My friends know me as a cat person. Always have had at least one as a pet, but that ended when I started traveling. It would not be fair to take in a pet when I don’t plan on staying in a place too long. But I do miss having one around, so I make do with what is available.
At Smiling Hill, we have numerous cats roaming around. Some are semi-owned by the Indonesians living here, some are homeless. Most have stubby tails, if any tail at all. A genetic defect, I suspect, caused by inbreeding.
As I take my daily walk around the complex (I call the laps “Hilltoppers” because of the steep grade that makes up half the walk.), I encounter a number of the local felines and usually try to make friends with them. It’s a slow process, but now there are a handful that will let me approach and pet them a bit. My “kitty fix” for the day, albeit too brief.
I’ve even started given them names. There’s Bruiser, a black and white who is the biggest cat around and looks like he’s been in a hundred brawls. There’s Pool Cat, another black and white who seems to own the inside-the-pool territory and often gets some of my scraps during dinner. There’s a calico who is pregnant (again) and has always been friendly, offering me the back of her neck when I approach.
Then there are the couple who stay around the office area. The female, a calico, I call Little Mama. She had a litter about when I arrived. Only one kitten made it but she always brought her around to the office front door to play and I managed to get the kitten to let me pick it up and pet it (after several feeding sessions). Unfortunately, the kitten disappeared. But now Little Mama is pregnant again. So I’ve been feeding her in the hopes that the next litter will have more success than the last.
These cats eat whatever they can find or the food scraps left out for them by the locals – rice and vegetables mostly, and fish and chicken bones. When the kitten was alive, I bought some real cat food and was feeding her that, and still have a lot left over. (BTW, cat food is expensive here. They must import it.)
Despite all the feeding, Little Mama will never let me get near her except when she is eating, and then it’s just a very cautious back petting that is allowed. Her partner is a gentle orange tailless tabby (no name yet) and the two of them are adorable, rubbing heads and bodies together all the time like lovestruck juveniles. The male hangs around my door and I think the neighbors feed him. He likes to sleep in the foot rest area of one of the motorbikes parked outside my apartment. (FYI, I have locals living right next door to me. There place looks pretty rudimentary from what I can tell but they are pleasant enough to me.)
Yesterday, both Little Mama and her mate were outside my door when I got off work. I should mention that the female is a talker, especially when she wants to eat. Anyway, when I walked in the downstairs door, the male decided to follow me up the stairs, so I decided to get some food. By the time I had poured some into a dish, they were both inside my apartment. I spent the next 10 minutes watching them devour dry cat food. They ate everything I put out, gentle nudging each other’s head away as they tried to gather every bite. And then they scurried down the stairs.
The next day, Little Mama let me pet her.