We are based in the UK but also have a tiny home in Greece, in a small farming village.There are cats here. The locals call them 'feral' and most (not all) of the locals either dislike them or actively try to hurt or kill them. Even children throw stones at them or shoot them with pellet guns.We have direct experience of this in our village and have lost at least four cats this way. In a lot of Greek villages cats are 'culled' by putting poison down. We are lucky that here (so far) this has not happened.
We came to live here in 2011 at aged 52 (me) and 46 (him!). We were not cat people. Now we most definitely are. It happened slowly...
Around six years ago we were adopted by a big ginger feral cat whom we called Grumpuss. He was mangy, worm-ridden, very thin and battle-scarred. At first we chased him away – we didn’t want this big, ugly, scabby monster in our garden! Then one day my partner Paul felt a nudge on his leg from under his deckchair. It was Grumpuss’s head – he was looking up with big, trusting eyes, asking for a head-scratch. At first he would only tolerate a head scratch for a minute then he would lash out with his enormous clawed paw. We both suffered nasty lacerations on our hands and arms! However, we became attached to Grumps, so we started feeding him and treating his ailments and he recovered. He subsequently became tame and very loving – an adorable pet who just wanted to love and be loved.
We also started feeding an emaciated ginger and white female. She was so undernourished that her head wobbled, so we called her Mrs Wobbly Head, soon shortened to Wobbly.Her head stopped wobbling once she had proper food, but the name stuck.
Some months later Grumps disappeared. He was gone for over two weeks, we searched but couldn't find him, and we thought he must be dead. He came back. In a terrible state - shot through the neck with a pellet gun. He’d clearly found somewhere to die and lain there for days, during which time the wound in his neck abscessed then burst. When he arrived home he was covered in hard black dried pus all over the side of his neck and face from the neck wound. We thought he would die, but the pellet had gone right through his neck, missing his throat and windpipe by millimetres. After a few months of antibiotics, bathing the wound and lots of love and cuddles, he recovered. It took over a year for the hole in his neck to close. Cats are strong though. He lived five more years, then sadly became poorly with Feline Immunodeficiency Virus – cat AIDS. Our vet came to our home to put Grumps to sleep. I still cry thinking of that awful day, and we still miss him dearly. Even our vet cried. Grumps was a very special cat and had many fans.
Poor Wobbly was healthy for two years then became ill with FIV. She had recurrent painful mouth infections and eventually lost all her teeth. During this year or so we medicated her with monthly courses of steroids and antibiotics. This eased her pain and enabled her to eat. She is now very well and manages without teeth (!) and no longer needs treatment, but has an eye allergy that bothers her – unfortunately she won’t let us treat her and we risk serious injury if we try! She’s doing really well though and being on a lap is her favourite thing in the world.
So six years ago, Grumpuss and Wobbly were how this thing started and it has since blown up out of all proportion!!
Since the time we met Grumpuss and Wobbly (Grumpy/Grumps and Wobbs) we have accumulated many more cats to care for. Currently we feed around 30. At least 15 of those we consider to be ‘ours’ and they all have names. Some are healthy, some not so much. We have lost a few to disease, being run over by vehicles, dog attacks and shooting. It's never easy.
We cared for one poor lad, Tommy, when his leg was horribly degloved (we don’t know how but probably caught in a vehicle engine) and amazingly the skin eventually, miraculously, grew back over the elbow joint and he got better. Whilst recovering, Tommy was in pain and also wanted to lick the raw leg, so we kept him in our bed so that we could watch him as he couldn’t tolerate a buster collar (we put old dust sheets over our bedding for Tommy because his leg wept and bled and he had diarrhoea caused by the antibiotics) with a step for him to get down from the bed comfortably and a litter tray in the room. It was hard – sometimes awful - but we persevered with all the blood, pus, diarrhoea, boil-washing of bedding, medications and trying to keep him in the house etc - and got him better. Some months later he was shot dead by some evil person.
Another one of our cats, Dave, was an orphan (found alone in a field when he was a few days old) adopted by foster-mum Wobbly. He's a wonderful cat - so loving. Last year someone shot him and shattered his back thighbone. The X-ray clearly showed the bone completely splintered. The vet said to leave it and see what happened, as clearly we could not afford surgery to mend the leg. If it became worse he would amputate. Dave healed. Cats are so strong! The muscle made up for the lack of bone structure and now he barely limps. Dave has since been shot again, in his pelvis, and survived. He is a tough guy.
Two kittens were tipped out of a bucket just below our house three years ago and left to die. They were tiny and needed bottle feeding. We fed and cared for them and they are now healthy, beautiful grown-up, neutered cats called Olly and Blossom.
We have recently treated two tiny kittens who both had cat flu.They were on antibiotics and eye drops and both recovered well. We have called them Paddy and Cutie. Paddy is a jet black boy and Cutie is a very pretty tricolour kitten. She will need to be spayed soon.
Another tiny kitten, Niki, had cat flu when she was still being fed by mum (a cat who lives over the road). Before we could treat her, an awful infection got into one eye and she lost her sight in that eye. She does well with her one good eye and is a feisty little thing. She needs to be spayed very soon.
These are just SOME of the stories of the cats who live at Our Messinian Moggy Madhouse. (Please LIKE their Facebook page!). There are many more.
Six years of feeding and caring for so many cats has left us broke. We both work but earn little and live fairly simply. We spay and neuter as much as we can, they all get good food, worming treatment and flea treatment. Injuries are cared for and we make many vet visits. We have a good vet who charges us ‘street cat’ prices but it’s still very expensive and we both have to work every day to feed ourselves AND the cats! Despite neutering when we can, more kittens arrive from cats that live elsewhere. They know we have food! It’s becoming financially unmanageable and we need help.
If you can spare ANYTHING to help us – even £5 or 5 euro – IT ALL HELPS. We adore all the cats and kittens and want to carry on caring for them. It’s chaotic and very hard work and we have to deal with tragedy and upset, but they are such wonderful creatures who give us masses of love and entertainment.
Please help if you can. A small monthly donation would be even more wonderful. THANK YOU SO MUCH.
Love and nose-rubs from Wobbly, Treacle, Squeak, Blossom, Olly, Meep, Fatty Bumbum, Niki, Dennis the Menace, Arfa, Mush, Winnie, Smudge, Charlie, Caramela, Daisy, Squirt, Paddy, Cutie, Titchells McGinty and all our other little fur-friends. xxx