By Kay Bentley

It seems only yesterday when we visited to ‘have a look’ and returned home with a kitten.

He was such a small kitten, he fitted into the palm of my hand. We were advised that he was feral and very timid and we therefore had to be patient. When we took him home he hid behind the sofa and refused to come out. Eventually he plucked up the courage to emerge and when I bent down to stroke him he shot across the room and squeezed under the bookcase. He refused to move, we lay flat on our stomachs and peered under the cupboard into the darkness and tried to persuade him to come out, he peered back and meowed pitifully. Then he fell asleep.

After some time had passed and the kitten still refused to move, we had to take all the books and ornaments off the bookcase and slowly tip the cupboard onto its side before I was able to reach down and pick him up. He struggled and scratched because he hated to be held and when I put him down he again ran behind the sofa. It took nearly 24 hours before he was brave enough to venture from his hiding place.

Neither James or myself had ever cared for a kitten and we rushed to the local shops to stock up on cat litter, litter tray, food and I borrowed a book from neighbour. Slowly ‘Morris’ began to trust us although very nervous and shy still. He was introduced to our 2 Yorkshire Terriers and fell in love with the smallest, Mo, and clung to her coat whenever she passed him by. Everywhere Mo went, Morris followed.

Morris was always hungry and continually cried for food. He seemed to double his size in a week. He was slowly beginning to trust us and would sometimes sit on my lap and allow me to stroke him although he would soon become bored and want to be put down. The first time he purred made us feel as if we had achieved something.

After a month had passed, he became ill. He lost his appetite and I noticed in his litter tray he was passing water and blood. We rushed him to the vets and he seemed so tiny on the examining table. The vet explained that he was very small for his age and underweight. The vet took his temperature and this was very high as he had a fever. Morris had to be supported on the table to receive his injection and never even cried during the process. His eyes were also glazed which was a bad sign. I could not believe how he had deteriorated so fast. In one day he had become so ill.

The vet explained that he had an internal infection and had a 50/50 chance of pulling through. However, he had a high temperature and until the antibiotics could begin to work he had little chance of improving. Luckily Morris recovered although this took much nursing and was hand fed. The dogs knew something was wrong and Mo snuggled up with him and kept him warm.

Morris has grown so much now and changed in so many ways. He is very inquisitive and on many occasions I have accidentally shut him in a cupboard. He still adores Mo and cries when he is left behind without her. Morris only likes affection if he has asked for it. He still hides up sometimes and pretends he cannot hear us calling for him. He is a very small cat compared to our neighbours and has a Siamese appearance. His markings are perfect and many have remarked on this, and he has a slinky head and rather slanty eyes. We love Morris very much.

In my first letter / explained how we had visited your cat sanctuary and given a home to a feral kitten. Morris has grown since I last wrote and his personality has also changed.

At first, Morris was very timid and hated to be picked up or shown affection. He very rarely purred and always seemed to be unhappy. His only love was the Yorkshire Terrier ‘Mo’ who had nursed him back to health when he was ill. Whenever we picked Morris up, he scratched and wriggled to be put down and if cornered would hiss and spit. I began to wonder if he would ever show affection towards us. When eating he would rush his food and glance worriedly about. He never played with any of the toys we bought him and showed no interest when James tried to coax him out of his hiding place. If a visitor arrived, Morris would disappear up a corner and crouch there as low as possible with his back to us.

Morris was very clean from the very first day we brought him home and always used his litter tray. We tried to coax him outside, but he would only stare out of the patio doors with wide eyes at the birds and listen to the strange noises. Slowly he went further down the garden, especially if I was gardening and would watch with interest. One day he disappeared for nearly 2 hours and we searched everywhere. I was close to tears, imagining he was lost. He waltzed into the lounge oblivious to the panic he had caused and seemed quite pleased with himself and his adventure. He actually let us pick him up and give him a cuddle.

Slowly the strokes progressed to cuddles and he would allow us to tickle behind his ears and stroke his stomach while he contentedly purred. He became more adventurous; any cupboard left open was to be inspected. He began to climb the garden fence and also discovered the neighbours’ garage roof and on Bonfire Night became stuck in the guttering. On that cold dark night, with fireworks screaming in the sky, I had to climb up a 6ft fence and balance on the top to try and reach him. He seemed to think it was a game and tried to bite my fingers. Eventually he came down of his own accord.

He began to grow and his coat became glossy and his eyes bright. He became more outgoing and was less shy with strangers. He made friends with our neighbours’ cats and would look into their patio window and stare at them, as if to say "are you coming out to play?". His best friend was still Mo and they would often play together.

He is now much more affectionate and always wakes us up in the mornings to be fed. He is very inquisitive and sits on the kitchen window ledge so that he can survey other passing cats. He adores James and follows him into the bathroom to watch him have a bath. He also likes to bite his feet. He cries if we take the dogs for a walk and he is left behind. When we return he is usually sitting at the top of the stairs, sulking, and has to have lots of hugs to cheer him up.

Sadly Morris, always an adventurer, fell victim to a car.