A day in the life of Barney

I’ve been here for a very long time – even before it was Syros Cats when there was a butcher’s shop nextdoor. I was born in Kini and when I was about three months old, my cat mum went off to do her own thing and I started to make my way on my own.

I’ve always liked small dark places; most cats do, and one day I wriggled into a tempting looking space and found I couldn’t get out! I tried every which way that I knew, explored every corner, cried as loud as I could and scratched at the walls – but I was trapped – and had no mum to help me. I think I was there a few days and feeling weak, hungry and thirsty. I decided to have one last try at getting out, otherwise I was going to lose all my nine lives in one go.

I could see a little crack of light, so I used the last of my strength to scratch and worry at the hole.  Eventually I managed to squeeze through, but scraped both sides of my tummy very badly.  I collapsed outside, hungry, hurting and bleeding…

After a few days I didn’t feel better. In fact, I felt worse. My fur looked awful, I’d lost a lot of weight, I couldn’t hunt or find much food. It was worse then, because there weren’t any regular feeding places for the street cats and I didn’t know where to go.  My skin was beginning to smell bad – the cuts weren’t healing.

Somehow, I managed to crawl towards a nearby house. I could hear people inside.  My mum had taught me to be wary of strangers, but I had no choice but to ask for help. Things happened very quickly after that. I remember being put in a box and driven away in a car. I felt too sick to be scared. I went into a long deep sleep and when I woke up, I felt better – and very hungry.  My scrapes were still hurting and not yet healed, but they were clean and dry. I had a bed in a kitchen, with food and water. The humans would come in and talk to me, but I was still scared. Then one day a man started talking to me, he was friendly and I got up and began to rub around his legs.  Most humans like this cat habit. He was very excited and called his friend. ‘Look at this cat! Let’s call him Barney.’

I stayed at Jasmine House. I was happy to live outside with a colony that was being fed there. My fur grew and I developed a beautiful orange coat and put on plenty of weight. I made lots of friends, cat and human. So, when Syros Cats started, I was already there and I helped plant the lavender in the field and watched them building the first sheds. In the early days, there weren’t many adoptions, so I never found another home.

After a couple of winters outside and me not getting any younger, I decided to move inside the house. There were some fat cats there already, but they were friendly and made space for me as long as I didn’t get too close or personal. I humoured the humans by playing by their rules – using the litter tray, not stealing their food, doing high fives for treats. I just love those meaty sticks and am always alert for the rustle they make as they come out of the packet.

I’ve had a few health problems.  I had to have surgery on my nose, because I got some sun damage – it’s very hot here in the summer and I’ve had the occasional cold – but mostly I keep fit.  I have regular food, good company and in winter I sleep on my human’s bed. She has an electric blanket and I really like that. In summer, I sleep outside as it’s hot in the house, but I have a bed on the terrace, so I’m very comfortable.

All in all, I have a good life here – I’m not going anywhere and I definitely avoid small dark spaces…

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