Sunday, September 20, 2009

Whiskers on Kittens

P1010645

Where have all the cats of Fornillo gone?

In our area of Positano, the alleys between villas were a haven for the whiskered felines. Huddled together behind corners, cats and their litters would scatter briefly as someone came down stairs or dodge feet by clinging to the wall’s side in the alley behind Pensione Maria Luisa . There would always be a pair of eyes watching nervously from the top of the walled garden and a handful of fluffy kittens in nestled in the fragrant clump of night-scented Bella di Notte (Clavillia). Tiny ears would be visible in drain pipes under steps and the more courageous or semi -domesticated would follow me all the way home hoping for a tidbit or lick from a tuna can. Usually there was no hope of patting them back.

These were cats born and bred in our gardens. Mouse hunters extraordinares, their mothers would wait patiently in the dark night on our terrace for the rodents to wander past so that a lesson in catching a meal could take place. The scrawny ‘skin and bones’ look to a cat would alert me to a litter badly in need of nourishment and I’d entice the kittens up from the abandoned gardens dangling strings of spaghetti before them. Kittens were sometimes so tiny that their heads would fit right inside yogurt pots and in their hunger, they would forget their fear of humans, to lick my fingers, after I’d hand fed them. Their purring was my reward.

Our gardens in our house in Positano were the throughway for the cats. They’d take the deep stairwell down the hill on the side of the house, and after a jolly jaunt across the terrace take our private stairs into our lower garden and then into the terraced lemon groves below.

P1000227P1000228P1000229

These were wary cats that wasted no opportunity. Terrace doors left open were an invitation to come inside.

P1000230 P1000232

And if you turned your back a moment, they would. And quite likely pee in the dogs basket as this one did.

But I miss the cats. These were free spirited beings belonging to no one but themselves. They are now few and far between. There is not one cat in the alleyway and I rejoiced when I saw a mother with her two kittens this summer in our garden as its become such rare a sight.

It seems that someone at Positano is poisoning the cats in the Fornillo area. A hand written notice posted on the wall at the Fornillo Grotta area earlier this year asked the person responsible to refrain from doing it but the cats have all but gone.

And when the cats are away, the mice will play.

Technorati Tags: ,,,

13 comments:

Leanne in Italy said...

My gosh - are people really poisioning the cats? How cruel...there are so many of them here, but you see always bowls of food left out for them, or the women who go around every night feeding them.

Miss Footloose said...

Poisoning cats, what a nasty thing to do. And you are right, the mice might become a problem, or who knows, what else. When I lived in Yerevan, Armenia, there were stray cats everywhere, but people would leave food out for them because they kept the rats away.

Lucia said...

Definitely an evil thing to do!

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Oh, what a horrible and cruel thing to do. I hope this person is found.

cathi said...

that is so awful..i truly hope that the person is found and dealt with appropriately! Beautiful pictures of the kittens!

Gil said...

Poisoning them is the worse thing I've ever heard! I have a neighbor that tries to catch them and then takes them to a Vet for shots and neutering. After that she tries to find families to adopt a cat or two. We adopted a wild (feral) cat six years ago and he is still very leary of people.

Laura said...

Ciao Scintilla! Oh that is terrible news about someone poisoning the cats in Fornillo. We have a lot of cats where we live, but we're doing the best we can to get the more domesticated females that stick around our garden to the vet to spay them. This has been our first summer without any new kittens in the garden. Wahoo! They are so cute, but they live such a hard life outside. I hope they find the culprit who is doing such a terrible thing there. If you need a good mouser for your garden, we have a few! :-)

The Food Hunter said...

How sad!

Delwyn said...

Hi Scintilla

sometimes people don't think these things through...
My son has a plague of rats... and it has taken many days and serious baits to take its toll...he was considering a cat as the next step...

Happy days

Fifi Flowers said...

GREAT kitty photos! I'm looking for a kitty!

*Ulrike* said...

Instead of poisoning the cats why doesn't that person have them spayed or neutered? It is always better to have a few cats around here since we have chickens and alot of woods.

Saretta said...

That's really a pity! What bother did a cat ever cause anyone?

Nancy - Girl in Giro said...

Yikes! When I was in fornillo for the month of August there were many cats wandering around. On August 16th I was hiking Il Sentiero degli Dei and a little kitten came out of the woods! He now lives with me in DC... Nobody in Positano wanted to keep him!