Los 5 Mojaqueros - A Cat Rescue Story
by Andrew & Ann Cole
(Mojacar, Almeria, Spain)
Lying in the sun after lunch
During the summer and autumn of 2010 we were adopted by no less than five kittens. Tigger, who turned out to be one of a pair of twin bullseye-tabbies, was the first to arrive on our doormat. He was the tiniest, skinniest kitten that we had ever seen and - very unusually for a street-cat - was amazingly tame from day one. He positively bounced around and would let us pick him up straight away, but we were taken aback by how terribly thin he was - you could feel every bone in his body.
At the time we had no notion of becoming involved with cats again, having sworn off them back in 1994 when we were heart-broken after losing a much-loved pair of ginger toms, before either of them even reached their second birthdays. We resolved to resist the little kitten on our doorstep, but every time that we peeped through the spy-hole we found that he was still there, so out came some chicken from the freezer and we were done for........
Tigger became permanently attached to the doormat. Every time we opened the door, there he was. Within days we realised that his two brothers had evidently sent him on a reconnaissance mission. When they realised that his mission had succeeded they turned up, also with hopeful expressions on their faces. So that was that! Intriguingly, Roo and Piglet, as they were quickly christened, were much more timid and it took several weeks before we could even stroke them. Whilst Tigger rarely left the porch, Roo and Piglet only turned up to eat and then promptly disappeared. However, as soon as they realised that we wouldn't bite them, things changed and soon we had three well-fed and much healthier looking kittens lounging around on the sofa in the lounge.
Smokey was the fourth kitten to arrive on the scene, in the early autumn. A pretty little female grey tabby, she simply materialised on the back patio one day and played with the boys and followed them wherever they went. She seemed very much on her own and playing was quickly followed by eating, followed by coming into the house, although she looked - to this day STILL looks - at us very warily and refuses to let us come close enough to stroke her! She watches intently as the boys get their 'lovies' and sometimes bats our hands away from them as if to say 'Leave them alone!' She has us spellbound though
because she seems SO mysterious and we are determined to get to her...eventually......
By this time we were buying bags and bags of cat biscuits from the supermarket. It seemed that the boys had posted 'Food - this way!' posters all over the neighbourhood and all and sundry were turned up to be fed on a daily basis. We have calculated that a total of 19 sundry cats have visited our bowls so far, though not usually more than about 12 in any one day.
At the end of October, a rather malnourished-looking tabby mother came to us with what we guessed was her only surviving kitten. Initially they turned up together several times a day and we realised that the mother cat was introducing her kitten to the concept of solid food. After a couple of weeks of this, her work was evidently done, for she started hissing fiercely at 'Petal' - as the tiny tabby kitten has been christened - and she was evidently on her own. This presented us with something of a dilemma, because our 3 boys and Smokey seemed to think that Petal was either a bird or a mouse. She compounded this by alternately living up the bougainvillea or ivy that covers the house, or in a box that we had to put on the mat with a mouse-hole sized opening in it so that she had somewhere to go to keep out of trouble.
Slowly we began introducing Petal to the rest of the tribe. For some weeks she lived on the spare chair in the computer room, being observed warily by Piglet from his vantage point atop the scanner or by Roo as he paced back and forth between the printer and the space beneath the scanner, pausing only to step all over the keyboard and shut the computer down. (You have no idea how long it has taken me to write these few paragraphs!) Eventually, out of nowhere, she decided to investigate the rest of the house and joined the tribe in the kitchen at cat-food time, before staking her claim on a particular corner of the sofa where she is often to be found. She has integrated pretty well now, though at a quarter of Piglet's size she invariably comes off worst in the play-fights that she is now constantly instigating.
We are laughing at their antics all the time, though could do without some of the wear and tear on the furniture and - particularly - the curtains!