…..the day we went to [Scarborough]. I appreciate that the title will be lost on our younger listeners …. but it was the song playing through my head as we drove up to take Tabbytha & Mowse to their new home. Since their kittens have been old enough to be independent (if you discount them trying it on still breastfeeding from Mowse when they’re almost as big as her) we’ve been looking for a suitable home for them. At one stage I’d hoped that they might settle and become house cats, but although they gained quite a lot of confidence whilst they were here having their babies it would have taken a very very special home to give them a chance as ‘pets’.
I was anxious about getting it right for them, especially as I’m much more used to doing homechecks than barn/stable checks. A few people voiced an interest in employing them as rodent control experts but for various reasons it wasn’t quite right. Then a woman with a stable near Scarborough messaged us. It was clear from the start that this was the right thing. Whilst we appreciate that there are desperate numbers of feral cats needing safer outdoor homes and many kind people offering such, these girls have been special to us, we wanted something special for them, and we found it. The fact that they were going back to their roots in North Yorkshire (you might remember they came from Richmond North Yorks) was even better.
I laid awake Saturday night worrying about how to get them into their carriers. I felt confident I could get Mowse into the queen cage ……. but we only had one queen cage …and Tabbytha likely to be more difficult to ‘catch’ so maybe we should usethe queen cage for her ….. but then which other carrier to use to get Mowse? And which one to try to catch first? The logistics of it all ran round and round my head on nights when I couldn’t sleep. The reality on Sunday morning was that I put a piece of chicken into an ordinary cat carrier, Tabbytha walked in to eat it, I closed the door. Job done. Mowse and the Queen cage on the other hand, took quite a while. Maybe she’d been spooked by Tabs being caught. Thankfully a facebook message conversation with their adopter, thinking about acting as though you had all the time in the world with animals, even when you didn’t, helped quite a bit. Mowse was eventually in her carrier and good to go.
Here they are on the back seat of the car, carriers strapped in with seat belts, facing each other so they know they’re still together, feliway sprayed over them before being covered with a blanket. It amused my work colleagues that my plan for the weekend was to take a couple of feral cats to the seaside. It was less amusing when they began their rendition of a medley of North Yorkshire feline laments ….. sung in two part disharmony as we approached the A1.
Further disharmony developed as Seamus the SatNav and I fell out. I’d been thinking that for Scarbro we’d go A1, A64, but just by chance my lorry driver friend popped up on facebook messages on Saturday night and advised about traffic, roadworks and suggested a different route. So we set off to follow her route, despite Seamus being convinced that A64 was the best plan. At each junction, just above the noise of the feline serenade came the voice of Seamus grumbling “turrrrn around when possible”. Somewhere just beyond Bridlington I swear I heard him slam his map book shut and pour himself a large whiskey.
Finally we arrived at the stables. The woman who had offered them a home was every bit as lovely as I’d hoped, and more so. The stable was purrfect, several times as much space as the girls had had whilst here with us. It had been secured so that they couldn’t get out until they’re properly settled – her dad had been round and made sure of that.
We let them out the carriers, and Mowse ran up the walls just as she had done when they arrived here. As they settled a little and found the hiding places they called to each other and rubbed their heads together once they found each other.
I’d been hoping it would be ok just to stop for a little while, make sure they were ok …. and …er … maybe use a loo somewhere since we were in the middle of nowhere (city person’s perspective). It turned out so much better than that. I got introduced to the horses and sheep that the girls will share their space with.
And then back to the house for lunch! What a lovely kind invitation. I got to meet the rest of the family who would be caring for our mummies, to meet their lovely chickens and more sheep, and to see the amazing gypsy caravans and carts they’d built.
Such a lovely family …. they completely understood that as far as we’re concerned there’s aren’t “just ferals” …they’re our precious girls. So before I set off on return journey we went back to the stables to check on them again.
Mowse was around but soon disappeared when she heard us. Tabbytha kept a very low profile. I was confident that they would be fine with these lovely kind people, and started the journey home, with an angry Seamus who was even less happy when I ignored his suggestions and detoured via Filey for a walk on the beach.