When it came to her cats, Ziva went above and beyond, her meals were bland, simple and if distracted, burnt. The cats had the finest gourmet dishes prepared for them, the taster was Patches, she purred, sat upon the fridge staring down at Ziva’s efforts. Dark chicken meat, reserved from the Sunday Roast, rice, potato and by distracting Patches with a sample, the secret ingredient, vitamins from the vet. Similar meals made with beef, pork, and various freshly caught fish her friend Jerome brought round. Their biscuits sat abandoned as both cats purred into their dinner.
Ziva believed the fresh food had a positive effect on her cats, her friends observed little difference, saying it was all in her head. They could admire the glossy coats, but whenever they visited the abundant energy seemed absent, both stretched over the sofa pretending to sleep, forcing the guests to stand. Spoilt? She ignored these comments, the vet seemed happy with their health and Ziva knew that during the twilight hours, Patches and Asher enjoyed a power surge with an urgent need to tear through the house. When Ziva slept, the evidence mounted, their vibrant energy and a vase, equalled a messy clean-up.
Ziva thought Patches accepted Asher eventually, the two ate and slept together. Being younger Asher wanted to assert his dominance, Patches remained the alpha cat, a swift paw or hiss put him back in line. He loved playing, toys scattered everywhere, Ziva slipped on his meowy ball, catching herself on the bannister, other days a catnip bird dropped in her cereal, a hint Asher wanted to play. On the opposite page, Patches enjoyed a stroll on the beach, lazing in the sunshine or any place she could get a few rays.
Brindleton Bay was full of stray animals, cats and dogs searching for meal, shelter, some love, and companionship. Ziva wondered what role she could play, she missed her voluntary work, and with her social life waning and a steady income from mobile phone apps. Whilst running she began to plan her mission, the key was preventing them from becoming ill, starving, or freezing to death in the Bay’s harsh winters. A mixture, wary animals, untrusting, bad homes or born to the wild, Ziva knew they needed people who cared, plus all that kibble her cats no longer ate.
Ziva identified two separate cat colonies, marking the beach at her house, the other occupied the underpass where she ran. The money raised from her apps went toward the Vet’s neutering program, they targeted these and other colonies across Brindleton Bay. She, meanwhile, brought timed kibble dispensers and made shelters, cosy wooden shipping crates, old clothes, and towels for bedding, and Styrofoam lined, Ziva read it could help keep them warm. Supriya and Jerome joined Ziva’s growing volunteer army, encouraging food on porches and help cleaning the shelters.
Locals raised concerns, believed to clean Brindleton Bay, rehoming strays would solve the problem, since the extra food encouraged rodents. Nothing could be further from the truth, removing colonies had harmful effects on both the animal and the environment they patrolled. Their neighbouring harbour town Evergreen Harbour was overrun with rats and mice, an issue which blighted fishing towns , except here. Cats stowed on fishing boats were lucky, black cats, in particular, Ziva grinned excitedly when one crossed her path. It was better to control the cat population than eradicate it, protecting their freedom and respecting their way of life.