A couple of days ago, I was standing at the kitchen sink, absent-mindedly washing the dishes and gazing out at the front garden, when I glimpsed a movement near the rickety old garden bench under the frangipani tree.
Was that a cat sitting on our bench?
Yes, indeed. It was a tiny little ginger cat. It looked like it was just a couple of months old, and rather too young to be roaming around the neighbourhood on its own. Its eyes were blissfully closed, as it contentedly absorbed the warmth of the mid-morning sun. It looked so cute, that I didn’t want to disturb it, so I continued with my household chores.
A couple of hours later, I peeped through the kitchen window again, but it had disappeared off the bench, which was now in the shadow of the house. Figuring that it had left, I went into the front garden to water the new flowering plants that we’ve put in; with the hot weather and the incessant wind, the soil tends to dry out very quickly and so the new plants need a bit of extra TLC.
Unrolling and tugging the hosepipe across the lawn to reach the flowerbeds, I thought I saw something between the large sword-shaped leaves of the agapanthus, which surround the base of the frangipani tree.
A startled pair of eyes peered out from between the leaves at me; the little ginger kitty-cat was clearly terrified of being discovered. Humming and talking very softly and gently, I pretended to ignore it, and began to water the flowers… all the while keeping one eye on the aggies. Ever so often, I could see a pair of big eyes watching me closely.
Once the flower beds had been sufficiently soaked, I carefully rolled up the hosepipe again, moving deliberately slowly and calmly, so as not to terrify our feline visitor any further. Filling the large plastic watering can made such a racket, however, that I must have chased the little one away, because I couldn’t see it anymore when I walked past the aggies with the red watering can.
Disappointed, I began to water the marigolds on the edge of the driveway – they are too far away to reach with the hosepipe, so they have to be watered with the watering can.
Oh! The little cat was hiding behind the large wheelie-bin in the corner next to the marigolds!
When I inadvertently got too close, it raced back across the driveway and hid among the aggies once more. Oh dear… It obviously didn’t want to be friends.
Shortly afterwards, Hubbs came home from work, and I told him about the little ginger kitty-cat hiding in our aggies. We could see its big pointy ears, and its big round eyes, and its twitching whiskers.
“I wonder whose it is? Perhaps our neighbours have adopted another cat for Christmas?”
We called our friendly neighbours; no, they hadn’t adopted a new cat, but M came over immediately to have a look in case he happened to know where it came from. The three of us stood at the edge of the garden, looking at the little ginger kitty-cat, which was looking straight back at us, still hiding among the aggies.
“I wonder if it’s hungry. Shall I give it some milk?”
I approached very cautiously, gently placed a shallow pudding bowl with some milk on the grass next to the bench, and retreated to the edge of the garden. Kitty-cat emerged from the aggies, sniffing cautiously at the milk, and then proceeded to lick that bowl so clean that not even the tiniest driplet of milk remained.
“I think it must be hungry. I’ll give it some of Tuffy’s kibbles.”
Kitty-cat polished those off too. And it lapped up a bit of water from a second bowl, before scampering back into the aggies.
By now it was getting dark, so M returned next door, we prepared our supper, and left another small bowl of kibbles for our adorable little visitor. A late night foray into the garden by torchlight to check up on the little ginger kitty-cat left us uncertain as to whether it had left or whether it was still in hiding.
The next morning, I awoke to the sound of the irrigation system spraying the front garden – oh no! The cat!
It was gone. And we haven’t seen it since. I wonder whether it has returned to its home, or whether it is still roaming the neighbourhood, looking for a new place to stay?