I’ve got three French cats or rather lodgers. All three of them, Winston, ‘Enry Cooper and Loulou are ex-strays who now think they are the rulers of the Universe.
Winston was the first one. We had no pets and hadn’t thought that seriously about getting pets – apart from chickens which I knew I wanted one day – but then Winston happened. I was in a little restaurant just outside Boulogne town, it’s an area surrounded by shopping estates and main roads but there are loads of stray cats that congregate around the car parks and scavenge for bits of food. My mother-in-law was staring out of the window and gasped out loud suddenly. She said she’d seen a tiny little kitten being attacked by a bigger cat in the car park of the restaurant near our car – we all looked, nothing there, replenished her wine glass and carried on.
On leaving the restaurant we walked to our car when my husband suddenly leaned down and came up with a tiny little kitten that was lying under the wheel. He was covered in blood where something had bitten his nose and mouth and he wasn’t moving much – he just lay there pathetically and looked at us. We didn’t think we’d really have much chance of him pulling through, he was very young (about 4 weeks), he was very weak and lethargic and we didn’t know anything about kittens or cats but we thought we’d take him home and see what we could do.
We got the kitten home with a quick stop for kitten food and milk and had a good look at him. He was very wobbly, very tired and scared and didn’t want to eat or drink but we managed to get some kitten milk down him with the help of a pipette.
We put him in a huge cardboard box with a blanket, bowl of water and some newspaper – we weren’t remotely prepared for anywhere to keep a kitten – and left him in the hall went we went to bed – we really didn’t think he’d pull through as he was in such a bad way.
I got up early in the morning and was shocked to find him gone. But not far … he’d got out of the box and was now cavorting happily round the kitchen, diving under cupboards and mewing and playing – we named him Winston after Winston Churchill for overcoming the odds. Over time his injuries heeled, he ate more and more and now he is a massive boy!
He’s not the friendliest of cats, he doesn’t like people, he’s scared of noises and he won’t come in the house if he hears music playing, but with me he’s affectionate and loving and he likes nothing more than to play in the garden when I’m out in the vegetable patch where he’ll happilly dig up whatever I’ve just planted.