I can’t recall which was supposed to be our last cat. No more rescues. No more adoptions. No more trapping feral cats on our land. It may have been in 2014 when we adopted Chai, Foxy and DeeDee together from Constanta in Romania. A bonded group of three lively kittens would be more than enough for anyone – not forgetting all the other cats we had at the time. Of course, they are still full of beans and sometimes our place resembles a mad house as they tear around at full pelt. Only yesterday evening we stood in the kitchen wondering what on earth was going on upstairs. It sounded for all the world as though they were taking it in turns to throw one another off the bed. They weren’t alone as Buddy, Pearl and Vicky were with them. Those are the other kittens we adopted after the girls, although Vicky (the youngest) is now a year old.
I first saw Marta in a short video clip on Facebook at the end of February. Pure white, she had clearly been living outside for a while as she was rather grubby. Obviously very friendly, it was also clear to see she only had three legs and was missing her left eye. I translated the story from the original Bulgarian and it appears as though she once lived with a couple, but the woman had been moved to a psychiatric hospital and the man had recently died. The daughter had brought workmen in to clear the house and there were photographs of what had once been Marta’s home, piled up by the side of the road. Marta had been thrown out too. She had lost her leg some time ago to a pack of stray dogs. (Not unusual in Eastern Europe). One of the neighbours had hit her with a pole, damaging her eye beyond repair. (This is sadly also not unusual in Eastern Europe, where stray cats are deliberately run over, shot and poisoned).
Marta’s Home (not my photograph, obviously)
Clearly she wasn’t going to survive on the streets, so I asked a very dear friend from the city to collect her for me. Bistra runs a rescue called the Cat House. It was set up to rescue, treat and rehome neglected and abused cats. She rents a house where up to 55 cats live with space to move around and have lots of toys to play with. Far better than keeping them in cages at the vet, which is all that most rescuers are able to manage.
Bistra picked Marta up for me early the next morning and sent photographs of her in the cat basket. She spent three weeks at the vet being treated for fleas, ear mites and worms. They also removed her damaged eye. Then she was transferred to the Cat House. I was kept updated at all times with new videos and photographs. Of course, by the time she was fit to be put up for adoption, I knew there was only one place she belonged and so Bistra did all the paperwork on our behalf and dealt with the transport company who drove her home at the end of last month.
She’s been with us for a week now and has settled in very well. Not only can she jump better than any of our other cats, but yesterday she made it on to the kitchen worktop, prised a heavy metal cover off the ferrets’ freshly cooked chicken and ran off with an entire breast. Not long afterwards, we gave her a tour of upstairs, where she investigated the play room and poked around in the Diogenes barrel. Then we had a little photo shoot on the bed, which resulted in the image featured above. The one below was taken only hours after she arrived and she was still unsure of her surroundings. Expect more from this beautiful girl in the future.