by Taetske | 7:31 pm
(Last Updated On: June 25, 2018)

My life with cats starting in Australia

 

My love for cats started at an early age

My love for cats started at an early age

 

Since I remember, cats have formed part of my life. I was born in Australia in 1950. My Dutch parents emigrated there in 1949. They spent 4 difficult years in this vast country changing home 16 times. There was a time my Father had a job in the Snowy Mountains Project. Mother was sitting some 1000 miles away with me being still a small baby. We lived in a small hostel and on the wood veranda were some house cats. My Mother told me I would grab their tails but they never bit or scratched me. This was the beginning of a lifelong love with these amazing creatures.

 

Bongo, our first house cat

We came back to Holland in 1953 and 2 years later my parents built a house. I had a dolls pram and our cat had babies in there. My first memory is of Bongo, completely black and quite naughty. He was the baby we kept, the others got nice new homes. In the kitchen was a window with view on the lawn. In our garden lived an old and really big rabbit. He would often come and sit awhile on the lawn nibbling on the grass. My Mother observed this scene from the window and later told me the story. Bongo was growing up and had become a reckless teenager. That day he had seen the big rabbit, a couple of sizes bigger than this still small cat. Bongo was not conscious of sizes yet so he went on his stomach and started creeping toward the rabbit. Of course, the rabbit had seen him coming and just before Bongo prepared to jump the rabbit turned around and with his back leg gave him a whopper. Bongo made a small salto mortale and was catapulted over the lawn. He was quite dazed not having a clue what had happened. In a corner, he sat down to clean his fur and the look on his face was, this has nothing to do with me.

 

Bongo and the cake

My Mother often baked delicious cakes. The friends who would come to visit were looking forward to her treats. Mother had made a great cake with a gooey topping of soft chocolate. The cake was standing on the kitchen counter, the quests were nearly there. When Mother came back to the kitchen she found a bare cake, Bongo was licking his whiskers. Well, she had 2 options. No cake for her friends or quickly make a new chocolate spread. That is what she did. Later, after eating the cake, she told the story to her very good friends, they were not amused. All cats have different characters. I do not know if there is a trick so Bongo would not have jumped on the counter to lick the cake. Still, sometimes one is quite challenged with what cats can do. You might find a solution here. Easy Solutions for Cat Behavior and Health. My parents moved to Italy in 1969 and did not want to stress old Bongo. He found a loving home with my Mothers brother where he lived up to 22 years of age. His last years he stayed mainly indoors as he did not want to fight anymore with young tomcats.

The cats in the south of Spain

 

entrance to my 180-year-old Spanish farm

Entrance to my 180-year-old Spanish farm

 

I came to the Costa del Sol in 1976 working as a tourist guide for a German company. Each hotel would have cats living in their gardens. In general, the tourists would not mind and even feed them with a little tidbit from the buffet. First I had a hotel room but after half a year I moved to an apartment in Torremolinos. There I met a Finnish artist who lived in a very old house next to the old Mill. The name Torremolinos says it. Torre means tower and Molinos means mills. In his garden lived a very special cat species. Visualize a street cat married to a Siamese cat. The babies were very unusual, their tails having bizarre forms, it sometimes resembled a corkscrew. Going down the long staircase leading from the center of town to the beach was this mill. It was called La Boveda and the Dutch owner had made it into a flamenco show where the tourists would come in the evening having a drink and enjoying the show. My company would use this place to offer the newly arrived tourist an informative welcome cocktail. There the guides would inform them about the interesting places to visit, train and bus fares, shopping hours and also other important information one might need in a foreign country. One day coming down the steps I saw a pretty small cat. It had a long wound on her flank which was nearly healed. I could not resist and took her to my apartment. And that was the beginning of my own cat family. After living with me she jumped off the balcony into the garden and went for a tour. She came back some days later looking bashful but it was too late already. She was pregnant and when I moved inland to my farm she came along with a bunch of babies. All my animals have been adopted or perhaps I should say it the other way around. Some of them just adopted me. Helping Those that can not help themselves. Cat Care and Adoption of a fur friend.

