Two of our glaring of cats (now only four) celebrated their birthday yesterday. When I say celebrated, these felines knew nothing about becoming eleven years old. But such anniversaries are always a time for reflecting on the Mallorcan cats that have been a part of our lives here.
Nibbles and Sweetie are the last two remaining cats from Jetta’s second litter of five kittens, born in July 2011. Although probably not a year old at the time, feral Jetta had already had four kittens in March the same year. This little, black beauty was popular with the local ‘boys’; getting her spayed – after some effort to catch her – ensured her petite body didn’t endure another pregnancy.
Jetta stayed with us until the little ones became too demanding ; one day, she didn’t come back at mealtime. We couldn’t find her and concluded she’d just had enough of being mama to a bunch of boisterous kittens. These little mites became our responsibility.
Jetta’s legacy was nine assorted kittens – all adorable. One little one lost her life tragically when she jumped out of a tree straight into the path of a neighbour’s car. Brownie is buried at the end of our field, just yards from where she was born. Some of the kittens stayed with us for several years and for a long time we had five of the siblings living on our finca, having meals twice a day and any necessary visits to our vet in Manacor. We had them all neutered, of course.
Goodbye to Two
It was heartbreaking when Beamer and Chico – on separate occasions – went off and didn’t return. Beamer, in particular, had suffered a horrible experience a few years before and had since spent most of his time around our finca. The Boss and I searched for these two cats but never saw either of them again.
Sweetie – the tortoiseshell runt of the second litter – had always been skittish and unapproachable. The only female, her territory was on the neighbouring finca. However, she returned to us for meals, access to water, and some bonding time with her brothers Beamer and Dusty.
After Chico left, Sweetie changed. She became friendlier, happy to be stroked, and will occasionally allow me to pick her up for a brief cuddle. Chico had also been shy with us but if a strange cat came onto the finca, he was the first to see it off. We realised he’d probably bullied Sweetie, because her change in nature coincided with his departure. These days, this dainty little puss is more relaxed and spends a lot of time on our finca. She’s even learnt to tolerate Shorty and Pip – who are not siblings – and over whom she has the benefit of seniority.
It’s taken me a long time to be able to write about the loss of our beloved, blue-eyed Dusty in May this year. He’d had a skin cancer on his nose, which was treated with electro-chemotherapy at a specialist clinic in Palma in January 2021.
When it was obvious that the cancer had returned this spring and was eating into his nose, we hoped further treatment would be possible. I’d already obtained the syringe of sedative we’d need to get him into the cat carrier and car (which he hated) to go to the vet’s, but couldn’t get near him to administer the injection.
Then, one Sunday when The Boss and I were eating lunch at the table down in our field, Dusty appeared and started rubbing his cheek against my leg. He hadn’t done this for some time and had stopped exchanging nose-rub greetings with his siblings. I bent down to stroke him, then picked him up. He didn’t struggle at all. It was as though he were telling me he was ready for his final trip.
I took him into the house while The Boss fetched the cat carrier and prepared for us to leave for the vet’s. Dusty reclined on the library floor, as we stroked him and told him all the things that pet owners do at such a poignant moment. After I’d injected the sedative, we continued to stroke him until he was asleep and we could get him into the cat carrier. Sadly, further treatment wasn’t possible. We stayed with him at the vet’s until the last beat of his heart, then brought him home.
Dusty had a favourite shady spot at the end of our field, under an overhanging shrub. That same spot – very close to where he was born in March 2011 – is now his final resting place. RIP Dusty.
©Jan Edwards 2022