THE TRUE STORY OF FELLA & DITTO
..One evening, about a month after Fella's death, I saw his mother back on the terrace. She seemed hungry, so I started leaving some food for her. As she was quite feral, I used to put the food down and go back inside to allow her to eat. After a couple of days I realized the she was eating more, and finishing faster, than one cat normally would, so I decided to observe quietly through a crack in the door. That evening she came again for the food as soon as it was dark.. and with her was something that gave me the shock of my life: it was Fella!
I rubbed my eyes in disbelief and my hair stood on end.. what was going on?? Was I hallucinating? No I wasn't.. there he was in the flesh, hungrily gobbling up the food next to his mother.
After I got over my shock, I began to reason. It then dawned on me that there had been three kittens in the litter, two black and one white-and-ginger. The mother had somehow managed to protect this third one and, I later discovered, kept him hidden under the water tank at the far end of the roof. Now that he was big enough, she was teaching him to come out of hiding after dark and hunt for food.. which in this case was the food I left out every evening.
This one, though he looked like Fella, was very different. While Fella right from the beginning was friendly, this one, being only in the company of his mother who herself was wild and feral, was terrified of humans and would spit and run away at any hint of approach. But I continued to leave food for him as his mother was obviously weaning him from her milk and there was nothing else he could eat.
Him we named, naturally, Ditto.
Two weeks later, his mother had abandoned him altogether. He still didn't know how to get off the roof and look for food, and he was exposed to the elements. One night it rained quite heavily and Di and I worried over how Ditto was exposed.. the water tank would protect him from getting directly under the rain, but it still would get wet underneath there. Should we bring him home? But how to catch him? Then there was the question of our other three cats.. Pooch, Biff and Ickle.. cats who've grown up in your house usually are very hostile to new arrivals.. they get very insecure and upset, and males in particular will start spraying around the house to mark their territory. And Biff (short for 'Bigfoot', because he has deformed front paws) was a male. Ultimately we decided Ditto should come home. He was Fella's twin brother, after all. The job of catching him was left to the maidservant and the watchman at my office.. bad decision, because they almost killed him while trying to pin him down, he struggled so fiercely.
Anyway, it's nearly a year now since Fella died and Ditto came to live with us. It took me nearly two weeks to get friendly with Ditto, but he is now one of us, and every bit as sweet-natured as his brother. He is a handsome cat (species: Havana), though not stunning like his brother, and still very timid around other human beings, unlike his brother.
So God did answer Di's prayer.
And we finally discovered what Fella's mission in his brief little life was. It was because of him that Di came into contact with the People For Animals (PFA), an animal welfare organization. And through her experience with the PFA, Di has grown into a committed animal welfare activist in her own right. And after Fella, we never ignore an abandoned, sick or wounded animal. We now have seven (correction, ten) cats living with us, and we feed another five (correction, twenty) neighbourhood strays.. and the neighbourhood stray dog, Fluffy (correction, Soxi, Jemima, Josi, Pixie, Rani and Trixie have been added now) as well.. every morning and evening. We've rescued and cared for dozens of them.. cats, dogs, squirrels, even a magnificent barn owl..
Fella gave his life so that that compassion and commitment could be born in us, so that many, many helpless, abandoned, wounded or starving animals could be saved and find protection. That was, we now know, Fella's mission in his brief little life.
And God gave us Ditto to help ease our pain.
2006 - 2011 - We have now established an organisation, The Cattitude Trust which, currently, has under its care and protection over 65 (correction, 200 +) animals
© 2003 - 2011 planet-lynx.com and the author