 

My Spanish farm

 

I was still working, there was a lot of space and the cat situation got a bit out of hand. They lived a lovely life here, lots of hunting fun, birds, lizards, mice, and insects. They all would come for breakfast not so much because they were hungry but more a ritual to say hello. They would all sit in front of the kitchen door to the patio. At that time, some 30 years ago I had, if I remember well, close to 20 cats. From young to old and all living in peace, a good example for the world. That morning when I opened the door to serve breakfast I saw a big mouse sitting next to them I now understand they had put him there for dessert. When I saw that I jumped on him to save him and I was bitten in my hand. Had to go to the first aid station in the village to get a Tetanus shot. One should not interfere in nature and when I did something bad happened, prolonging somebody’s agony. I can tell you a lot of cat stories, some of them really sad but as I want to keep this a happy story, I will refrain. Fact is that when I fill in my new calendar for the new year a lot of cat names appear with a little cross beside their name. Every year I think shall I continue doing this? And then again I fill in the names of my fur friends who have accompanied me part of my life path. I will now tell you the stories of the cats which are here on my farm now.

Old Missu

 

Missu on the cobble stones

Missu on the cobblestones

She came walking in as a baby in 1995. It is quite amazing she is still alive after all these years. She has become really slow, does not take care of her fur anymore and sometimes does not remember where she is heading. She never had a nice character and after only a few pats would let you know, now it is enough! She comes for breakfast in the storeroom and often she wants to stay there the night. Every morning I brush her but her fur looks awful. As long as she eats, drinks, sleeps and also walks around I let this old lady be. Even if her joys are small, she still has them.

 

Sasha, the only boy

 

Sasha meets Cindy for the first time

Sasha meets Cindy for the first time

 

In Oct 2010 I came home after a lovely holiday in Germany. A few days later, Miguel, my gardener tells me a baby cat was dumped at the main gate, that is 500m away from my home. I asked him how big the cat was and he answered very small. I told him to bring the cat home and there was little Sasha. The vet later told me he was only 4 weeks old. He had to stay in quarantine for 2 months living in the kitchen. Old Missu has a chronic condition of the cat flu. That means she does not die of it but sneezes now and then. A small baby with only 4 weeks has not a good enough immune system so I had to keep the cats separated. Sasha was my first cat with passport and vaccination card. After being here a few days Cindy came into the kitchen to say hello, it was love at first sight.

 

Sasha hanging on the kitchen towel

Sasha hanging on the kitchen towel

 

Being a tomboy he did naughty things like hanging on the kitchen towel, a funny photo. When he was old enough I had him operated. The vet said to keep him quiet overnight. I thought that the barrier I had put up in the kitchen would be sufficient, well, it was not. While sitting with Cindy in my workroom that evening who came running upstairs, you have guessed right. Sasha recently operated wanted company.

 

Saved from a sure death on the road, Jasmin

 

Jasmin, rescued and not knowing what to think of me

Jasmin, rescued and not knowing what to think of me

 

