Although they are not just for Christmas, it really was meant to be for only a few weeks. I swear. The intention was always there. Until she was old enough. Old enough for what? I don’t know...
When I talked to one of my guests about Squeaky recently (needless to say that she does have her own facebook page...), they asked how many did I have? Alarmed I wondered if I was starting to display the signs of a crazy cat lady already…. Only one, just one, I replied….
This whole kitty business started when four little fluffs literally fell out of the ceiling in our shared office here in Siem Reap. Their mother wasn’t in sight at that time. She never made it back and nor did the three weak kittens who we just couldn’t keep alive despite our best combined efforts. Nothing replaces mum’s warm fur and steady flow of milk. What we had was straws, cow milk and not a lot of knowledge how to tend to two week old abandoned kittens.
And so mother nature played her cruel role once again, survival of the fittest in plain sight. What I saw that day was a tiny disheveled skinny creature behind glass doors, standing on her back legs, front paws outstretched, screaming for her chance of survival with her last sibling dead next to her. My heart broke and she came home with me that evening in a tiny basket. There is not a doubt that with her two paws in the grave she would not have made it through the night.
I never planned to have pet(s) in Cambodia. It’s a huge responsibility, they limit one’s freedom and with the transient nature of our expats’ community, nobody is able to put an accurate label on the length of their planned stay. But that’s just an excuse anyway, isn’t it? Can those of us who love animals be responsible pet owners here for at least some time before our turn to leave the Kingdom of Wonder comes? Is it better to give creatures loving and safe home for at least some time of their life rather than leave them to fend for themselves in the wide open? To have them neutered and vaccinated? A question for a long debate, no doubt. However, at times of rescue these serious questions are pushed aside and replaced by more pressing issues: will she make it through the night?
And so Squeaky was (re)born. Huge blue eyes, protruding belly, skinny legs, almost full tail with only a small kink at the end of it and broken whiskers. Estimated two or three weeks old maximum. Fed by a tiny bottle purchased in Angkor Market (one really has to wonder what gems they stock!) and eventually kitty pouches full of mashed up fish, she grew slowly losing the smell of sour milk. Biting and goofing all along and doing so still.
Now the whiskers have grown back and kitty doesn’t fit into the palm of anyone’s hand anymore. She smells fresh, like straw and summer. Sweet sweet kitty….. But... my arms look like I have been self harming for years. The reality is that kitty has sank a few teeth and claws into my flesh while playing rough as torties do. And I tease her so it's almost half deserved.
She’s been fully vaccinated and now is on the waiting list to have her lady bits taken out to prevent any more kitties being born should she manage to escape the fortress of my apartment one day. I pray to gods of fur that her kitty desires don’t overtake her before the spaying can be done.
I was once somebody who would turn her nose up at people letting their animals sleep in bed with them and suddenly I find something soft and furry pressing against my bum at night, keeping me warm. Warmer that I would need or want to be. Only when the cat (and the ants) have been fed can the kettle be put on the boil in the morning. Something somewhere went wrong and all control has been lost.
My collection of Sakura nicknacks is diminishing and the kitchen cupboard is becoming bare - well sort of. Some items were broken and some removed as prevention. Cat owners will understand that prevention is better than breakage. We are finally getting to the point, see? Thanks to my cat I am becoming an involuntary minimalist.
Hoarding breakables just make no sense and I am learning the hard way. I still think, though, that having working lights DOES make perfect sense but the cat thinks otherwise, light now shattered, hint of glee in kitty’s eyes… Mind you, I could have misinterpreted it for all I know. She could have been saying how very sorry she was for being clumsy…..
She likes showers (thanks to ambitious parents’ training), kitchen sponges, biting all extremities of the human body, tissues, brooms and mops, plastic bags and all bags really, anything string related, hair ties, meowing at corners, running around like a crazy rabbit, blueberry yoghurt pots to lick and suckling on bedsheets in the morning. And fish, lots of fish.
It’s a funny furry daughter of mine with golden green eyes and catitude and it’s hard to imagine my life without her. Awwwww. Crazy cat lady you say? I am half way there and proud of it!
anna bella betts
Never still, always on the move, looking for the perfect capture... Cambodia is currently my home, presenting endless opportunities....
In this blog you will find no profound wisdom.
Just accounts of daily life, sometimes about photography, often about wine, occasionally about travel adventures and sometimes about nothing at all.