It was in summer 2011 as we met for the first time. At the beginning the encounters were so short and confusing, that I did not know what “it” actually was. All I knew was that “it” yelled at night waking me up again and again, ate some of the food left outside for wild animals, drank the cream mix we made for stray cats and hid somewhere on the property.
It lasted weeks until we discovered that “it” was in fact a very young cat which had lost its mother at some point, far too early as it seemed. The kitten played in the garden most of the time and found a way into our cellar at night or when it rained. It was very shy and would not let us come close.
Weeks passed by again, we made sure there was always something for him to eat and drink. We watched fall arrive and with it some less friendly weather. That was the time when the kitten began to find interest in us, or to be more precise in our dog and her game of “catching the ball”. The young cat found this more and more fascinating and started to run after the ball too, but of course the dog was ridiculously strong and quick in comparison. So I found a small toy that resembled a ball more suitable to the little cat´s size and presented it to him. That was it! I threw it away, not too far, the dog thought “what? this little thing? are you kidding me?” and so did not even think about running after it. The kitten did though and so we had finally something to build upon.
Weeks of patience as well as trial and error followed. We kept playing with him every day and very slowly he would let us come as near as one step away from him. His star remained our dog quite clearly, until one day of october when the little kitten came close to my leg, I ducked and petted him as fondly as I could and you could literally see him wonder how nice this was and think “what was that about anyway? is there more?”. We can only suppose that the lack of motherly love at such an early age made the kitten crave for affectionate physical contact. But it was high time too, since the weather forecast became quite critical for the days ahead. So we worked on trying to pet him more so maybe some day he would let us take him inside where he would be properly cared for. During that time, through an accident, a fight or some health problems, we still do not know exactly, the little cat lost the sight of an eye, a leg looked more stiff than usual and the little one seemed somewhat stricken. We worried if he could make it.
It lasted again and the weather had already worsened as we could finally take the kitten home on november 1st. At the doctor we unfortunately got informed that its immune system was weak and it would probably not live longer than a year. He said there was nothing he could do except for neutering him. Then at home, we informed ourselves what could help him best as we carry a large stock of homeopathic remedies anyway. So we took his health into our hands and mixed medicine to his cat milk.
Until a year ago, the one I keep calling “Baby Cat” for myself but actually was named Howie, drank regularly his medicine as a well-behaved kitten. His eyesight problem gave him kind of a pirate look we made jokes about. But during last year there was nothing we could do to make him drink his remedies, no meat, no cream, no fish. Nothing. And so his health deteriorated until his organs shut down a few days ago and he left us behind, sad in a very silent house.
We miss our little pirate and hope he was happy as we had the privilege to share over four years with him.