day no longer be with us – for whatever reason. We lost Brownie, as a very young kitten, when she jumped out of an old almond tree in the lane straight into the path of one of our neighbours as she drove home. Poor Maria – an animal lover herself – was unable to stop her car in time, despite driving relatively slowly. Brownie is buried at the bottom of our field, just a metre or two away from the very spot where she was born.
Quite some time later, Bear – a lovely black cat (born in the same litter as Beamer and Dusty, still with us, and poor little Brownie) – disappeared. Although we hadn’t been able to pick him up for a cuddle, he did enjoy a fuss and seemed perfectly happy around the finca but, one day, he didn’t come as usual for his breakfast or dinner. We never saw him again and were unable to find out what had happened to him. We like to think that he decided to strike out on his own and be independent, preferring this to the possible alternative fates.
Baby Bear and Right Patch were both from the second litter and they too disappeared while still quite young. We had expected some of the kittens to leave once they felt ready to be independent, as that would be natural cat behaviour, so we were pleasantly surprised that the rest stayed with us.
Searching in Vain
One of the problems of losing a cat in the country is knowing where to look for it. In a village or town in the UK, we would have put a notice on lampposts or checked whether any neighbours had accidentally shut the missing feline in a garage or shed. But here, in our part of rural Mallorca, we’re surrounded by fields – many of which are overgrown, having been long abandoned.
For just over a week we haven’t seen Sweetie – one of the cats from the second litter. At the end of July she would have been six years old which, for a feral cat, is probably a good age – given the perils of rural life (hunters, poisoning, disease, etc). But Sweetie – like the other six cats that have adopted us and remain here – is no longer truly feral, as she has almost always come for her daily breakfast and dinner and to drink from the several water stations we maintain for our feline family.
The little spayed cat was always nervous around humans (including us) and would rarely allow us to stroke her (unless she had her head down in her food bowl). She had a very special bond with her older sibling Beamer though and they used to have regular mutual grooming sessions; at times, she would bury her head in Beamer’s tummy fur – as she and her other siblings of the same age had done for comfort, after their mother Jetta had abandoned her offspring.
Sadly, Sweetie wasn’t popular with Pip – the female kitten dumped here more than two years ago, changing the dynamic of the cat clan. Although we’d had both females spayed, Pip had recently started to hiss at Sweetie sometimes and even chased her away a time or two. Perhaps that happened once too often for Sweetie to tolerate?
She had long had her own territory on the finca of our neighbours and good friends Maureen and Peter, and came back to ours only for her food and water. Maybe she decided on a new life of self-sufficiency? We’ve called her and searched for her in as many places as feasible, but to no avail.
In the meantime, we miss seeing this shy little cat and watching those affectionate moments she regularly shared with Beamer. And we’re sure he’s missing her too.
Come home, Sweetie, if you can …
©Jan Edwards 2017
6 thoughts on “So Long, Sweetie…”
Sweetie is a “tortie.” We had a little tortie once, too. She appeared to be wild when we first found her underneath our porch one really cold day in November. Once we were able to entice her inside the house she really never wanted to go out in the cold again. She was a
little bit strange, standoffish, and would not let us hold her. She would sit NEXT to us, but never ON our lap. She lasted more than 10 years and then passed away. Her name was
“Squeak.” Someone once told us that torties are that way, unique and strange.
I sincerely hope “Sweetie” shows up at home again, soon.
Hi Caterina! Well, the good news is she turned up last night! What a lovely surprise that was. She was very thin, hungry and thirsty, but otherwise seemed fine. Interesting what you say about Squeak and tortie’s being a bit strange and standoffish – descriptions that seem to fit little Sweetie too. Thank you for getting in touch; I hope all is well in Canada. Best wishes, Jan
I am so happy she returned. We do get very attached to these little “dime a dozen but each one unique creatures.” (quoting myself)
Out little house in the Rockies is in Colorado, not Canada, although sometimes NOW I do wish it was in Canada, instead of the poor USA, if you get my drift.
Don’t we though? I can’t imagine life without them now as they give us so much joy every day.
Oh dear, I do understand your comment about the ‘poor USA’. The Rockies in Colorado always look beautiful in pictures. I have a friend (formerly my hairdresser) who is moving to Canada today to be with the love of her life – second friend in three years who has done that! There must be something about Canada!
Im so glad she returned home! Its the not knowing thats dreadful.
Yes, it is. We still hope that the ones who have disappeared survived, although it’s unlikely in the countryside here. Sweetie is such a dainty little thing, she’d be vulnerable out in the big wide world.