I never forget that day. It was a Monday, 9th of Sept 2013. I had planned to go to a big garden center close to Malaga. Instead of taking the road below town, I left the house some 15 min later than planned and drove through the village. Outside is the bridge of the highway and my road sloped down to pass under. From a distance, I saw a small black spot on my lane, on the moment I passed I realized it had eyes. I stepped on my brakes and stopped in the middle of the road 10m further. The people in the car behind me had stopped just before the black spot. I ran back and found a tiny cat, picked it up and showed the people in the car. In the meantime, a long line of cars had formed. I made a U-turn, completely forbidden there, and drove back to the other side of the village where Francisco, my vet has his office. I double parked on the street, also forbidden but often seen in Spanish villages and towns. I rushed in yelling “Francisco, Francisco, I have a hurt cat in my car.” We opened the passenger door but no trace of the cat. Francisco said perhaps he got into your handbag, no cat. We pushed the chairs carefully, still no cat. Looking carefully I suddenly saw a piece of tail sticking out from a small space where you put your feet. I slowly pulled and voila, there she was. Francisco said to come back this afternoon, I then went on my way to the garden center. On arrival, it turned out to be a holiday in Malaga, so it was closed. Just imagine. Had I known that I would not have left the house till the next day. Then the fact I took the road through the village instead of the down below road, which I normally do. What do you think about the fact that I left 15 min later, all these “coincidences”? For sure it was meant that Jasmin and I should meet. When I picked her up she had 7 stitches on a 1 cm wound on her front leg. Jasmin looked as if she had a dirty nose so I softly rubbed till I realized it was a spot. She stayed 2 months in quarantine in the room next to my workroom. After a few days, I wanted to introduce Cindy. Cindy was so curious and pushed the door open with her nose. Jasmin came flying out of her room and with one big jump landed downstairs. A 3 meter jump down. Nothing happened to her but it gave me a shock. She repeated her flying skills, with jumping out of her window on the first floor and again nothing happened. When she was still small I saw her chasing a dragonfly. The dragonfly flew over the small fishpond on the patio. Jasmin followed and walked over the water. She was so quick in getting out that her feet hardly got wet.

 

Jasmin on the bed

Jasmin on the bed

 

Jasmin sometimes does naughty things, like climbing through the open bedroom window. There I found her one day lying on the cat quilt, which my best friend Ingrid made for me. She has become a great hunter and sometimes brings me a present. She climbs in the Catalpa tree over the garage roof to sit in front of the window of my workroom. She often brings little birds, lizards etc, to the office window.  If it still wiggles I try to save it but otherwise, I let her stay outside. With Cindy, she is the best of friends and with Sasha, she goes on hunting tours. Old Missu is not amused and wants to be left in peace.

 

A big white Lady from the U.S. comes to live here, Shugar

 

picking Shugar up at the airport

Picking Shugar up at the airport

 

When Michael moved to Spain in Aug. 2016, beside his car, motorbike, furniture and 150 boxes, also Shugar came along. She is a gorgeous looking completely white cat and deaf. She is too big so I sometimes call her Roly Poly but Michael insists she is Rubenesque. She lives upstairs in his workroom and gets her food there. She also has her own toilet and uses it often. It is very important to be informed about Cat Poop, A to Z of Cat Litter. She comes out nearly every day and has slowly but surely gotten used to the place.

 

Shugar in the garden

Shugar in the garden

 

My animals still do not understand why this white girl calls so often as they do not know she is deaf. There was a very critical time where we thought we might lose her. You can read about that in my post on Frontline. Be very conscious when you use this product, it is harmful to your pets, dog or cats. I hope I will always be able to have some fur friends in my life. They are the perfect antidote for when you are alone.

 

Source: my own life

Photo Source: Private

 

Perhaps you would like to read this nice story of Buddha.

Lovely Stories on the Buddha, Snails, and a Spider

Comments

Jessica

Hello Taetske,
I was completely absorbed reading the story of your life with cats! I love that it is written like a real book. The pictures are lovely! My newest addition is 14 years old and a calico. She looks a bit like your Missu. Hopefully she has a long life like Missu as well. She is “old” by normal cat standards for adoption (no one else wanted her!) but she is very spry and healthy. She has no stiffness or slowness in her at all. She can jump up high and is very affectionate and loving. When she is happy to get a love so starts drooling with job! We took her to the vet recently and she is very healthy. She likes to swallow her food whole without chewing. That made me worry there was something wrong with her mouth or teeth. The vet says she is fine though! She lived on cheap dry food in her previous home so maybe swallowing the food whole actually kep the food off her teeth and prevented tooth decay so common in cats that get an unnatural diet now.

Thank you for always taking car of kitties in need. We have 4 at the moment and all are rescues. They are all so affectionate and wonderful we can’t imagine how anyone got rid of them.

