September has been a crazy month in Kitzania. The day starts with me waking up at 7.30 by either the sound of our second door neighbour’s Shih Tzu trio in a barking competition or the crowing of the rooster further down the road who’d obviously missed sunrise.
I jump off the bed trying to form a hazy plan in my head for the day ahead. First on the list would be feeding the outdoor cats and while they’re busy eating, I’d slip in the usual three to eat inside separately: Mr Sore Gums, Mr Kidney Failure and Mr Spoiled-Kitten-who-can’t-handle-the-pressure-of-eating-with-the-rest.
Mr Sore Gums is the easiest to deal with in the lot. As for the other two, they would stop eating the minute I walk out and wait for my return to continue.
Mr Kidney Failure prefers moving his plate from one spot to another to mark his starting and ending eating points (I’m not an animal behaviourist but what he’s doing is called in Scots: taking the mickey!).
Once those cats are fed and put out comes the turn of whoever is staying in the guest’s bathroom (the spa!).
We had several cases of flu, fractured limbs and bite wounds in the past month. The latter is the hardest as dealing with wounds is the last thing I’d like to do as I’m not a fan of blood and gory-looking gaping gashes.
I take a deep breath and try not to feel woozy or gag while cleaning the wound, or jump off shrieking when the cat greets me by rubbing the wounded part on my arm or leg.
When this nightmare is over, it’s time to head to the wadi to feed my banished female gang. Still in my pyjama and flipflops, I adorn my head with a sun visor, take two bottles of water and some dry food.
The wadi is actually a mini watercourse that lies behind my house. From our wall the adult cats manage to jump in and out of it, while kittens have to be rescued as they can’t jump back into the house.
The wadi hosts four older female cats that were banished by younger male cats for no good reason. The funny thing is that while feeding them, one of the male cats who ousted them called Ameer (nothing so princely about his act if you may well ask!) joins them from over the wall, along with another female cat who prefers drinking the freshly poured water down there to the one in tubs at home.
Feeding the wadi cats is a tricky business as I have to be as silent as a mouse to stop the kittens from jumping off the wall (we’re coming mommy!) and also to avoid being scratched when the cats exchange attacks and slaps (their pastime activity while waiting for their food).
The food has to be distributed in certain areas where cats could eat peacefully, away from each other. The routine is fast-forwarded when I have a vet’s appointment or grocery shopping. Then it’s repeated in the evening at a larger scale as it’s an all-is-welcome feast with more cats coming (cats are naturally nocturnal so many would spend the day sleeping and hence miss breakfast).
Some cats get impatient waiting for their food so they’d break into the house to eat before everyone else (three cats in particular).
After feeding the rest, it would be my mission to chase and capture the gate crashers while avoid being bitten by the meanest of them. The evening is spent recuperating and looking forward another busy day in Kitzania!
Rasha al Raisi is a certified skills trainer and the author of:
The World According to Bahja. firstname.lastname@example.org
Rasha al Raisi