Have you ever driven along a long dark highway, and in the rear vision mirror you can see other cars behind you, weaving along the road, their headlights bright as they follow you towards wherever you are going? It’s like that every time I go to feed the feral cats in the evening. I have my headlamp on. It is on a thick piece of elastic around my beanie (Australian for woolly hat). Yep, very attractive! But it means my hands are free to help climb over the wall and also put the food in the bowls, and fight any wolves that appear out of the darkness. That last bit was just to see if you were awake. There are no wolves here anymore, sadly.
Actually, I have always coveted a headlamp, and had an excuse to get one for exactly this purpose, and I am sure some of the many, many readers of this blog are feeling a little stab of envy, go on admit it! You know you want one and I know you can find a reason to secure one. They are very good value, made in China no doubt and cheap as chips.
Anyway, the eyes glow in the light and I can see many, many pairs of headlights following me in an enthusiastic but orderly fashion, on their way, single file, to the feeding stations.
We have changed our approach, so we feed dry food at night instead of canned food. This is because of foxes being spotted on the wildlife camera near the feeding stations and we figure that they’ll be less attracted by dry food than the saucy flavours of gravy laden canned food – which arrive late morning instead of at night. During the day, you never see a fox. They are asleep in the woods. The wolves were probably once sleeping in the same woods, before they were eradicated.
We’ve been here five weeks now, the longest in the ten years we’ve been coming here. Yes, we are really living here. But living here in a strange kind of way. Building work is all around, in fact we are living on a building site in reality. But the builders go off for siesta from 1.30 until 3.30 and as this is the nicest part of the day, if it’s sunny, we are all outside. That is, Adam, me and three of the four London cats – plus all the ferals. Three of the four because Zita is not at all sure about all of this country life quite yet.
And despite all the worry, the London 3 (at least) and the ferals are all fine together. They are curious about each other, but there is very little aggression, not that we have seen anyway. We are keeping the London lot inside at night, at least for now, and that means blocking the catflap because they really want to get out amongst it, except for Zita.
We let them out in the morning and it would appear that one of them trots over the way to our new (ancient, being renovated) house, in advance of the arrival of the builders, and relieves itself in a strategic position somewhere on the concrete floor. The builders draw my attention to this event every now and then. I say, well it must be a fox. They say no, it’s a cat. I say, must be a feral. They say, it’s only been happening since the London cats have been here. I shrug, they shrug. I think ‘Mizuki!’. And here she is. She is the eldest of our cats, and quite a character. Obviously.