When on my birthday a pathetic little kitten turned up at my back door I took it as a sign. I already have five cats, three dogs and quite a lot of chickens, ducks and geese. I really didn’t want another animal but it’s hard to turn a needy creature away… so the poor little newbie joined the gang.
He was starving, bald in places, had an awful eye disease that was so bad his inner eyelids covered his eyes permanently; they were horribly red and swollen. He had fleas, cat flu and worms. He was feral and quite vicious, when I tried to pick him up to take him to the vets he bit me so hard his sharp little teeth went right through my finger nail leaving me with an infection. My fault, the poor thing was in pain and terrified and he could hardly see.
For a week I put food out for him at the back door. He made himself a bed on top of a bale of hay in the garden and ate the food. It got so I could pick him up safely and pop him in a cat crate and I took him to my lovely vet.
“How many cats is this” he asked me. This is number six I told him.
“You have to stop this. I’ve seen it before with you expats. You have one cat, then two, then six and then twenty-six. You will be my best customer but, it isn’t good for you and not for your cats. Promise you will try to stop”.
I said I would try. I don’t want this to keep happening, I travel a lot and my poor Other Half and my family have to look after the zoo. But, I couldn’t leave a sick, starving creature to just fade away like that. “It is nature” said my sensible vet and of course I know he is right but…
Anyway, the kitten has been named Hank Marvin on account of the fact that he was starvin’. I regret to tell you that everyone else calls him Skank Marvin on account of the fact that he is a bit skanky! He is still bald in places, his eye infection has left him blind in one eye and he is tiny. He is turning into an incredibly affectionate and loving little cat and likes to curl himself round my neck while I’m working. Don’t worry he doesn’t have worms or fleas any more!
The same week Hank Marvin turned up, one of my ducks had babies. That is, her eggs hatched. Unfortunately this first time mother duck led her 5 ducklings into a pond and they couldn’t get out. I found one of them frantically paddling and the others had pegged it. I bought the surviving duckling into the house, rubbed it dry and put it under a red lamp to warm up. Lucky, as we have called it, has been living in a trolley (don’t ask) at the side of my desk for three weeks. I am not sure what my French vet would have made of this story. With no competent mum to care for him (I think it is a him) he would just perish in the garden so I have to wait for him to grow so he can join the other ducklings who are a bit older. There are seven of them and they are the greediest birds I’ve ever met. They peck at my boots, jump up and cling on to my shirt, and follow me round the garden like they’re on a string attached to my feet.
So, despite my best intentions, my family of animals is continuing to expand and I am turning into the expat Crazy Cat Lady…