We started with one, a grumpy possum-coloured stray with a broken squeaker named Q.
But outside, there were generations of barn cats. We didn’t want them to stick around, terrorising the wildlife and filling the world with more like themselves, so Liz began to tame them. She brought Brave and Shadow inside, but not before they had dalliances with the local stray tomcats. Shortly after they moved in, there was a pair of blessed events, and we were introduced to Pugsley, Gomez, Beaker, Bunsen, Honeydew and Janice.
Outside in the shed, the matriarch Rhea continued to entertain callers from among the tomcat community, leading to the arrival of new litters. The Olympians were Hades, Hera and Zeus. Before she disappeared, Hades had her Hellspawn, Otto and Sophie. Hera was eventually coaxed inside as well, along with her Four Horsecats of the Apocalypse, War, Famine, Pestilence and Death. Zeus came inside too. Rhea’s next litter was the Romans: Juno, Jupiter, Mars and Mercury, all of whom were too small to have kittens by the time we brought them in — but Mercury didn’t get that memo, so she provided us with The Scottish Cats: Toil, Trouble, Frog and Newt. Most recently then, Rhea had one more kitten, a boy named Pip.
He is inside now, but Rhea remains outside until we can convince her to relax enough to take a ride to the vet for the big snip.
Some of the cats died from an infectious illness that nearly all strays and ferals have and that can sometimes cause fatal results. But we’re keeping a watch on the rest, and so far they seem OK. With the recent disappearance of Hades, there is now only one cat outside — the proud and skittish Rhea. Inside, counting all the surviving cats, we have twenty six, which is quite enough.
Our plan is to find forever homes for nearly all the cats, including all the kittens. Some are simply too close to their feral nature to cope well with another change, and others we are far too fond of, but when we have completed our mission, Saint Dougal’s Home for Wayward Moggies will be rather less crowded — and less in need of donations. That day hasn’t come yet, but everything you can do to help will bring it closer.