Dinkie was a pretty little black and white cat who first began visiting with her brother Sox, so named because each of his four paws had four little white bed socks on them. They were identical, Dinkie and Sox, and for ages I couldn’t tell them apart. But once I saw them together I realised that Sox was slightly larger and had a few more white markings along the thighs. 

Sox brought Dinkie through our catflap and introduced her to the 6 bowls of food that were placed throughout the kitchen. He helped himself to the remnants in three of the bowls while Dinkie did likewise in the other three. Whenever they saw me they scooted through the cat flap.

But slowly they became bolder and wouldn’t run away when I came into the room, or if I were already in the dining room, they would eat with a wary eye on me at the same time. Then something remarkable happened. Dinkie came one day with three tiny kittens, two jet-black kittens and a pretty little black and white one. All three were far too young to be outside in the cold October weather and one of the jet-black boys was very tiny indeed.

Dinkie showed her babies the food bowls and each kitten made its way on tottery little legs and helped themselves. Dinkie kept one on eye on me and one eye on her babies. They worked their way systematically through all the six food bowls like a plague of feline locusts, not stopping in their quest until each bowl had been licked once, licked twice, and licked once again to ensure that not a single morsel of food was left. 

Several times a day Dinkie visited with her babies and several times a day I fed them, putting down kitten food for her babies, and semi-skimmed milk for Dinkie. Despite notes through her owner’s letterbox, I received no remuneration for feeding them, nor did he show any concern that the kittens were far too young to be out all day in all weathers. So Dinkie and her brother, and her babies started spending most of the day in my house in the dining room.

One day only two of the kittens came with Dinkie – the smallest black one was no where to be seen and despite a search up and down the back alleyway behind my back garden, looking in the overgrown grasses and underneath various pieces of rubbish that people had thrown out, I couldn’t find him. I could only guess that because of his size he hadn’t made it, perhaps. However, I later found out that he had been rehomed and although I missed the little guy, I was glad that he wouldn’t be out all day long in all the winter weather.

After a couple of weeks of inclement weather and Dinkie spending most of her days in my house with her remaining babies, I made a decision. I took the two babies to a Cats’ Protection League centre where I was told they were probably about 8 or 9 weeks old. They were given names and rehomed together within a couple of days to an Australian lady. Then I took Dinkie to be spayed. She stayed with me for about a month after her operation, to make sure she was fully recovered, and then I took her to be rehomed at the Cats’ Protection League centre. She, too, was homed very quickly.

Not once in all this time did her owner come and ask where she was, where the babies were, or to offer any money for the extra food I had bought for the kittens and for Dinkie. Shortly after that, he moved away from the area.

Why do people have cats (or dogs) if they can’t be bothered to look after them properly? It falls to people like me to clean up their mess because they can’t or won’t take the responsibilities for their actions. Thousands of animals every year suffer neglect, and abuse, because their owners can’t be bothered to do the right thing by their animals.

Animal rescue centres exist because of people like Dinkie’s owner – people who take on an animal not knowing the first thing about how to look after it. Simple things like installing a cat flap in the back door would have allowed Dinkie and Sox to come and go at will. Instead, if they were out when he went to work (on a twelve hour shift as a paramedic) they had to stay out all day – in all weathers – until he returned home.  If they were indoors when he went to work, they had to stay indoors all that time.

It’s no wonder that both of them sought food and friendship elsewhere and Dinkie knew that her babies would be welcome in my home – despite my having 6 of my own cats.  And the matter of getting cats spayed and neutered is a responsible thing to do.


*Dinkie has been a guest writer on the Pussy Problem Page and you can read her answers to a couple of questions here

© Pauline Dewberry 2005



 

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