Cat Fostering: Amelie and Nelly Move Out!

At 5:30 this morning, Amelie and Nelly were packed up in crates and left my house to fly to their new homes in England!  I’m so glad that they’ve been adopted, and by people who will love them for who they are.

Nelly will go to an older woman’s home who, twenty years ago, came to Greece and rescued four kittens who had been thrown into the garbage.  Now that they’ve all passed on after a long life, she wants another Greek kitten in their memory.  Amelie was a bit trickier, since she is so shy.  But a middle-aged woman chose her precisely because she wanted to create a safe space for a traumatized cat.  I’m so excited to be updated on how they’re both doing.

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I will miss them, though!  It was nice to be able to open windows (there are no screens in Greece, so I couldn’t do so without risking escaped cats) and deep clean my apartment, but it feels very strange to come home to an empty house.  They’ve been so much fun, especially these last couple weeks when they really took to each other and started bathing each other/fighting each other.

Last night, I woke up around 3:00, which set Nelly off.  I noticed a shadow lurking near the bed, so I stuck out my hand, and Amelie came over to purr and pet herself.  She then jumped on my bed, fought with Nelly for a bit, and jumped back off.  This is the most she’s ever done, so I eventually drifted off to sleep.  A while later I was awoken by a cat curling up between my feet.  Nelly had already returned to her place against my side under the covers, so it was Amelie!!  Sleeping on my bed!!  For the first time ever, and for only two hours before I had to wake up and put them in their crates.  It was very bittersweet, but I hope she regains that level of comfort with her new family as soon as possible!

I have had such a great time fostering Amelie, Nelly, and Hans Harrison (last year for nine months).  I really admire the work that Nine Lives does in Athens, and I strongly encourage anyone reading this to consider becoming a foster parent for animals who need a temporary home while waiting for forever family.  If you can’t do that, I subtly suggest that you drop a few dollars in Nine Lives‘s bucket.  I can attest to the quality of their work, and I wish them all the best as I leave Greece.

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Cat Fostering: Amelie and Nelly

In my previous post about fostering, I ended by saying that Nine Lives, a cat shelter in Athens, Greece, was going to send me a kitten to help Amelie feel more comfortable after being rescued from a pack of dogs.  I showed a picture of a kitten who…did not come!  He ended up having some diseases that could have spread to Amelie, so instead  Nelly joined our temporary family.

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But first, an update on Amelie!  A woman from Nine Lives came to the house to take care of her while I was gone for a weekend vacation, and when I came back she was a totally different cat.  It was as though the fear of another stranger made my return a desperate, “Thank God, a familiar face!”  She started letting me sit beside her on the couch, and she was making so much progress I was a little scared that the introduction of a kitten would set her back.

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When Nelly first arrived, Amelie reverted to hiding under coffee tables and footstools.  I resented Nelly for that, which was unfair because she was relentlessly cute.  She’s a total kitten: playful and curious and slightly dumb.  And SO cute and cuddly.  She follows me around, burrows into the covers when I sleep, and falls asleep next to me like this.

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After a while, though, Amelie realized that she is a full-sized cat.  Instead of letting a kitten bully her around, she stood up for herself and asserted her dominance.  I was very proud that she came to this realization because of food.  Nelly tried to eat Amelie’s food, at which point Amelie slapped the kitten in the face and never had a problem again.

They still don’t cuddle with each other, but they will chase each other between rooms, and Nelly likes to sneak up on Amelie and try to catch her tail.  Somehow, all of this HAS made Amelie more comfortable, since she will now go into every room, and when I’m away for a while, she’ll actually follow me around and watch me from various doorways.  Most adorably, she will sit beside the couch and meow until I sit there, since she has apparently learned that that is where she will be petted.

Both Amelie and Nelly need to be adopted by mid-January, and at the rate they’re going, they will probably do well either separately or together!  If you or someone you know lives in Greece and wants two very cute cats, drop a line to Nine Lives and let them know!  If you can’t adopt cats, I still suggest you go to Nine Lives and leave a donation.  I love what they do, and I’m happy to do what I can to support them and the stray cats of Athens that they care for.

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Cat Fostering: Meet Amelie!

One of the first things I did when I returned to Athens was visit Hans Harrison, the cat I fostered for 9 months, in his forever home.  I sent pictures of him to Nine Lives, the cat shelter that had given him to me, and within hours I’d gotten a reply, “Do you want to foster another?”  I explained that I would only be in Greece for three months this time, but the offer was repeated.  A week later, Amelie was brought to my house!

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Amelie was part of a cat colony that Nine Lives checks in on from time to time.  She was taken to a vet a couple weeks ago when she developed an abscess on her back paw.  Soon after she was returned to the streets, a pack of dogs attacked the colony, killing several.  Knowing that the dogs would return to a successful hunting ground, Nine Lives rescued the remaining cats, Amelie included.  She stayed with two USian university students for a week before returning to the vet for a second abscess on her other back paw.  The next day, she came to me.

Clearly, she has been through a lot in the last couple weeks!  This is her first time living indoors with a human, and she has been very skittish.  She has made a home under my desk, first hiding under my footrest and then settling into a bucket with a rug.  At the slightest change in environment, she hides under the footrest and stares at me with wide eyes.

I’m used to floppy, friendly cats, so this would have been discouraging but for one thing.  Whenever I pet her, she goes mad with purring and leaning into my touch.  She’s simultaneously desperate for affection but scared of literally everything.  She’s an anxious introvert, and I can totally understand that.

It’s been slow going, but there have been small steps of progress in the last week!  She will come out from under the desk during the night (though she rarely leaves the room, even though the door has been open for days), and last night I heard her playing with the catnip toy I left her.  She also comes out of hiding to eat and use the litter box.

Last night, we had a major breakthrough when I came home, sat beside her bucket, and she came out to sit next to me!  This morning, she went further, crawling out of her bucket and then up into my lap for cuddles!  She’s also becoming blasé to my movements around the room, sleeping through noises she now considers normal instead of immediately darting for cover.

I’ve had Amelie for only five days, but it’s taking longer than I expected for her to settle in and feel safe.  Still, she’s such a sweetie, and if you’re reading this from Greece, I’m confident that in two months she’ll be ready to cuddle in a forever home!  She could be yours!


STAY POSTED:  Nine Lives and I have decided that Amelie needs a friend!  There is a kitten from her cat colony who is small enough to not intimidate her, but who is playful enough to hopefully help her feel more confident in her new home.  He cannot join us yet, since Amelie is not yet vaccinated due to being on antibiotics for her abscesses.  Once that is done, this little guy should be joining us!

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A Week in Greece #25: I HAVE A CAT

On Monday, I had the world’s longest layover in Istanbul (five hours!) on my way back from Cappadocia (check out a video of my weekend here).  Of course, if you’ve been paying attention to the news, you’ll know that on Tuesday, there was a bombing in the Ataturk airport where 40+ people were killed and 200+ people were injured.

I feel…weird about this?  I was one day off and one airport away, but it still feels really close.  I don’t know what the appropriate emotional response to this is, probably because there isn’t one.  I do want to take the time to say, however, that in light of this terrorist attack, PLEASE don’t hate on Muslims as a whole.  Just like there are terrible Christians who use violent Bible passages to murder African Americans or trans-people, there are terrible Muslims who use violent Kuran passages to instill terror in people’s lives. But they are SO not the norm!  The entire weekend in Cappadocia, Muslim men and women who were fasting for Ramadan were so hospitable and kind to us.  Just…don’t let the fear win, yeah?

But back to that title:  I HAVE A CAT!

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