By popular demand – our cats. All the photos are unedited and not of particularly high quality. Under normal circumstances, Meimei and I – when we make our appearance – would not be seen in quite so domestic a state of… well, mess… but there it is. Farewell dignity.
Mengmeng – the white cat. Meimei found her about a year ago, at around seven weeks old, begging for food and affection at the roadside, and brought her home. This once messy critter is now Queen of the House, aloof unless something is required for her comfort, but nervous if things are not in their place and, particularly, if upon encountering a stranger, when she goes ballistic with anxiety. Formerly nicknamed Princess Mengmeng the Destroyer, Queen Mengmeng has grown out of that. She has also, we hope, grown out of the epilepsy she first suffered shortly after being spayed. That has diminished both in frequency and severity as the months have passed, thank goodness.
The picture of me wading a river does have Mengmeng in it; a small, white blob in the top-right quadrant. We made the mistake of taking her out for the day, but the people around made her anxious, though they were a long way away. Her solution was to wade out into the river and then, totally unexpectedly, to swim across it to an island. Though January and the temperature a little above freezing, it was my job to wade – thank goodness, I thought I’d have to swim – waist-deep in fast-flowing water to get her. Retrieved, we walked back to where we knew a guy had a boat we could wave down. Unfortunately, as soon as we got on the boat, she panicked with this new stranger, jumped off the boat, swam back to the island, and disappeared into thick undergrowth.
We couldn’t find her, she wouldn’t come when we called. After hours, we gave up and went home, determined to resume our search in the morning, but that was a useless idea and so, at 9.00pm, we went back with a torch.
It took an age for us to rouse our friendly ferry man who could only give us an hour before he had to do something else. Fortunately she materialised after half an hour with her classic “What’s wrong with you guys?” look for which, had I not been so relieved, I would have throttled her.
Lemon – the yellow cat. Lemon belonged – still does belong, perhaps, we’re not sure yet – to a friend who would cat-sit for us, we for her. When they were together, Mengmeng and Lemon were inseparable and so, when our friend decided to go to America, perhaps never to return, we took Lemon on. She’s a far more homely cat than Mengmeng, more appreciative of attention, more cooperative in many ways, but given to destructive fits, particularly when it comes to Meimei’s wardrobe. She seems to regard it as her task in life to shred every item of clothing Meimei owns and, failing that, her computer chair.
It now seems likely our friend will return from the USA and will want Lemon to be returned to her. That may not be so bad now we have another cat, but it will still be sad to see her go. Nonetheless, Lemon has always had an air about her of a ‘visiting cousin’, though we’ve had her for some three or four months. We’ve never quite been able to forget her stay may only be temporary.
Sparkle – the black cat. I found Sparkle some ten days ago at the time of writing lying on a step where he’d fallen, we believe, from a roof, half-dead in 99°F, (37°C), direct sunlight. I doubt he’d have seen out the afternoon. Even having rescued him I didn’t think he’d see out the night. He was about five weeks old. Well, what a difference ten days makes. He’s fit, lively, loves his sisters, (it must be said far more than they love him), sleeps the night through or plays by himself without seeking any attention, (though he makes up for that in the morning), and is the best of the three of them when it comes to using the litter tray.
Mengmeng was very upset at the new addition to the family, but has grown to tolerate him, even offering the occasional motherly lick, though I still watch her like a hawk when she’s near him. Lemon, laid-back as ever, became motherly very quickly, but I still have to watch her closely given her unpredictable nature.
However, I’m not as wary as I was. Sparkle is eating heartily, gaining strength, size, and agility. I’m hoping in a few weeks I’ll be able to take my eyes off him…