Cats, past and present

Black Pearl & Bidi with Amber.

Photo January, 2013. Amber was first noticed on a hillside (October 6, 2012) and I placed food in a neighbour's hayshed which he soon found and came for on a daily basis. I didn't know if it was him until we set a trap from the SPCA and we took a very frightened young cat to the vet for neutering, defleaing, vaccinating and microchipping on November 19.

Photo January 5, 2014. Bidi Sitting on a scratching pole. She was on Trade Me and came from a home which gave her a great start. Her mother was half Persian and her dad either a black tom from up the road or a tabby which was seen hanging about. She was one of only two kittens born on October 27, 2013 and over nine weeks old when we picked her up on January 2. Bidi had a three hour journey to our home but purred as soon as she was out of the cat carrying cage and slept on the bed the first night. She ran up and down stairs and most importantly charmed Amber who couldn't keep his eyes off her at first and now greets her with a lick. He is most patient with her as she attacks his tail and they have chased each other about with Bidi's turn of speed leaving him wondering what happened.

Sam arrived in July 2009, a very hungry stray. He was desperate for food but not trusting to come too close for weeks. Slowly he began to trust enough to come inside and eat in the kitchen but as soon as he finished he was out though he let me pick him up and didn't scratch. His photo was in Paw Prints, a section for pets in the paper, but no-one claimed him. One day he arrived in the morning and we shoved him into a cat cage for a trip to the vet. Neutered, immunized and home again it was not long before he became a regular house cat. Amazingly soon after his moving in, this photo of him sleeping with Moses on the back of the couch was taken on August 29, 2009. Unfortunately Sam began bouncing Moses and biting him on the neck, behaviour which became worse as Moses's health declined. Sam later beat up Amber, so it was obvious that as he lacked social skills he had to be rehomed. After a short stay at the local SPCA Sam found a good home along with another SPCA cat.


It is hard to believe that Tabitha passed on in December 27, 2006. Just one month before she happened to sit on the path when I took a photo of the flowers out the front.

Before Benny departed, Tabitha, a plain tabby, who was born in the wild moved in. Later when Moses, a Siamese, came into our lives, Tabitha immediately found her vocation in mothering him and they became the best of friends. The above photo was taken at Levels when we were renting and between properties.
Tabitha passed away on December 27, 06.
Moses suffered from kidney failure in his 17th year and had to be put to sleep, though we did all we could to make his last year comfortable. We were fortunate to have a very good vet during that time. He is buried near Tabitha. See more about Moses below.

Right: Moses with the statue of St Frances that was given to me in 2001 in appreciation of the work I did from the Geraldine Catholic Church (The Church of the Immaculate Conception)


Tabitha had a very friendly and loving nature and was never known to bite or scratch in anger. She was also a watch cat. Whenever a car pulled up or someone knocked at the door, Tabitha gave a low growl and after looking at me would run towards the sound. Once inside, visitors were targeted for her affection, so that sometimes I had to put her out of the room to give them some peace. This all depended on the visitor and whether they liked cats.

Tabitha's life with us began in the spring of 1994 when she was born in the wild. Her mother was a plain black cat who may have been dumped as she did not run away immediately as wild cats normally do when they see humans. She brought her kittens, who were tiny and undernourished when we first saw them, to eat bread intended for the birds. I put out cat food but only a tabby showed signs of wanting anything to do with me. She watched me most intently one day as she looked in from outside when I was carrying our old Siamese Benny in my arms. The first winter must have been very hard out in the cold and once when it snowed I heard and saw the kittens on the roof.

By the time the following August came she had got to the stage where I could stroke her and even pick her up a little, but she was still small and thin.

One day, she was found inside, sleeping on a small couch when I returned home. She fled in terror, but returned. I encouragred her and shut her in and on August 24th, 1995, took her to the vet to be speyed and have injections to protect her from disease. After a few days kept inside to recover she became a regular house cat. Just as well she moved in because a neighbour had a clean up of dumped cats and we didn't see the rest of her family again. When Moses the replacement Siamese arrived, Tabitha immediately found her vocation in mothering him and they became the best of friends.