Jun 25.2018 | 09:16 pm

    Taetske

    Good Morning Jessica,

    Thank you for leaving this long comment on my website. I am always happy to talk to other cat lovers and hear their stories. Sasha has neither learned to eat his food nicely, he always gobbles. Could it be because he is a boy? fact is the girls have nicer manners I must say. Jasmin is a naughty pest and is always the first in teasing Sasha. They are quietly on the patio and then suddenly she jumps on him. Sasha then starts to pester back and Jasmin starts jelling as if she is being killed. Cindy has often interfered as she thinks it is getting too serious. Nobody ever got hurt though, it is more show. Jasmin often insists to sit on my lap when I am on the computer making working a bit difficult. What would we do without them?

    Regards, Taetske

    Jun 26.2018 | 06:26 am

Trevor

That is a beautiful story. I enjoyed every word. What magnificence is the cat! You have captured the pleasure of having cats.

Jun 26.2018 | 12:45 am

    Taetske

    Good Morning Trevor,

    Thank you for visiting my website and reading my post on cats. They can break your heart when they leave but the joy outweighs the sorrow. Having cats for the most part of my life I could actually write a book about it. Well, you never know I might do that one day.

    Regards, Taetske

    Jun 26.2018 | 06:16 am

Patsy

Hi Taetske,
You always have such interesting stories when I visit your website. This one was a pleasure to read and I like all the pictures. It’s great to see someone who loves cats so much. The rabbit that gave Bongo a whopper sure was smart, at least Bongo was ok after that incident. The cake story made me laugh! how your Mother made a new chocolate spead. I can imagine the look on her friend’s faces.

I really like the look of your 180 year old farm entrance, it doesn’t look like there would be a farm behind it. 20 cats back then is a lot at one time. The way all these cats end up with you is interesting. All the stories and memories, they are fortunate you took care of them, and saved the ones that you did. Seeing how long some lived and are still living shows the love and care they get and that’s special.

Patsy

Jun 29.2018 | 12:43 am

    Taetske

    Good Morning Patsy,

    Thank you for visiting my website and your kind comment. Cats are special animals and we seem to have a special connection. I could have filled my post with many more stories if I had wanted to but then it would have become a book. There once was a sad time in my life but being greeted by my animals even if the house was dark and empty helped a lot.

    Regards, Taetske

    Jun 29.2018 | 06:21 am

Juan

Hola, Taetske! Ahora sí he visto y leído por completo tu simpática historia de vida y lo de tus gatitos. Me ha gustado leer todo. Muchas gracias por compartirlo conmigo. Juan

Jul 08.2018 | 09:41 am

    Taetske

    Good afternoon Juan,

    Thank you for visiting my website. I can see you also like ” gatos ” just like I do. We are blessed to have these amazing animals in our life. I hope to see you again.

    Regards, Taetske

    Jul 08.2018 | 02:24 pm

James

Hello, Taetske,

What a lovely post you wrote about cats. I had no idea that you were so much into cats, and you also have a long history of these fluffy creatures going back quite a long time.
Yes, cats are really wonderful, and you can easily get very attached to them. From personal experience, I found that since not all cats are the same, with each one having a different character from the next, I tend to get attached to some more than others.
At the moment, we still have just the one cat, Rodger. Lately, he’s been rather confused as we’re doing some structural alterations to one of the rooms, and he’s not too happy about it. Seeing unusual faces, as well as hearing strange noises, has left him rather out of sorts, but we should be finished pretty soon so he’ll be back to his usual self…sleeping for eighteen hours a day LOL…
James

Jul 14.2018 | 11:25 pm

    Taetske

    Good afternoon James,

    Thank you for visiting my website. It is always nice to talk from one cat lover to the other. I think if a person does not like animals I better take a second look at this person before declaring to be their friend. Here on my farm, I am blessed with space and my animals can do what they like. Now in the summer they are extremely lazy during the warm day and try to find a cool and shady place somewhere. It is over 30 C during the daytime so they mostly sleep, hunting at night when it is cooler. I can understand your cat Rodger, from his point of view not happy with this human-caused upheaval in his world. I hope he will soon have peace and quiet again.

    Regards, Taetske

    Jul 15.2018 | 02:31 pm

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