Hello let me introduce myself, my name is Patchy Meow, I am one of five cats; Patchy (me), Scratchy, Blackie, Sooty and Gingy. We live on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, along with our human family and are known collectively as The Five Cats.
Now you are probably wondering what on earth would a cat have to say, well actually I have rather a lot to say, or so I am told. I have made myself the unofficial spokescat for feral cats. I expect you are wondering how a cat can manage to write, I will let you in on a little secret, I have little help from my human family; cats have no fingers and thumbs it makes typing a little difficult. I have to ask them nicely of course and show them plenty of affection and they will do more or less anything for me.
So, I would like to tell you a little about my world and that of the feral cat.
Photograph - Patchy by Paz
I would like to talk a little about the plight of feral cats. I suppose some people assume that the word “feral” means wild, are they right ? well yes and no.
A feral cat is a cat that is basically homeless and born in the “wild.” Feral cats are not all wild (maybe some are like my mother) some of them are abandoned domestic cats. If ferals are adopted at a young age they can be domesticated quite easily, but you could also care for an older cat although it may take longer to gain their trust.
Before you do take a feral cat into your home please make sure you have it treated for fleas, ticks and worms, very unpleasant things for cats and for you. If don’t want any flea infestations on your cat or in your house make sure you check your cat regularly. Fleas can cause worms in cats so it can be a vicious circle if you don't treat a cat for both of these parasites.
Many feral cats do get taken to animal shelters and hopefully then adopted after they have been spayed or neutered. It is a good idea to spay/neuter your cat if you do not want them to breed. A female cat can start to breed at six months old.
It is also a good idea to microchip your cat, cats have a bad habit of losing their collars (along with name tag and contact number) so if they do go missing they can be easily identified.
Cyprus has a Trap, Neuter and Release scheme for feral cats. The scheme is government funded and is usually run by animals shelters. This scheme helps keep the feral cat population down, but there are people that are not aware of it and try to control the feral cat population by deliberately poisoning them. This is not a good idea as many pet cats and dogs have been accidentally poisoned. This practice is unnecessary, cruel and it is extremely inhumane, it is also illegal.
Feral cats can make good pets, all we want to have is food, shelter and a little love, we also help control the pesky rat and mice population. Even if you do not want to adopt or feed a feral cat please just leave them some clean drinking water. More feral and stray animals die from dehydration than from starvation, and dehydration can be a big problem if you live in a country with very hot summers.
Public Domain Image from Pixabay.com
I was born in May 2010, my mother is a feral cat I don’t know who my father is; as a matter of fact I don’t think my mother even knew who my father is! There were originally three of us, myself a sister and a brother. My mother abandoned us when were four months old. Luckily we were fortunate to be born near some very kind people who fed and left us water to drink.
We were very shy and at first but soon made friends with the people that fed us. We realised that they wanted to take care of us, so we eventually we “adopted” them and made our home with them.
The daughter of our human family gave us all names, Patchy - myself, Scratchy - my brother and Dory - my sister.
So life had improved for us, we heard nothing from our mother, but I believe she is still around somewhere and has since had more kittens, unfortunately she has not been as lucky as us to find a good home. Perhaps she is a little bit too feral and not easy to live with.
*Update* I have heard recently that our mother has gone OTRB (passed away) she gave birth to many kittens and lived longer than many expected.
Dory was with us until February of 2011, she then ran away and we have never seen her since. We hope that she has found herself a home and is safe and well, so if you are reading this Dory, Please let us know that you are OK.
Photograph - Dory by Paz
I am sad to announce that Scratchy passed away on 14th May (2012). He had been sick for over a week with severe respiratory problems, the vet did his best, but he never recovered.
You will be very missed Scratchy R.I.P.
Do you kow that the life expectancy for a feral cat is only five years. That is nearly one quarter of the life expectancy of a domestic cat.
Sooty and Gingy
This You Tube video highlights the National Feral Cat Awareness week in Ireland.
There was just Scratchy and I for a while and then a black and ginger cat started to make appearances near our home. My humans were not to keen on any more cats, but this cat would just not go away and eventually they started to fed her as well and she was given the name Blackie.
Anyway, to cut a long story short she gave birth to two kittens, which were found in our garage .
All three cats joined our family and the kittens were name Sooty and Gingy, Scratchy and I were not too happy about it to start with but we got used to them being around. They are now know as my adopted siblings. If you would like to find out more about us you can read my blog: The Five Cats Chronicles.
I have also self published a book called The Little Book Of Cats available from Blurb.com you can take a look at the book preview below. A new version of the book will also shortly be available from Amazon.
Photograph - Blackie by Paz
Preview my book
A cat poem
I came across a poem the other day, I would like to share with it you.
Cats Are Wonderful Friends
Gentle eyes that see so much,
paws that have the quiet touch,
Purrs to signal "all is well"
and show more love than words could tell.
Graceful movements touched with pride,
a calming presence by our side
A friendship that takes time to grow
Small wonder why we love them so.
Image - Cat line drawing from OpenClipArt.org
The Little Book of Cats ebook is available from Blurb.com; to download on your iPad or iPhone.
For more details and to preview the ebook, please click here: The Little Book of Cats
Travel with your pet
Lifting of quarantine restrictions for pets travelling in Europe.
From the 1st January 2012 pet travelling within ANY european country, no longer needs to be quarantined.
A pet will need to have Pet Passport, Rabies vaccination, microchiped. They can then be flown within 21 days.
For more information on bringing pets into the UK a PDF file can be downloaded from the UK department for Environments, Food and Rural affairs: www.defra.gov.uk
This is good news for anyone wishing to bring their pets home from anywhere in Europe or wish to travel with them. Previously this the process took about 8 months.
Remember it is National Feral Cat Day on October 16th which was started by Alley Cats Allies ten years ago; and National Cats Day on October 29th. If you wish to adopt a kitten or cat, or give a donation to a cat shelter to help protect the lives of cats please help.
As they very famous cartoons say at the end “That’s All Folks” but I am sure you will be hearing again from me soon.
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It is with a heavy heart that I have to announce that Blackie passed away on January 3rd 2014. Gingy was tragically killed by a passing car on July 18th. :(