Cambrils visit – October 2007

Well, I guessed it wouldn’t be long before I returned to Cambrils as I was so worried about leaving Eduardo and the other cats. Although my able assistant, (my mum!) and I didn’t land until quite late, as soon as the in-laws dropped us off at the apartment, we threw our cases down and hot-footed it up to the harbour. Unfortunately we were stopped in our tracks by a security man on a bicycle who declared the harbour “cerrado”-closed! Undeterred, we went along the walkway by the rocks above the harbour and looked down but we couldn’t see Eduardo. Although it was about midnight by now, a few of the other cats popped out of the rocks to greet us and after lots of strokes we called it a day!

The next day, after a quick hello to Luigi, Mama cat and the gang, we found Eduardo, and I was so glad I had returned to Spain to find him as he was looking very dishevelled and his eyes were still crusty and sore. When I stroked him, he felt very scabby too. The good news was that he had decided to move in, uninvited no doubt, with a cat I call Dolly who has her own little shelter in the harbour made by people on the fishing boats. Dolly used to share with old Eddie. Here there is a constant supply of biscuits and fresh fish-my Eduardo is no fool! I hadn’t even considered the fact that he had pretty much the same name and ended up in the same place as my beloved Eddie.

We went to the vets and I was disappointed to find that they hadn’t opened my emails to book some neutering operations and the vet was off until Friday! It was so frustrating but there was nothing I could do so we went to check out which cats we would prioritise for sterilisation as well as Eduardo.

The next day, I tentatively approached Eduardo with the basket but he was easy, I just scruffed him to immobilise him and popped him in the basket without too much protest and took him to the apartment. He was very happy to be stroked and became so soppy that he was immediately re-christened Teddy as he was like a slightly thread-bare favourite old bear!

Capturing Teddy

I had noticed in the distance on the opposite side of the harbour another rocky area and could see movements in the rocks-more cats! It took about 10 minutes to walk there and we found another colony of cats and kittens. There were eight cats of about 3 different sizes and it was hard to work out who the mother was. There were several gingers and there was one who somehow looked more sensible than the others and while gingers are not usually female, I had a hunch that she was although I still felt there must be another mother cat around somewhere. There was a small tortoiseshell kitten snuggled up with the ginger and to my horror, I noticed she had fishing line wound so tightly round her neck that she could be strangled as she grew if it was not removed soon. We quickly fetched the trap and although timid they all gathered round the tin of sardines that I opened to put in the trap. Luckily the little tortie was the hungriest and I managed to catch her , the ginger and a black and white kitten in one fell swoop! On our way out, we met a man who told me in Spanish, that he feeds them fish each day and that there is another mum cat as well as a dad but that the mum has had an injection to prevent her from becoming pregnant again. We then carried them all through the streets with some makeshift carrying handles to the vets ready for operations the next day then went back to fetch Teddy as he was to be castrated too.

New cat group at port

Kitten with fishing line round neck

The next day, the vets said that Teddy was very upset and growling-it seemed that while I could handle him easily, the staff found him unhandleable in the surgery. I went through to see him in his cage and he was very forlorn and cross but let me stroke his head and he calmed down. They do the operations in the evenings here so unfortunately he would still have to put up with one more night in solitary confinement!

Me and Teddy

When we went to fetch the cats in the morning, they didn’t want to touch Teddy as he was absolutely furious and asked me to-it was obvious he was just terrified and once we had him in the basket and out of the surgery he was fine. On releasing him at the harbour, he let me give him his eyedrops, flea treatment followed by some cuddles and some sardines. He did a good impression of John Wayne as he tottered around-he had had quite a lot to remove so to speak!

The other part of the port was unexpectedly locked as it was the weekend so I had to clamber up a wall with the other three in the trap and along a sea wall to where they lived. I released them all and they actually let me give them a stroke each and some food. The ginger had been a female as I suspected as well as the tortie of course, now thankfully released from the fishing line, so that was two more females who wouldn’t be adding to the kitten population. I checked them out and they all seemed to be on good form and were pleased to rejoin the group-they really are a close family unit and it is so sweet to watch them play and cuddle up together.

I went back to the harbour to check on Teddy and give him some more eyedrops, and I was thrilled to bump into Rodrigo. I had been puzzled as to why I hadn’t seen him yet but he appeared to have changed his base to down by the boats where there would be more chance of catching a fish tossed his way! Again he remembered me and dribbled on my hand-I was so pleased to see him looking healthier than ever!

The next day, I spent a long time sitting on some tarpaulin with Teddy with his head resting on my lap. He let me give him eyedrops and he had developed a newfound hobby of incessant washing which kept opening the operation wound so I had to keep cleaning his ‘delicate’ area!

Meanwhile my mum had accidentally stumbled across one of the elusive cat feeders and although they couldn’t speak each other’s language, they had managed to communicate and at last, I now had a phone number of a fellow cat person called Segrario!

On Monday, we trapped the mum cat and one of her offspring in the Parc Del Pescador. I was very pleased as this was the young tortoiseshell I had spotted back in March. She is part of a group of cats and kittens who seem to live as a close unit. Later we met up with Segrario and trapped a female cat that she feeds and took her for neutering. She feeds many strays around Cambrils and as we walked along, many cats came running out and I realised that there are more cats than I had originally thought and it is an even bigger project than I had imagined.

Tortie mum in park

We spent our last day returning neutered cats to their outside homes and I spent a lot of time with Teddy which meant using lots of tissues and not just for wiping his eyes! I have become particularly attached to him and found it so hard to leave him again but Segrario had said that she would continue to visit him and endeavour to give him the eyedrops so this was an enormous relief. Teddy’s story is to be continued!

Teddy on bag

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