One of his very first "real" meals.
Yes, this is of course what I was talking about as the special treat for you! The very newest and teensy little member of this garden colony - his name is Twinkle. And yes... there's a story behind why he is all on his own - apart from mommy kitty.
A timid little look for the adoring photographer.
A while back I met a French women who has lived here for many years. She said that what she loved most about the place here is that it is so beautiful in a brute (said with a French accent!) kind of way. And it's very true. Where I personally see and feel it most is with the animals. It's survival of the fittest. When you come from a more - shall we call it culturally civilised place, it's oh so difficult to not get your emotions tangled up in that particular kind of "theatre".
Well, Twinkle started out with 3 or 4 siblings. I knew they were somewhere within the vicinity of our garden, because it's the same kitty mom that fostered Tiny and Ninja (they've even got the same father). She never let me in on where she hid them until one evening of torrential rain (which we've had a lot of in recent time). It was a noisy evening with strong winds and heavy rain. Suddenly through all the noise I heard this distinct high pitched cry. I instantly knew something was wrong - mommy kitty wouldn't bring the kittens nearby because of all the other cats in the garden. And yet... I didn't doubt what this sound was. I grabbed a torch light and flew out the door and went towards where the noise came from. Suddenly I saw this wee little thing dropped on a slope not far from a caravan in the garden (we keep little compartments open for the cats to sleep and seek refuge during cold weather). It was completely and utterly rain-battered and had clearly not yet learned to walk. It was actually a highly distressing situation... kitty mommy was obviously in the middle of some desperate rescue mission of her litter - they were probably getting drowned whereever it was she had made her den. She had such a wild and manic look in her eyes that I couldn't even recognise her to begin with.
- and a little wash after the tasty meal.
Well, I quickly got my husband involved. He listened out for more cries whilst I dried and tucked the first kitten in an empty compartment with blankets. Suddenly there was another faint cry and with no time to spare we both jumped over fences across neighboring fields. Eventually we spotted kitty mom with another kitten in hear mouth... I knew it was too far for her to carry it without taking way too long to go for the rest of her kittens so I deliberately followed her letting her know I would carry it to safety. She eventually dropped it and when she saw I'd brought it to safety she went off once again.
Mmm... maybe it's time for a little nap.
After she'd brought the 3rd rain-battered kitten to safety, she actually jumped inside the compartment and we thought it was time to leave her alone. We'd dried them as well as we could - and we actually each sat with a wet and very cold kitten under our shirt to keep them warm, whilst kitty mom went to get the 3rd kitten. When we heard her approach we quickly tucked the kittens back in and left as soon as she seemed to settle.
Ooh yum... a wash from momma.
The next few days the weather was warm and sunny and I kept my fingers crossed that she would keep them in there even though I doubted it with all the many cats around. Yes, as you can imagine... I was very fond of the idea that she kept them just there where I could observe them from a small distance. But alas...
... and to finish it all off with a bit of milk, bliss.
Two days later there was suddenly a small cry again... and it became evident she was in the middle of finding them another place to hide. I badly wanted to bring them back but realised it was natures way. A week went by and I didn't see any signs of kittens. Another week went by and suddenly one evening one kitten was sat in one of the boxes where some of the younger cats normally sleep. I had a horrible sinking feeling that it might be the last one. This happened twice - it appeared in the box and was removed again. I believe it was kitty mommas way of letting me know that she was going to raise it in the garden with the other young cats (Tiny, Ninja, Benji - well and not so young Mr. Moggles) - and could I please start feeding it some proper food.
This has gone on for a few days now - Twinkle has his own little bowl tucked under some of the wild flowers a little bit away from the bigger cats until he gets used to them and they get used to him. I do so hope he makes it. He is a bit vunerable being on his own when kitty mom takes a little roam around, but hopefully the young cats will realise he is no threat to them. He sure has the potential to become the new little mascot around here.