Please do not read further if you think hearing about the sad end to one of the cats will upset you.
The well - which was really just a very deep hole (10-15 feet deep I would guess) - was close to our property but not on it; indeed it was on communal land around which were abandoned and ruinous houses, so responsibility for it was unclear.
The reason I use the past tense is because the hole is no more and will not be claiming any further lives. We hired a guy with a digger to come and fill it on Friday. By then, due to a huge amount of rain, it was half full of water and we had spotted the poor cat, dead in the water.
We had been trying to get something done about this obvious danger to animals and humans alike for years, but when we spoke to neighbours the responses were vague. Some man had dug it many, many years ago (at least 60 years ago) and it was used as a well to water the vegetable gardens near it, but it was often dry and was basically a failure. He had not built a stone or brick wall around it or capped with any kind of lid, as all the other wells in the village have. It had just been left, as a steep-sided death trap.
We had never noticed any animals in it. We thought (and hoped) it was unlikely anything would fall in. Surely they would sense it was there, we thought.
Anyway, the absolute worst has happened.
Now the hole is gone. I had to negotiate with various neighbours who, while they do not own the land it was on, and the man who dug the thing is long dead, have some rights given adjacent properties. Our builders who were here last week took trailer after trailer-load of soil and stones from the bottom of our current renovation project, carted it around the village and dumped it in the hole.
Then the backhoe man came on Friday afternoon and he and his machine spent a good hour and a half lifting the rocks, that had been put to the side when it was originally dug, back into it, and then more earth. Finally, you wouldn't know it had ever been there.
Her name was going to be TortiMiniMo, and I had taken her to be neutered last November with her sister.
Adam and I are both devastated, and our neighbour Josefa as well. She had seen her every day at mealtimes, until she suddenly didn´t show up. She was such a sweet little cat, and it's not fair that she had such an end.
So, we have made the area as safe as we can. And we remind ourselves that these are feral cats who live a wild life which has a wonderful side to it - but that their lives are hard, and there are dangers. Mortal and horrible.
Rosa, our neighbour, told me yesterday that there is another very young 'pintada' (painted - in other words with calico or butterfly cat markings) kitten running around the village.
So I guess we could say, the butterfly cat is dead. Long live the butterfly cat.
But we say it with extremely heavy hearts.