On Saturday, (see here if you wish)I posted about the disappearance of one of the cats I've been feeding in the city.
On Sunday we stopped at the shop where the above cat had been living with her kitten, but had gone missing on Friday. I wanted to ask the shopowner to return my can-opener. After greeting him, I asked him if the cat was here and to my surprise, he said yes. Going to the back of the shop, he beckoned me to follow him. He pulled a chest deep freeze away from the wall and began to lift empty soft drinks crates from behind it. He lifted one, then two and finally three crates.Then he bent down and handed me the kitten which was meowing pitifully. I leaned over the freezer and there was the mother cat lying on bare concrete. Looking closely at the kitten, I saw that one eye was crusted closed. I dashed back to the vehicle, where my darling husband was once again, waiting patiently, and told him the cats were back. I collected the cotton wool, eye ointment and the small bottle of milk I had for the cat at the vegetable stalls.
Entering the shop again, the shopowner, who told me his name was Amir, was behind the counter serving customers. I swabbed the kitten's eye with the milk and applied the ointment. By this time a young woman had entered the shop and I heard Amir asking her if she spoke English. She nodded and when he pointed to me, she came to the back of the shop. When I asked her to ask Amir where the cat had come from, she just looked at me and said OK, OK, which turned out to be the extent of her English vocabulary. Eventually she left, giggling furiously.
Meanwhile, I gestured to Amir that I was moving the cat back to her nest behind the fridge. I asked him for water for her bowl and also asked him to open the can of tuna I had paid for on Friday. The mother cat ate some of the food and then settled back into her nest. I placed the kitten at a teat and he started suckling immediately.
By now, Amir had, between serving customers, called in a tall lad with a broom in his hand. He seemed to speak a little more English so I told him to tell Amir that I am just helping him feed the cat. I don't want to harm him or his cat. In fact, I buy the tuna from his shop, which is fed to the cat, and my husband also buys our water there every week. When he translated this, Amir seemed relieved. Here I need to interject that I am sorry I thought Amir was without integrity. It transpires that he was nervous when the cat went missing on Friday that he looked all over for it. He obviously found it nearby.
I was trying to explain to him not to "cage" the cat behind the freezer without food or water when a tall, distinguished-looking Arab gentleman entered the shop. I turned to him and asked if he could speak English, to which he replied "Of course". I told the story of the cats and that I was only helping the shopowner; I wasn't laying any claim to the cats. He interpreted this to Amir, who looked much happier. Then the gentleman smiled and said, "Perhaps we can put a small box filled with sand down for the cat" Wow! This is exactly what I had in mind, except how would I have gotten that across to Amir and the helpful lad-with-the-broom. (Imagine the gesturing and posturing I'd have to adopt to convey this without words?LOL)
Thanking the English-speaking gentleman and paying Amir for tuna until I returned on Wednesday, I left the shop. I pray that the cat remains in her nest and doesn't try to leave again.
Next we stopped at the vegetable stall but as I alighted from the vehicle, the old vendor said: "Missus, la-la" As I approached him, he said, "Kadissa, la-la" (Cat, no-no) It transpired that the cat has either died or being killed by the dogs behind the stalls. Oh well, obviously there is nothing more I can do for the poor creature.
The cat in our courtyard continues to bloom. She is very pregnant but still very wild. I can't think where she will have her kittens. We'll just wait and see...