Hilary has long been in the habit of feeding the local stray cats by the bin – especially in winter. We do try not to let them become too dependent on us. We travel a lot and cannot really take responsibility for a pet. However, this grey cat was very friendly. We called her Duman (with is Turkish for Smoke). Because she was entirely grey. We got back from our long Central American trip very late at night and there she was, on the doorstep, chatting away and…. very pregnant.
We took her to the vet who said we should bring her back four to six weeks after she had her kittens. She had two kittens. One was killed by one of the local tomcats. The other…. well, she kept trying to hide it under our bed and we had to stop her from doing that because it would have been impossible to continue with that whilst we were not at home.
We were quite concerned about the situation when we went to Berlin for a few days so we built a kind of blanket fort on the terrace. Sadly it was not enough protection as we never saw the other kitten after we got back. Duman was fine though, so we took her to the vet. She had her inoculations, she had her internal and external parasites dealt with, she was spayed. The vet phoned us to come and collect her but, sadly, when we got to his office, she had died. He was as distressed by this as we were. He thought it must have been a reaction to the anaesthetic. Whatever…. We never bought her home.
This year has been very tough on the feral cat population. There has been a devastating viral disease (feline infectious peritonitis) which has killed a great many of them. However, this winter there are a lot of kittens about. The population is very resilient. But I am very wary of ‘adopting’ a street cat again. I don’t seem to be very lucky for them.