Storm survivorA storm had been brewing over Casoli, a town in mainland Italy’s Abruzzo. Then the heavens opened.

            ‘Listen,’ cat lover Rita urged her boyfriend Giles, ‘isn’t that a kitten crying?’

They plunged into the wild night and discovered a tiny feline, soaking wet, shivering and crying with fear. They waited for his mum to return but after an hour and still no sign of other cats, they decided to take him home. A bath and treatment for a bad flea infestation transformed the black and white kitten into a playful, happy little chap.

Australians, Rita and Giles were on a three-month trip and soon would have to move on. Did I know of anyone who might help? They didn’t want to have to put the kitten back on the street. They’d willingly deliver the kitten anywhere that was within a day’s drive. This was a difficult one as Catsnip operates only in Sicily and I had no contacts to call on. I posted an appeal on Facebook with little response.

Then I remembered Elena. Two weeks before, while staying on Gozo, I’d been standing in the street anxiously watching two kittens, which appeared to be stranded on a roof. I’d been joined by an equally worried Italian couple.

            ‘I’m a cat woman,’ I told them.

            ‘So am I,’ replied Elena.

She told me she lived in Naples and worked to save feral animals from the city’s streets. She also knew Dorothea Fritz, the German vet with whom I’d worked on neutering trips. It seemed to us both this meeting was more than a coincidence and we agreed to stay in touch.  Now I contacted her and asked if she could help Rita and Giles. Meanwhile, the couple had followed several other leads and drawn a blank.

Heart stealer            ‘I’m getting nervous,’ wrote Rita, ‘we won’t have a solution in time but have to remain positive.’

            I, too, had begun to despair and to imagine the kitten once more abandoned to his fate. Then Rita told me they had managed to speak on the phone to Elena.

‘We're taking the kitten to Elena and a volunteer friend of hers, Rosalia tomorrow in Naples. We've just organised to meet at midday so we'll set off in the morning and hopefully the little fella will be happily with his foster volunteer by early afternoon and then adopted out from there.’

            Fortunately, Squirm, the slightly odd name they’d given the kitten, was a good traveller sleeping throughout the long drive from Abruzzo to Naples. ‘Operation kitten drop’ was an emotional one as both Rita and Giles had fallen in love with the wee mite and found it hard to let him go. But subsequent photos showing the kitten playing with Rosalie’s dog and generally being a mischievous and happy feline convinced them they had done the best thing for little Squirm. It is sad to say that many kittens’ cry for help is ignored but this waif in the storm seems set for a rosy future.

Home and dryJennifer Pulling runs Catsnip for the neutering and treatment of feral cats in Sicily. She is the author of The Great Sicilian Cat Rescue (John Blake)  

Jennifer has a website on writing:

safe and secure







Little miracle

A Cats Prayer

Lead me down all the right paths,
Keep me from fleas, bees, and baths.
Let me in should it storm,
Keep me safe, fed, and warm.


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