Thursday, February 20, 2014

Wanderings Amongst The Cat Population
Jill McClelland

Some time ago I hit upon the idea of putting a notice in the Herald announcing that I would feed cats, give cuddles and feed them in return for a small fee.
My first two cats were just down the road but a combination lock into their garage and the forgetfulness of the owners to leave me any dishes to feed them in made me resourceful. As I had no access to the house I left the tin of food high up on a shelf only to find the next day it was licked clean.
Next came a cat, rabbit and guinea pig. I never actually saw the cat but the food disappeared. The rabbit and guinea pig were great friends and had a large, fenced in area round the back of the house. All was well for the first couple of times and then last time no rabbit appeared. I tramped over the garden and lifted the lid of the hutch only to find the rabbit very still and very dead. I had the unpleasant task of cell phoning the couple to say what had happened. It eventuated that the rabbit had a scratch inside its ear so a cat must have attacked it. I felt dreadful and funnily enough I haven't been asked back!!!!
I fed a lovely ginger boy up Bay View Road, Puss Puss. He had been rescued from under the wharf at Lyttelton. He had a great personality and we got along famously. Sadly he was a very good bird catcher and his owners thought it better to re-home him so off he went to live at Little River where no doubt he still catches birds.
I have four cats I feed at Andersons Road, two to each house, and one is very elderly and very deaf. I actually touched her to wake her for her meal and she nearly shot through the roof – happily she survived that. The other one is a tiny wee girl and very cute but fairly shy.
Now I come to my favourite – George. He is a huge grey boy, fluffy with grey nose and huge green eyes. He would much rather have a stroke than eat his food. He is so polite that he stands back and lets me feed Timmy first, (who is a fussy eater and has a different diet to George). I heard a rustling in the bushes beside his plate and out popped a blackbird who is his friend and shares his biscuits. I am going to lose both of these as they are moving to Sydney. It was suggested that I may like George and I really would love to but having an elderly wee dog myself cannot do it.
I have a very loving cat that I feed down the road – she is called Georgie and is a Burmese. Apparently she does not like to be picked up and this I learnt to my dismay when she bit me – it took ages to heal but I forgave her.
Locally I feed several cats and this I do for nothing as I like to be a good neighbour.
I wander quite a way in my feeding – several have died since I have started feeding them (nothing to do with me!). Poor Therese lost her beloved Harry and there have been two others as well. I feel I may put another ad. in the Herald soon to re-coup my losses. There are no people in the bay who specialise in feeding and walking dogs so there is an opening for a dog lover. I did not want to take that one on.
One lovely thing about being a cat feeder is the enthusiasm that I am nearly always greeted with. Some come running to meet me and others rub round my legs. You can't resist them.

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