By Maria Clara
Sometimes a cat lover does bad things by objective standards.
In 1989 I was involved in the kidnapping of a cat living in an apartment on the 2nd floor of a building alongside one of Amsterdam’s canals.
A friend of mine, a passionate cat lover, lived on the 1st floor. Her neighbours on the 2nd floor were (by our standards as cat lovers) guilty of animal cruelty.
These people kept cats as mousers only. Convinced that a cat doesn’t need anything but the mice they catch, they didn’t feed their cats with any proper cat food at all. When the family went out, they left their cats on a tiny balcony, regardless of the weather conditions, and without any food, water or shelter.
My friend tried to talk with her neighbours about this with no result. At that time the legal possibilities for Animal Protection were limited in this type of situation. They law couldn’t help.
My friend couldn’t be a silent witness and leave it at that. She used to wait for an opportunity to steal the neighbor’s cats by climbing onto their balcony. She would then find a good home for the kidnapped cats. Her intention was, of course, that the neighbors would stop taking cats. However, they went on and on.
On Thursday, March 29, 1989 another kidnapping was planned by my friend. That afternoon my house became the hiding place for another stolen cat.
My friend brought me the most beautiful all black cat. I named her Yaba, being the name for a girl born on Thursday in Surinames and in some African languages.
She was tiny, much less than half the size of the other normal sized cats living in my apartment. I’ve never seen Singapuras (the smallest cat breed) in real live, but my estimate is that Yaba was even smaller.
I took her to the vet, and it appeared that she was 6 months old, and in the process of dying. The only thing that could save her, could also kill her. A specific type of “heavy” medicine. This tiny, black beauty appeared to be a fighter, and she survived, although she later died at a relatively young age.
She did have some behavioural problems too, such as food aggression and aggression to human males when they tried to pet her. Gradually, over a time period of three years her behavioral problems disappeared. She lived with me for 9 years.
I’ve always wondered if she was this tiny because of the malnourishment and abuse in her childhood. Even in my cat household with a lot of cat food (and mice too), she didn’t grow any larger.