I might not be out in the great outdoors at the moment like I normally would be doing wildlife conservation work, and that does break my heart when I think about it. I sure do miss the farm life, let me tell you that trading the bushveld for concrete jungles and dirt roads for ever winding highways has been harder on me than I could have imagined, but it certainly did not change my love and respect for all living things.
While out in the bushveld, these would be the cats that I would normally encounter:
(Photos taken by myself in Limpopo South Africa - Canon P520)
But this is a little anecdote about a cat of a slightly different kind though...
So while I was out working on the contract at the school one day after the schools had closed for the covid lockdown, we were asked to fog all the school buildings, classrooms, hostels, halls and other places of gathering with a disinfect ant fumigation, and we set out at our task promptly spraying every room on the property, and as we were about to finish, I noticed a big commotion amongst the builders who were packing up at the construction site where new classrooms were being erected for the school.
I moved in closer to see what all the fuss was about, and pushed my way through the five men all standing with half bricks in their hands yelling in their native language words that I did not understand, then throwing the bricks angrily at something...
It was only then that I heard the faint desperate cries of a tiny kitten, who was at this point desperately hiding under some discarded building materials.
You see in many African cultures Cats are seen as evil, they are believed to bring bad omens from the spirit world, and as such they are often killed or chased off.
But I simply could not stand by and watch five men stoning a tiny kitten to death, and I made my way through some flying bricks towards the panicked little creature, and scooped him up into my arms. At this point the men had stopped hurling the stones, however they were still yelling things in their own language.
I pushed my way through the men holding the little cat who was snarling scratching and biting at my arms and hands in an attempt to defend itself, not knowing that I was actually just trying to help it, while the men simply laughed as I walked away.
Being a feral cat, I knew that this kitten would be dependent on discarded food from the kids in the hostel under normal circumstances, and he was simply too young to hunt for himself, and at first I thought that if I left him in one of the store rooms with enough food and water he might be able to survive seeing that the kids had all been sent home for the start of the lockdown, and I knew that we would not be able to get back to the school any time soon. But then I remembered that I had just fumigated the entire school, and such a small kitten might not be able to tolerate all the fumes.
So I decided to take the kitten with me, at least until I could figure out what to do...
Of course and as most of my decisions in life, this was an impulsive call and one that I honestly did not think through whatsoever. You see, I suffer from allergies, and also, I was at that stage sharing a house with a lady that suffers from very bad asthma, and here I was dragging a kitten into our lives. More than that we were also sharing the house with a huge Boerbull and two Dachshunds who had never encountered a cat in their lives before, and clearly had no tolerance towards the tiny critter.
This meant that I had to make the kitten comfortable inside my room, and make sure that the room that to the stayed closed at all times. So I set up with some food that I had picked up on the way home, then put out some water as well as a litter box, because all kittens know how to use those, right? As it turns out, this one didn't. And it certainly didn't count in my favour that I had decided to feed the kitten a de-wormer either - but that is a gruelling tale left untold.
At this stage I was desperately trying to find a home for the kitten, and a few days later I managed to find someone that was willing to offer the kitten a loving home. The problem however was this... the strict lockdown regulations in the country made it practically impossible to get the little baby to his new home. So I ended up spending the first three weeks of lockdown with my tiny isolation companion, before we managed to arrange for him to be safely transported to his new family.
During that time the kitten was dubbed Gizmo.
The way I see it, it is never the wrong time to do a good deed, even if it is not in the slightest convenient, and it is never the right thing to stand by while idiots do cruel and stupid things.
Gizmo might have been just a tiny kitten not much bigger than my hand when I found him, but he had the same fighting spirit of any of the big cats that I have encountered
And while I am throwing little bits of wisdom out into the crowd, let me add this;
It doesn't matter where you are or how dull the circumstances might be, there is always beauty around if you care to look for it, and I was reminded of this again just the other day when I came across this lovely butterfly in the middle of what was playing out to be a really shit day.
This little insect not only reminded me to find beauty in the smaller things in life, but in a way it also reminded me a tiny bit of home and of the giant silk moths that I would often find myself admiring on the farm, such as the gorgeous Giant African Moon Moths - also known as Argema Mimosae. And although the African moon moth might be incredibly larger that the tiny Dark Blue Pansy butterfly I came across recently, I personally think that when it comes to their beauty, they are both larger than life!