It is now autumn here in Proendos, and as it's at 460 meters above sea level, in the hills of the Mountains of Leon, the mornings are misty and cold. Any wildlife, including the feral cats of the place, stays hidden or asleep, apart from a few birds. Once the sun has risen, the place warms up immediately, the birds come out en masse, and the cats that we feed slowly start to appear stretching and rubbing the sleep out of their eyes. They are normally provided with dry food, and then maybe later on selectively given wet food, depending on who is around. For instance, there is a very old female who has been visiting since the first year we were here, who needs special treatment, as the younger females chase her away. There seems to be no social cohesion if there is not an immediate family tie, and competition for feeding rights here is quite fierce, despite the fact that old Tortipizza was here when we first renovated this old falling down farmhouse. She was fixed by us as well, which probably accounts for the fact that she is still alive after 6 or 7 years. There is now a younger kitten version of her here, who we have called Torti mini me, and the other night I saw her growling and showing off a mouse she had caught to the other cats, and perhaps us. So Tortipizza's genes are going forward, and indeed she did used to be pregnant all the time, although her particular coloring seems to have been skipped a couple of generations. We did a major campaign of neutering a couple of years ago, and the cat population noticeably dropped, even according to the Galician people who have always lived here. Some of the cats we helped out then have disappeared, eaten by foxes during the winter according to the locals, but Tortipizza is the great old survivor, and so we will continue giving her special attention, as she is the unwelcome grandmother of them all!
Adam and Janey, London and Lugo