Wednesday, 4 November 2015

And Then There Were Three

Minerva and Morpheus Black

Mrs Black and her naughty kitten Isabella

We have been a family of two cats since November two years ago when Mrs Black, missing both her late husband Morpheus, and their much loved kitten Isabella,  decided to take in a lodger. He turned out to have quite a tale to tell. He was a distant relative of her late husband who had fallen on hard times when his elderly owner died and his old house was sold from under him. He had lived by various names but he explained in his letter to Mrs Black that his true name was Monsieur Munchkin Lestrange.


He very much regretted that the reputation of his ancient family had been tarnished by the behavior of cousin Bellatrix made famous when J.K Rowling collected the lore and wrote those Harry Potter books.

Mssr Lestrange potrait
by celebrated Dutch artist Marie Cecile Thijs
website HERE:

Munchkin had endured being cat napped from his home whie his mistress was gravely ill and bustled off to a new home 10 miles away. Desperate to return to his beloved mistress he escaped and wandered the miles between until some 6 months later he came home. Sadly his mistress had died. Cast out of his home by the new cruel owner who sent the dogs out to kill him, he took up residence in the gardens and solicited the assistance of a neighbour who had long admired the handsome half Maine Coon. Despite her family being allergic to cats, she fed him and helped him find Mrs Black. Nearly three years after the death of his mistress Munchkin finally came indoors to a life of total comfort.

Mssr. Munchkin Lestrange
Mrs Black adores him and is ever hopeful of some tale of his travel adventures, but he dislikes other cats preferring to spend his time in my studio at the bottom of the garden writing his memoirs, or overseeing the maintenance of the 13th century Norman church behind our cottage. Obviously after such tragic times he can be a little tetchy and cuddles must be kept to a minumum. He has been known to bite the hand that feeds! Two winters living outside in snow took their toll and he suffers arthritis but takes his medicine well, as long as there are treats to hand. He has a fierce hiss and growl (cat swearing) but thankfully there has been no sign of the dark spells which cousin Bellatrix was famous for.

Mssr Lestrange in the graveyard

Not being as companionable as Mrs Black had hoped she continued to long for a kitten to brighten her old age. One day, out of the blue, she said that if Munchkin were to pass on before her she would like, more than anything, to have a completely black kitten named Puff. I pondered this confession, and thought how typically considerate of her, knowing Munchkin hated other cats, she would wait until he had passed on. I mentally made a note to warn the husband that a black kitten may be in our future somewhere.

At the end of August while admiring the blood moon from a field at the bottom of our lane the husband and I noticed a young black cat catching a mouse. A bit startled by us she nevertheless carried the struggling mouse out of the field but she lost it in the lane. As I looked over towards her she meowed piteously and ran towards some old sheds which were once field shelters.

We then saw her about the village and in particular underneath our bird feeders at the front of our cottage. She was timid and would always run away. In mid-October things came to a head. Leaving the house to go out I saw the black cat jump onto the bird table to eat the fat balls which I had put out for the birds.

I put down a bowl of cat food. And so it began.

Cat shelter
made from old compost bin, newspaper 7 straw.

Two weeks later after building a cat shelter from an old bin and feeding twice a day, we enticed the cat into our cottage with a bowl of food and shut the door. Since then it has lived in our spare bedroom in order to determine it's state of health before introducing it to Mrs Black and Munchkin.

The black cat is a she, between 6-9 months and absolutely, completely, black. Everywhere.

Her name is, of course, Puff. It seems that Mrs Black has been doing some conjuring and the magic of the season helped her to guide this poor homeless waif to her.

Puff passed initial vet checks but we anxiously waited the blood test results to be certain that she was clear of Feline Leukemia (FeLV) and Feline Aids.  Both Mrs Black and Munchin have compromised immune systems and very heartbreakingly were Puff to have one of the fatal cat diseases she could not stay with us. It would be too much of a risk to them.

Introducing Puff.

There was much celebrating when our vet rang to give us the all clear. Puff is not micro chipped, and we have no history for her. She is timid and frightened of people and although she will cuddle and purr she hides under the chest of drawers when we are not in the room and shies away when you first extend a hand. She has probably been lost or abandoned since a small kitten, but must have at some point been handled and loved for she is not completely feral. We are quite sad that whoever may have owned her before will not know that she is safe and loved not just by us but by Mrs Black.

The vet is unable to be sure if she has been spayed so we must wait and watch to see if she comes into heat. She could even be already pregnant, if she is, it is too early to tell. She is underweight and infested with parasites from the birds and mice which she ate to survive. She must be a very brave and remarkable cat to be able to look after herself from such a young age. But she will be fine and soon introductions can take place between her and Mrs Black. Munchkin no doubt will be completely unimpressed and insist this young cat has no access to 'his' studio in his garden.

We will need to hone our photography skills in order to get good images of Puff, she is so dark.

We are very grateful for being able to help this beautiful homeless cat.

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