Saturday, June 16, 2012

Finding The Feline

One cold October evening, a couple of months after our arrival in Mexico, Todd and I returned home to our rented house in Corazon de Durazno to find what we thought was a dead kitten on our doorstep. I know that some of you who read Todd’s blog, Life in the Corazon, will remember this. Todd went to sweep the dead kitten into a dustpan and it squeaked….. and we panicked. “OMG, OMG, OMG what do we do?”

The kitten could not have been more than 7 to 10 days old and was very near death. I was all in a dither as I scooped it up ( it fit in the palm of my hand) and ran to my neighbour Joan, who had cats. She gave me a soft blanket, a little cat bed and an eyedropper and told me to feed it some warm milk and a little honey and see if it lived through the night. The next day he was still alive so we went to the vet and got formula and a bottle and fed him around the clock. For weeks.

Diego, Our First Born

Prior to coming to Mexico neither my husband nor myself had ever owned a cat. To be honest neither of us had much interest in them. We had both had dogs all our lives and believed them to be much more interesting pets. While dogs are loyal, affectionate and fun-loving I had always had the (somewhat misguided) impression that cats are aloof, contrary and boring.

Since then we have come to know cats very well. Diego went from small to medium to large to panther-size in what seemed like over night.




As a kitten Diego had no role models around and so he decided that Larry the rabbit would be his mentor. Much to Larry’s chagrin, Diego followed him around relentlessly and cleaned himself when he saw Larry grooming himself, went to the litter box when Larry went to the litter box and generally made a nuisance of himself. Try as he might, though, he just didn’t get the whole lettuce eating thing. He sure gave it the old college try though.

When he reached panther-size and was terrorizing the neighbourhood, quite literally, as some of the neighbours and all of the workmen were afraid of him, we had mostly gotten used to having a cat around. However, truth be told, he scared the bejaggers out of me from time to time too.

Never having had a cat before I wasn’t sure what was, and was not, normal cat behaviour. I have since learned that Diego was a very unique animal. He lived his life on his terms, which I guess is very catlike, but he would not back down from anything or anyone, including the boxer next door, who got a bloody nose for trying to play with him.

When Diego was about two years old Bindi came along. We had heard a new neighbour calling for her cat earlier that day so when we found a kitten treed by Tau, the boxer with the bloody nose, we assumed it belonged to the lady with the missing cat. Todd got out the ladder, rescued the cat and we presented it to our new neighbour Terry, who told us she had found her cat several hours earlier and this one was not hers.


After canvasing the neighbourhood and posting a request for a home for her on the local message board, all to no avail, we realized that we had just adopted another cat. For me it was love at first sight when I saw her on the end of the branch frozen in fear, and we bonded immediately. She is my cat to this day guards me jealously from the others.

Two weeks later along came Scooter. I found her at about 4 weeks old, alone, wet and cold on Plaza Grande where the Tianguis, a huge fair for Day of the Dead, had been set up.


Again we went through the process of looking for a home for her. Again to no avail. We had adopted another cat. Todd told me that the next one would be named Divorcio, self-explanatory I think, even for those who don’t speak Spanish.

pillow b 
Our Little Feline Family

Unfortunately not long after this picture Diego went out one night and never came back. I guess he finally met his match. We still miss him tremendously.

Somewhere along the way we realized, to our horror, that we had become “cat people”. We actually liked them. We had discovered that each and every one of them was as different as night and day. Like dogs, they all have their own personalities and provide hours of entertainment, not only for themselves, but for us as well.


When we moved into the house in San Miguel we found a skinny little kitten sneaking in and eating out of our cat’s bowls every chance he got. Guess what? We’ve adopted another cat.


  1. I wish could have met Diego -- and Larry.

  2. I wish you could have too. Larry was a very stoic little bunny and fun. But Diego was something else! I've never seen a cat like him before or since.

  3. I was never a cat person. That doesn't mean we didn't have cats as the kids grew up. It's just that we also had, birds, hamsters, snakes, tarantulas, dogs. The list goes on. (Remember my son is a wildlife biologist now. So I bonded with the dog and left the rest of the menagerie to he kids.

    Enter Velcro, the feral cat in Mexico. SO many lessons I've learned from her. I think I'm past tolerance and actually enjoy her now.......

    1. I also had lizards, guinea pigs, (52 of them at one point) dogs, rabbits, fish (a 70 gallon tank that even had an electric blue lobster)but never had a cat. I've sort of made up for that now. I find them incredibly entertaining. They are very silly and a lot of fun.

    2. Oh I forgot, our son had rats too. I was surprised to discover what nice pets they are and actually got quite attached to a couple of them.