Picture the scenario – Arrive at a lovely house in San Teodoro (in a cul de sac) to hear my husband exclaiming –oh no – when he looked out into the back garden. I wandered out to see what was out there to find a young very thin black mother cat followed by four very young kittens (aged about 7 weeks). This was not good – I was in the middle of preparing our evening affettati which was then fed to the cats instead of my husband! Next morning trip to supermarket to buy cat food. On our way back met the Italian couple staying in the house 2 doors down – felt so relieved that they were feeding the cats but my heart dropped when they told us they were leaving two days after us as they lived in the north of Italy. They were worried because there was no one else to look after these poor kits as these were all holiday homes and the season was over.
That then became my project for the holiday – what to do. I first went to the vet who unfortunately could not really help I then went on the internet to see if Easyjet would be able to fly them home – no luck. I then Google searched ‘Saving Sardinian cats’ and up popped the website www.romneyhousecatrescue.org.uk I took down the number (which was an English tel number) and then phoned the next morning. This lovely (sleepy) lady answered and immediately put my mind at rest to say she was actually coming out to Sardinia on the Wednesday and if I could meet her in Alghero town if we could manage to catch all kits and bring them to her. Okay that problem solved, now how to catch them.
Meanwhile was feeding them morning, noon and night and they were starting to trust us. Went back to the Vet who kindly lent me a cat carrier but I already knew it was going to be too small. Started to stop people walking their dogs, who were all very kind but no one had anything bigger. Starting to despair again but heard from the neighbour that a lady down at the local bar worked in a dog rescue centre in Olbia. Headed over there and she kindly said she would bring one back the next morning. This she did- it was huge. We took it back to the house and tried to acclimatise the kits by leaving it in the kitchen and putting their food in it. The little kittens took to it quite well but the mother was suspicious, it probably had a doggy smell.
The morning arrived for us to catch all of the kits. My stomach was tied in knots as the next day we would be going back to England so this had to work. We woke up at 6.15 to find that there was only the mother and one of the kittens in the garden. I went looking for them and called them and I thought all was lost but finally they all appeared about an hour later. I stood in the kitchen with a long piece of rope attached to the door of the cage while Mike hid outside round the corner to trap all the kits in the kitchen if any escaped. Well what happened to well thought out plans – we only ended up catching one in the large dog holder, the mother and two other kittens were loose round the house and one escaped into the garden. What to do now – whilst listening to all the cats inside the house crying with fright I tried to play (with my bikini string) with the kitten in the garden –miraculously this worked and finally trapped it in the smaller cat holder. Next we tried to catch the kittens loose in the house – oh my god they are very wriggly and strong but managed that job. Finally the biggest of them all, the mother, trapped in our bathroom. Went to get help from our Italian neighbours, he came reluctantly. My hubby told me to turn the cage longways up and there was a lot of screaming but he managed to trap her in a large towel and stuffed her in head first. As a nice thank you she bit him hard on his hand.
Forgot to mention that when we hired the car it was supposed to be a Renault Clio or equivalent but kindly (or should I say premeditavely) we ended up with a Golf – thank goodness – as the trap just managed to fit through the door. After having mild heart attacks, we bundled ourselves in and drove to Alghero. The kits were silent probably in shock but we had covered the cages so they were in the dark. Once we got there we found the town centre and met up with Silvana, I nearly fell into her arms. She decided that as the kits were traumatised it was better to take them straight to her property.
Oh what a surprise this place was. Full of cats in various stages of wellbeing and three gorgeous dogs. For anyone who loves animals it almost wanted to make you cry seeing so many of them needing a home. Silvana and her team of workers both in Sardinia and England do such good work, I hope anyone reading this will contribute in some way.
I later found out that Sally (as we called the mum) had been sterilised and was doing very well and the kittens had trashed one of the bedrooms. At least I brought them up well. I hopefully will visit in the near future and I hope they all find homes.