Tag Archive | cat

How Annie got her forever home

Several years I’ve worked at an animal shelter in a small village near my hometown Groningen.
I was a volunteer at the special department Reso, where shy, traumatized and feral cats got help to learn to trust people (again) and to relate to them. The first few years I worked with the cats on several days a week, including the Sundays.
One day early September 2013, a collegue told me there had been a new arrival, several days before.
Her name was Darlene.
But hardly anyone of the Reso-volunteers knew she had arrived, ’cause she hid immediatly and didn’t come out again. She was feral and totaly afraid of people. Her favorite hidingplace, infact her only hidingplace, was a steelplate in the corner of the outside pen. Nobody knew how she could even get under that slap of steel which was barely 5 cm high. We didn’t know whether she was eating and she definitly missed out on the treats the volunteers gave the cats once a day.
Several techniques were tried to lure Darlene out of her safeplace … food … toys … treats … you name it … I tried it. But she wouldn’t move.
After a while I just thought ”well, if you won’t come to me, then I will get down to you”. And so I went down on my back on the cold ground alongside the steelplate. And just talked to her, with a calm and soothing voice. Darlene couldn’t make eyecontact and just kept staring outside.
Two weeks passed with the same action (mine) and inaction (hers) when suddenly she turned her head and glanced at me for a moment or two. There and then I knew we had a connection.
Since that Friday she would occasionally show her face from a distance and had found several other nice hidingplaces like a certain hangingbasket.


Darlene in her favorite hangingbasket – 22. September 2013

We made progress, bit by bit. She wouldn’t run away anymore when seeing me entering the outside pen. At one time she sat under the couch and accepted some treats as I lay about 30 cms from her. Yep … again on the cold floor.


Under the couch in the outer pen – 27. September 2013

After a while she would even stay in plain sight and let me approach her. Then I knew she would soon be ready to come home with me. To be honest … I’d already decided to adopt her the moment I heard about her that day in early September.


Darlene in full sight in the outside enclosure – 27. October 2013

On Friday a collegue had managed to catch Darlene and put her in a big crate. The next day, on Saturday 9. November 2013, Darlene came home with me. She had finally found her forever home.
Very soon afterwards she was called Annie.

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Me and my cats

Dear readers, many years I’ve enjoyed the company of lovely and remarkable pets.
A few I would like to (re-)introduce to you.


Moppy was born in 1993 and came to me around 1996.
A vet was ordered to put her down, but he was reluctant to do so and I was able to adopt her and take her home. I had to let her go in May 2009.


Vlokkie, born in August 1993, was still a kitten when she became my mate.
She stayed with me untill June 2013.
Her arrival at my home is told in the post of 29. December 2016, see https://yvoncaroline.wordpress.com/2016/12/29/last-days-of-2016


Sammy, born November 1996, came into my life in 1998. I had to let her go in Octobre 2015.

ANNIE & CHARLIE portret 01 (2)
Nowadays I have the pleasure of Annie and Charlie being by my side.

Charlie walked into my life in September 2012 and never went away.
Annie came from the animal shelter in November 2013.
Totally shy, she is now growing more confident and more courageous.

I’m glad to tell you that Annie and Charlie have their own blog at https://catcaretakeryvon.wordpress.com.

Last days of 2016

Dear readers,

These are the last days of 2016 and I hope Christmastime has been kind and blissful to you.

As I was browsing through old pictures, I realised how many pets had accompanied me during my lifetime.
And as I saw the foto of Vlokkie, it made me grateful she too had been part of my life.
In June 2013 Vlokkie passed away, in her own time, peaceful on my lap and surrounded by her family.

I’d like to share with you the article I wrote on her, back in April 2010.
Aware of the sometimes difficult, if not impossible, translations I tried to hold on to the meaning or humour. Take for instance the name Vlokkie … Vlokkie evolves out of “vlok” as in snowflake or a patch. I love catnames with “o” in the middle and “y-ie” at the end, such as Tommy, Lofty, Moppie.
With this publication I want to reflect on the past in paying tribute to Vlokkie and all other creatures that gave, and still give me joy and their love.

My cat …
your grey-greenish inquisitive eyes look at me whilst growing bigger and bigger. Not because you see a little bird or you’re surprised, only because you’re slowly but determined crawling up to me.
Creeping up, one step at a time, kneeding at my far too thinny pyjamas, on top of my chest, you find your way towards my throat. Finally … with loud purring … you push your head sturdy against my chin.
As you conitinue to kneed along with your little sharp nails, my thoughts go seventeen years back in time.

No one wanted that tiny, fragile, hurted kitten. It was surprising, a miracle, she even survived such horrible injuries. A colleague of mine at the Animal Protection Society told me on the phone the little girl was just too ugly. Instantly I decided to take her into my home.
That same person and her son brought you to me. In a small cage with wads of cotton wool at the bottom. The boy thought you were so cute with the patches of hair scattered on your body and he was granted to give you a name. From now on you would be called Vlokkie.

I can still see you in front of me … far too big ears – bald with healing wounds and partially melted away by fire. The fur from top to waist burned away. The tail with a double knick at the end due to broken vertebra. The small throat and chest without hair, but full of red raw scars, scattered around the tormented skin. You were so cute, just like a baby bat.

That first day you were allowed to stay in my bedroom, far away from the big grown-up and nosey furry four-footers. Within hours my nose started itching. I smelt a certain odour in my bedroom. Your first night at home I awoke because you came up on the bed and sat down on my duvet. You were fast as lightning and I was terribly slow. At that moment I realised my duvet was full of cotton wool.

You give me a firm head butt and suddenly I’m in the present. Your little nails still kneeding at my still too thinny pyjamas. Your eyes looking up at me, squinting and playful. Your head a little bit wobbly, just like a kitten.

The head far too small, the front-paws shorter than the hind-legs. The cat proportions distorted.
You turned out to be almost a normal pussycat.

I love you Vlokkie, my cat the bat.

007-2-kopie

Copyright: YC Ravesteijn 2010; First publication: 24. March 2011; Second publication: 29. December 2016; Revised translation: 29. December 2016.