I have had to move away from my old house, I have children of my own to protect from the unfriendly dogs and the foxes.
I do sneak back from time to time — and thought I would update you on some of the changes in the growing family of Alentejo cats .
I had heard rumours about new kittens and thought I would go and investigate. My first couple of return visits I saw nothing but the usual crowd I knew all growing up well. Little Squeak is no longer frail and tiny. He is growing up into a fine specimen of a cat and his sister Bubbles is blossoming too as is the aloof Nimbus.
Here is Mr B. One of the naughtiest cat I have ever met!
The Good — well, we did it — it took us awhile and happened in a very ramshackle manner. We moved ourselves with the help of a cast of extras. One ancient tractor, a front-loading “bin,” two borrowed trailers, the land rover, some Bulgarians, our neighbour Manuel and our friends Joachim and Zee.
My grandparents are long gone, my mother died in 1963, daddy died in 1986, and my stepmother died in 2010. I guess that, technically, I am a 66 year old orphan – but I am lucky enough to have a big network of friends who have become my family.
I often take time to reflect on what a fortunate person I am. But no more than when I spend time with my friends. As Elbert Hubbard (who?) said, “A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.”
And I have gathered them from so many different parts of my life. Six of them gathered for a birthday dinner for me recently and we commented on that very thing. All six of us are linked by theater: five by Board membership at the Remy Bumppo Theatre Company and another friend who is a supporter of Remy Bumppo.
Here’s an update on my new friends: Cats from that Red Other’s Alentejo Shed!
Nimbus — he is all legs and climbing all over the place.
I awaken each morning to the soft early light of the rising sun as it filters through the window shutters directly onto my pillow. Its arrival means it is time to rise and shine — no alarm clocks needed here.
This has been specifically written for cats and their owners, a lot of the information will apply to dogs and their owners as well. If your cat is special to you, is a pedigree cat, or has unusual or special markings please, get it chipped. In Portugal this will cost between twenty-five and fifty euros and can be done by most vets. These cats have a high risk of being stolen.
In the dim and distant past when I first had a job, I used to get a lift to work with a friend. In return I would look after their family animals while they were away on holiday. This meant feeding and mucking out three or four rabbits and four guinea pigs which lived in a huge wooden hutch in the garden. He would ruefully remark to me at times that he wished the animals he had bought to teach the children about life and death would actually oblige. They must have had the longest living rabbits and guinea pigs I have known.
Fast forward thirty five years and the cats of my lap in the Alentejo shed are giving me a prime example.