There are two types of kittens that arrive to my garden: kittens that are dumped by their mothers because they passed the feeding stage and kittens that are dumped by our neighbours.
I find the second type more interesting as the ways that the kittens get dumped vary.
The first way is by having the decency of announcing the kitten’s arrival by ringing the bell.
I open the door to find a confused looking kitten at my doorstep meowing and no humans around.
The second way is by sneaking the kitten through our gate so that it blends with the rest of the garden cats. Who’d notice with that many cats around? But of course, the kitten’s friendliness and liking of rice and chicken is what gives them away.
Home food is something that only kittens raised around humans know and appreciate.
And this was the case with Lulu.
Lulu is a pretty tabby kitten that was dumped in our garden when she was a month old exactly.
When feeding time came and cats got busy fighting over food, Lulu would climb up my lap and start purring announcing how happy she was to see me.
She would chase anybody walking around the house, roll on the ground and lick their feet and hands.
My mom liked her instantly and felt sorry that such sweet kitten was dumped.
Mom decided to get her spayed when she was 4 months old and made her wear a collar, to distinguish her from other tabby cats around.
Lulu then decided to show more independence and leave our house after 2 months to stay at the neighbour’s.
I’m not sure which ones as both liked her: the one next door where she accompanied the cook while she watered the plants and the one opposite of our house (our cleaner was hurt by her showing affection to others and went on a huff!). She still came for food and jumped on laps whenever she had the chance.
Then we noticed that Lulu rarely responded to her name and rarely meowed.
I did my famous test by clapping hard, the other cats either flinched or ran away while Lulu kept purring and eating happily.
This proved that she had hearing problems which got us worried.
We decided to change her normal collar to a light reflecting one, so that cars would notice her if she decides to cross the road.
The light reflecting collar remained on her neck for almost a month before it disappeared.
It was really strange as it was the buckle type that was hard to open or fall.
Mom had a theory that someone must’ve taken it, given the fact that Lulu was super friendly.
I doubted that of course as it didn’t make sense.
Who would steal a light reflecting collar and what for? Pass it to other cats? Lulu’s second and third light reflecting collars disappeared within a week.
Not only that, my other indoor cat Poppy had been wearing a light reflecting collar for almost a year now and it disappeared on the same week! Mom theorised that someone in our neighbourhood was starting a business selling off light reflecting collars.
But how did they corner Poppy to take her collar off? Poppy was a little tigress who scratched and bit her owners and ran away from strangers! I made Lulu wear an old ordinary collar and guess what? It’s been almost a month now and the collar is still intact.
Mom was right after all.
The light reflecting collars business in our neighbourhood must be suffering a great loss!
Rasha al Raisi is a certified skills trainer and the author of: The World According to Bahja.
Rasha al Raisi