Another thing she did was to catch rats to show her appreciation to us. Some cats are excellent rat catchers but it is a learned skill and Tabitha must have gained the knowledge from her mother. She caught a succession of rats and brought them into our bedroom alive! We were woken by antics under the bed and spent some time catching and dispatching her 'gifts' before getting back to sleep. One night a rat wedged itself between a large wardrobe and a wall. We had to move all the stuff out before we could move the wardrobe enough to dislodge the rat. She did catch on that we were not appreciative of her gifts being brought in the house and after the fifth night left them with their throats neatly slit on the back door step. The ratting went on and the numbers of rats must have declined while we lived there. Rats are known to climb trees and eat the young of birds so cats do a service where native trees grow in New Zealand. Rats eat the berries and do very well in native forest so they are always about, but you mostly don't see them. People don't always recognise that cats such as Tabitha are valuable and actually help protect native birds in forest. Out in open spaces around lakes where birds nest on the ground, is quite another story and people who dump cats in such places have no thought for the survival of other creatures.

One day in 2006 I noticed she had slowed down, was no longer so keen to hunt and she had also lost a little weight, but we thought it was just an age thing. Suddenly she stopped eating and her stomach seemed distended. The vet said the outcome was bleak as she had cat aids and she could only get worse, so the decision was make to end her life before suffering became extreme. She is now on the east slope between the olives and the pear tree.


Moses at Woodbury, April 1997

Moses at Woodbury April, 1997

Moses at Woodbury June, 1997


Nick with Moses at Woodbury.

Mkuzi Moses (Reg. SI 8209-F. Born Boxing Day 1996) with his mother and siblings on February 2, 1997. Bred by Helen Chubb, he was a pure bred Siamese.

Moses was a very cuddly kitten and would often be in the box with his mother and grandmother. The photo is of Lea meeting Moses for the first time.
Moses suffered kidney failure and had to be put to sleep on September 20th, 2013. He was a very clever cat and learnt to open an inset door by using his right paw to hook under it and then pull it back. I am sure he said the word “Out” when he wanted an outside door opened. One amazing incident was on the night of the Christchurch earthquake in 2010. For about an hour before Moses had tried to wake me by putting his paw on my face. I had pushed him aside but he knew and kept at me. His photo was in Stuff with a few words about pets and the quake Here


Moses with his mother and siblings.

Moses at Woodbury, April 1997


Fifi. When Fifi came to us somewhere around 1998, she seemed like a Victorian lady and was getting on. Her previous years, after arriving as a stray, were in the inner city of Christchurch.

Her people moved to the USA. It was a big adjustment for Fifi who had been an only cat to learn to mix with 3 other cats, but she soon slept with our pride on the bed. She was a real character and we loved her.

After some years enjoying country life with no cars, clean air and space to sit in the sun, or lie on a favourite tussock, she began to fail and on April 3, 2006 the decision had to be made for a final trip to the vet. She now lies in one of her favoured spots among trees with a new tussock planted.


William passed on on December 10, 2007. He arrived shortly after Tabitha. We suspect William, and his brother, both toms, were dumped when they reached puberty.

He arrived very cold and hungry one night but knew about food in a plate and let me stroke him. We took him for a visit to the vet for a 'necessary' operation. His brother did not come for food and was very likely shot or starved to death as happens when people dump cats. We had him neutered so that he could live a good life as a house cat. William had several visits to a vet as he suffered from a large sore on a back leg which was probably caused from shotgun pellets. William became a fine looking cat and a great hunter of rabbits. He had a wonderful nature and sometimes brought Moses his kills. Sadly we lost William to cancer of the abdomen several years after coming to Rosewill and the vet said it was kindest to put him to sleep.


Schweitzer and Juliet. Juliet was carrying Benny along with many other kittens who did not survive birth. far left: Schwitzer looks on with increduality at her size.

Juliet with Benny. as a kitten on the couch. Juliet died before we went to live at Woodbury.

Benny was licked by both Schwitzer and Juliet so often she looked as though just out of the shower most of the time.

We have always loved Siamese cats and Schweitzer and his sister Benny were with us for 21 years. Schwitzer was given to us and his registered Mother Pilch Juliet a year later. Benny was born after a visit to a stud tom some miles away.