Life on the steps
First of all, before I tell the story behind these images, let me rush to tell you the terrific news about Bambi from my last post... and thank you all SO much for sharing his plea. Bambi has as a matter of fact arrived in the States!! And not only that, right now he and one of his little friends from Lebanon are being fostered by a kind vet! You might remember Bambi had urgent intestinal issues and the latest I heard is that he won't be needing surgery. So just to those you you who would care to know. I'm so elated at this news.
On a personal note there's been a major shift in my life. I'm no longer physically in Greece - although my heart and soul is still there! Big changes are happening, but more about that some other time. Rebecca, my helper, has been put in charge, and all my cats are now safely and lovingly in her care until I get clarity about the future. I naturally miss my babies like... well, there's just no words for that. No words.
But still, it's been a busy summer in Greece and we have been involved and caught up in so many little lives on our way. Maybe you remember this particular group of cats which I wrote about back in May. This little white and black beauty is the girl Rebecca got smitten by. Because we now have such a lack of space and we can't compromise on the lives we've rescued already, we agreed to try and take care and look after these kittens as much as we could. They live across the island so it's not just a quick dash down the road.
Their lives actually tell a story of what it's like to be a Greek cat. This exemplifies a very typical setting. We first spotted this place when we wanted to go for a swim in this gorgeous spot. It's a small promenade in an old Venetian influenced part of town and with a spectacular view (when you jump in the water) looking up at a dramatic scenery with an impressive cobalt blue church dome in the middle.
So many people walk past these cats every day whilst making their way down to the promenade. There's no telling whether there will be kind hands and friendly words or whether there will be shoo's and trying to scare them out of the way (even though this is actually the home of the cats).
And yet, in the middle of this dramatic scenery this is the sweetness you will find of the steps.
As you can imagine, we've actually tended to just get lost in watching all their antics, cuteness and capturing tender moments like these.
Luckily still young enough to just play and be carefree.
Part of what makes it so typical is that this little group of cats actually have a "carer." Well, a carer to the extent he is able to according to Greek standards (where medical care doesn't come into the question). But these cats and kittens are cared for by a Greek pensioner - and widowed just last year - who we heard spends his entire pension each month on buying food for the cats.
He has created a little tucked away, to as much safety as possible, spot with a few beaten up boxes and plastic and where he (and some of his pensioner friends) leave their dinner scraps every day. It's obvious not all food are ideal for kitty tummies and certainly not kitten tummies, but you have to love this man for trying. We had a few days where some of the kittens disappeared. It's a complete mystery where they went to, but the old man was so distressed because he couldn't find the kittens. By now we've gathered that he actually brings down to safety discarded kittens, which he finds around town where he lives. And there are discarded kittens everywhere. Everywhere!
Maybe not the most sanitary situation, but still, it offers them life - and not least to know that they are cared for by someone.
We met the elderly chap one day and had a little chat about the mysterious disappearance of the kittens. In this image they had just appeared again and he was anxiously tucking them into safety in this little make-shift miniature plot of earth he's made for them along the steps. In town you can't consider them safe anywhere, so he is doing what he can here, trying to remove them from town people who do not, shall we just say, appreciate cats. Honestly, I really bless this gent for his heart and compassion even though it might not be our idea of perfect cat care.
We have never wanted to take away from the pleasure he gets on a daily basis feeding these cats and kittens but we have quietly slipped in some medical help and a better quality food for the kittens at other times of the day. Rebecca as an example rescued the two black and white kittens from complete blindness back in June whilst I was away for a couple of weeks. They both had developed a bad eye infection and there was no other way than going back and forth each day to make sure they had their eyedrops to save their eye sight. Because they're the most easy going of them all we've also been able to give them flea treatment. As a result of their well being they just own this space!
A full tummy and a fur coat all shined up by mummy cat... and all romped-out. This little guy can hardly keep his eyes open for the photographer!
One day I discovered this creamy beauty. He reminds me of Biscuit... I just adore this particular color (and we're talking major crush here!!) but I don't actually know what it's called. Does anyone know?? I call it cafe-latte :-)
He soon got the hang of just how smitten I was, so he decided to charm me off my butt! I spite of terribly timid he jumped up in a tree and just melted me...
A real little cute play for the keen photographer...
Is this cute enough??
How about now?
And one of the all-cleared-up-eyes black and white babies wanting in on the photo play up the trees. Shall we pull out the adoption papers?? He's terribly cute too, don't you think?!
And finally back to the two little white and black kittens where it all began back in May - on these very steps. These two really caught our attention because of their special eye color combination - one blue and one amber. Above it's the boy - he's cute and cheeky...
And the girl, Rebecca's tiny infatuation. Several people have been eying up this little girl this summer. She's a real beauty but very timid (probably the only reason she's still here). Rebecca has spent some time building trust with her and the most recent news is that she has bee able to pick her up for a cuddle.
These feral cats live strangely privileged. Not the ultimate according to our standards and yet they have so much more than what most can hope for.
I still have the vision for a big cat sanctuary for the cats on this island. Even though we have come to accept a whole lot less on behalf of the cats we meet on our way, we still have a longing on their behalf. Of course you can't but live with the feeling that they all deserve a loving home and the best medical care.
I hold onto that vision.