I’d forgotten that sadness makes your tummy hurt.
Yesterday we faced the cruel reality of the speed of cars on the road past the house, when we made the awful discovery that one of our orphaned kittens had been hit by a car. It was so sad to see her soft grey paws lying lifeless, when half an hour earlier she had been gently tossing a hair bobble across the carpet. That sick feeling in the pit of your stomach is how it feels to be so sad because something bad has happened and there is nothing that can be done to change it.
I didn’t expect to be so upset about a pet we hadn’t asked for and who only arrived last October, but one of the saddest things was looking at her fluffy tailed brother wondering where his playmate had gone.
We’ve now almost completed a year in Cyprus and it has gone so fast, I’m panicking that it will soon be over. Our first proper visitors of the season have come and gone and we have more family arriving next week – the pool is heating up and the sky is mainly blue – the summer is getting into full swing and there’s lots to be excited about!
Our boys are coming to the end of education as they both move into full time jobs this summer and our only daughter is getting married….the times are changing. In the midst of all this I am trying to keep my head, while I write a best seller (or two), keep up with the daily news and earn some ready money. I also need to work out the best way to transform myself into a half decent ‘mother-of-the bride’ (MOB).
This is more challenging than I’d thought because no sooner do I embark on the 5:2 diet, which involves trying to limit myself to 500 calories two days a week, than we are invited to tea with friends from church. Walking into their lovely bungalow overlooking the sea, I make a mental note to refuse all cakes and accept just a cup of tea. Half an hour later I am helping myself to drop scones and jam and carrot cake – Oh dear. Life on a diet is cruel. I am considering doing some lengths in the pool and or going for a run – instead I have decided to catch up on my neglected blog. There’s little hope for this ‘would-be fit’ MOB.
Last night we raised a toast to Tinkerbell, chinking a few glasses of wine on the terrace with two cat-loving friends who called by to commiserate. We had buried her under the pine trees opposite and said a little prayer of thanks. This morning my stomach still feels strange, but it’s not as bad as yesterday.
Last week marked the departure of our last guests of the season…or so we thought.
It was Monday morning and I was thinking about getting up, when I was summoned to the garden, where two of the tiniest kittens I have ever seen were crawling up on a windsurf board by the fence and crying plaintively. Both of them started to run towards me and then one went under the car. They were no larger than my hand, but very cute looking, with pleading blue eyes.
One of us had to get to work, so it would be down to me to see where they came from and try and find someone who could look after them. I went inside and poured milk into a plastic plate, hoping they could lap it up. Setting it down near the gate, they rushed towards it and started dipping their heads towards the liquid, not quite sure what to do. But they were obviously thirsty and it wasn’t long before they seemed to be lapping some of it up and still looking at me and crying. Kittens’ cries are not like cats meowing; they are sort of squeaky and sound a bit desperate.
We are not big cat lovers in our house, having had a dog that chased them out of the garden for many years…but this was difficult. Next plan was to phone a friend who liked cats and might help take them. The trouble is in Cyprus there are hundreds of cats and kittens, many feral, who are often seen scavenging for food outside restaurants. So there is no demand for kittens, however pretty and cuddly they look. Our Aussie neighbour was sympathetic though; he came across to see them and lent me a cat box and some food.
“Give them evaporated milk diluted with water or they’ll get the runs,” he explained, “and you don’t want that!”. He already has several cats and I wondered if he’d like these as well.
“No thanks….they are cute though…why not keep them?”
We don’t do cats, I thought.
Well, we weren’t intending to keep any kittens or cats, if anything we would be looking for a dog, but not till we are back in the UK. So who could have them?
More crying…they were hungry. So I tried them with a little kitten food with water, which they seemed to like. One started chomping away with his/her paws right in the food and the other began gently licking round the food – signs of the sexes already emerging.
Eventually I got through to the ‘Cat Oracle’, alias one of the forces wives who runs the animal welfare group. Unfortunately, they had no funds at the moment and all the ‘foster parents’ were full up. The nearest place that would take them was a two and half hour drive away on the other side of the island. This was looking tricky. The kittens were now well snuggled up in some soft material in the cat box, fast asleep.
With the best intentions we tried to be logical and resolved to drive them to the rescue centre later that week once they had got over the trauma of being abandoned – big mistake! It started with a trip to buy evaporated milk and some kitten food…by the weekend we went in search of cat litter and a tray. By Sunday we were talking in terms of when we needed to get back to feed the kittens. Someone screwed up balls of newspaper for them to play with and let them fall asleep on his lap. But who has the heart to turn their back on two orphaned kittens?
The trouble is, these unexpected guests look like being here for some time. They may not need their sheets washing, but they like their meals on time and although they are good at entertaining themselves, they are always pleased to see us home.