Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Haircut time for the overgrown lion

A few weeks ago I was asked to take one of the cats on my feeding round for Nine Lives to one of their vets. His name is Tadjio, and he has a skin condition which causes some of his long fur to fall out, in some cases trailing along the floor which could obviously be uncomfortable and dangerous. 
Tadjio is a very friendly cat and also a champion wrestler!  He challenges (often unwilling) feline competitors to street matches and is invariably the winner. These bouts are always amicable though, and Tadjio is friends with the other cats who live in this abandoned house in Plaka:

So I delivered him to the vet, and a couple of days later picked him up and released him, to see that he'd been given a proper lion cut! For those of you who don't know what that term refers to, a simple youtube search will provide hours of entertainment. Of course Tadjio's trim was not vanity based, but he seems very happy with his new style and I'm sure it will serve him well during the sweltering summer months too.
And here are the all important before and after shots!

Tadjio before;

Tadjio after;

The middle section of his 'mane' fell out before he had the haircut, when it grows back he will look even more regal!

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

A tale of two kittens

I am currently awaiting news of a very sick kitten I took to one of the Nine Lives vets last week. I found the little black bag of bones in Anafiotika, sitting in the middle of the path with it's eyes glued shut with nasty green goo, and the same sticky substance around its nose and mouth. I called Eleni, president of the charity and she came to the rescue almost immediately with a basket for me to get the poor kitty to the vet in.
Last I heard the little kitten wasn't eating much but has turned very wild, needing to be sedated before being examined or given any medicine. I'm hoping that it's a good sign that he now has enough energy to put up a fight! I will post here as soon as I am updated on his condition.

A couple of weeks previous, just a little further up the road in Anafiotika, I met a kitten in very different spirits...

The little black and orange girl lives with many other cats and kittens in the shady courtyard of an empty taverna, complete with twisting trees, perfect for curious kittens to climb!
She scampered up and looked to be almost waiting for me to take a photo, as you can see from the picture perfect pose!

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Going nowhere fast

I came across this sleepy little silver tabby, perched on the comfy seat of this unused (judging by the look of the back tyre!) bike in an area called Anafiotika. 
Anafiotika is a tightly knit maze of tiny whitewashed houses, clinging to the rock of the eastern slope of the Acropolis. It was built in the 1830's by former residents of the island of Anafi who had left their home to find work in the expansion of neo-classical Athens. The masons took advantage of a law stating that any man who could erect a house between the hours of sunset and sunrise would own the land. They built their houses in typical island style, making the area a stark contrast from the rest of Athens.
Apart from being an oasis of calm, island life in the midst of the city, Anafiotika is also home to a huge stray cat population. If you stop to look around you will see them everywhere, curled up in flowerpots, dozing on the winding steps of spiral staircases, and standing watch in doorways. 
Unfortunately the overpopulation has resulted in illness among many of the cats, but Nine Lives has already begun neutering here and many of the residents of the area feed the cats.
If you are in Athens a trip to Anafiotika is a welcome antidote to the pace of city living, and a chance to meet many feline friends!

View over Anafiotika rooftops to Plaka.

Saturday, 5 February 2011

Here comes the sun...

The sun came out today in Athens after two days of biting wind and driving rain, and the cats were as glad as anyone else! Two of them catch the last of the evening sun whilst waiting for another Nine Lives volunteer who was making her way down the hill with a sack full of food.

The first post...

What better way to start than with a cat in the shadow of the Parthenon? This was my first meeting with this sweet marmalade coloured cat, and we are now firm friends. This is also one of the cats looked after by Nine Lives, you will know them by the missing tip of one ear (to show they have been neutered). As a volunteer for Nine Lives I feed this friend and around 90 others every Friday around the south slope of the Acropolis.
Please visit the Nine Lives website to read about all the amazing work they do for the cats