She passed me her phone and said take a look at this kitten Zamani has found. What I saw on the screen was a sad little fluff that couldn’t have been be more than just a few days old and I knew in my heart that if I didn’t do anything the chances of it surviving were slim.
But here’s the back-story.
My good friend Germaine has been sponsoring Zamani to go to school in Ndwedwe and Zamani rescued a very newborn orphan kitten. Knowing that Germaine is an animal lover, he reached out to her for advice. Keep it warm and see if it will eat something soft she said.
I could see that the little thing was too new to eat anything, as kittens under the age of four weeks only drink milk so I started calling friends to see what could be done. The problem was that I was up in Joburg for work and the kitten was in a rural area of KZN.
The photo of that helpless little creature drove me to take action.
I decided to ask my partner Riaan if he could go and fetch the kitten. It was a Thursday afternoon when I made the phone call and I really didn’t expect him to say yes as he was on a deadline with worl but he did so reluctantly. I then called my neighbor the vet aka Kerry the Animal Angel and asked her to go and take a look when Riaan returned.
After a long drive along dusty roads, Riaan and Zamani managed to find each other via a whatsapp pin drop, and the kitten mewed the whole way back to Ballito. I know this as I got a number of voice notes of screaming, unhappy kitten sounds from Riaan over the next hour or so! Kerry came over with a newborn kitten bottle and some formula and taught Riaan how to wipe the kittens nether regions to get it to poop and pee after every feed. He was not impressed with this newfound knowledge and task! The kitten drank the whole bottle and fell asleep in his warm nest and didn’t wake up till the next morning.
I drove back to Ballito the next day and hatched a plan to foster the kitten until it was old enough to go to a loving home with a little girl to play with. You see I also had plans to stay pet free so that I can pick up and go. My plan was to travel more in 2020, go back to Bali to run a workshop, spend a few months in India and travel more in South Africa as I typically do with work. These things are not really pet friendly despite me loving animals so much.
I must also tell you that my good friend had literally just passed away after a battle with cancer, and I was broken inside. I had no idea at this stage that this little kitten was actually rescuing me as much as I was rescuing him! I did all the things that kitten Moms do. Woke up every four hours in the night to feed him, I wiped his butt and sterilised bottles. He slept on my chest and up my sleeve and he purred every time I picked him up. I fell deeply in love with him and chances of me realistically giving him away became rather slim. He has been a gift in a time where I needed healing. And so I have decided to train him to be an adventure cat!
What is an adventure cat you ask? Just google it or put #adventurecat into Instagram! Essentially, if you have the cat with the right temperament you can train him to go everywhere with you, walk on a lead, go on holiday and take a hike with you. So this is what Yoda Baggins and I are doing!
In this post you will find some photos of his first adventure down to Swell Eco Lodge on the Wildcoast. People have said it will be impossible to train him to walk on a lead but we are doing it!
Who knows what will happen in the future but Yoda Baggins has brought so much joy, laughter and love during a tough time and brought out my inner crazy cat lady. He’s staying!!!
Part Two coming soon
PS For those of you who love photography all of these images were shot with a Fuji XT2. I just love this camera!