Mrs. Stripe

2002

2002

Mrs. Stripe was the first cat we truly noticed in Cairo. We had left Britain with absolute certainty that we would never have pets again…freedom at last. Sigh. She was an exquisite cat, brown tabby with gorgeous titian highlights. We admired her beauty but left her to her own devices. After I had started volunteering at the cat shelter, I noticed that she was limping. I asked the Sudanese manager of the cat shelter to help my husband and I trap her so that we could take her to Dr. Farouk, the local veterinarian.

That sounds so easy, doesn’t it? Well, we trapped her in our bedroom and all three of us tried to catch her. It was Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. She must have been walking on the ceiling because how else did she spray liquid poo all over it, the walls, the carpet, the bed and the furniture? Time stopped, a la Matrix, but still we couldn’t catch her. We were all so traumatized that I called time out, while sobbing, and we all left the bedroom, leaving the door open for her to escape.

I was beside myself with grief, worried about her injury and certain that she would never visit us again. Why should I care when we were never going to have pets again…? The next day I caught my breath when I saw her coming through the hedge followed by two 6 week old kittens. I started crying because it was obvious that she was telling me that she couldn’t allow us to trap her because she had kittens to feed. So then we had Mrs. Stripe, Toffee and Treacle. Miraculously, her chase around the bedroom had increased her adrenaline so much that the injury had healed overnight.

If you would like to read more about Mrs. Stripe and our other street animals in Cairo please check out my Kindle book about our 2 years in Cairo during the 2nd Gulf War.
http://www.amazon.com/Letters-Cairo-This-memoir-travelogue-ebook/dp/B015JFY1F0/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1448745950&sr=1-1&keywords=letters+from+cairo

We still have geriatric Mrs. Stripe who is almost 14 years old, her daughter Toffee and another weird one that we picked up along the way. This time we said absolutely no more pets until my husband just named the outside feral cat that has recently had kittens. I am trying to feed her up so I can neuter and release her. After some argument (he wanted to call her Tess – really?), she has been named Katniss which is much more appropriate to her feral and predatory nature. On a tangential note, Mrs. Stripe has bad muscle deterioration from her early gymnastic life and now has to take Gabapentin. We decided to use some of our stock – we have a small pharmacy at home – but that involved opening a 100 mg capsule and dividing into 10 for a cat dosage. I was flummoxed but looked in amazement as my husband started using a pen knife to divide it up like cocaine. Is he having a Breaking Bad experience or did we just watch too much of it?

2015

2015

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Christmas Cats

cats santaaction cats 2014 These are our three Egyptian street cats that we rescued from Cairo between 2002 and 2004. We had no intention of bringing any animals to our next posting which turned out to be Houston but they were impossible to rehome and we had bonded. Mrs. Stripe was first, the mama of Toffee who was next and finally Zhenny who I brought home to die from the cat shelter. Truly feral cats like these normally only live a few years in the wild but their ages range from 11 to 13. That means they are both geriatric and amazing. We struggled to adapt to looking after the equivalent of wild raccoons that would hiss, spit and bite at the first opportunity but they all had injuries or illnesses. On one memorable occasion in 2003, the Sudanese manager of the cat shelter, my husband and I were trying to capture Mrs. Stripe who was trapped in our bedroom with a sore paw. I swear that she was running across the ceiling a la Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. We gave up in defeat, me sobbing and she disappeared off into the garden. The next day she came back, her paw healed with the adrenaline, and two little kittens. I could hear her saying, “This is why I couldn’t go to the vet”. Just before we immigrated here in 2004, all three were neutered, vaccinated and ready to go. It was a horribly traumatic time trying to get three wild animals in cages but when we got to Houston via KLM, they were sitting waiting for us. We asked my husband’s company to provide a truck because the cages were so big but they sent a Limo driver with a peaked hat and a stretch limousine. I will never forget the look of delight on their faces when they were put in the limo with their new mum and dad. Click on this video link to see them having fun today on Christmas Day 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5UcF4G3KJWk