Timmie, a Street Cat in the City of Amsterdam
by Maria Clara
Roof cat in Amsterdam - photo added by Michael - photo by sndrspk (Flickr)
I am not sure if the situation in the Netherlands is the same as is described on your feral cat page, I think not. One of the sweetest cats that lived with me was Timmie who roamed the streets in the block where I used to live.
In the area where I lived, a lot of street cats (maybe even feral cats) lived on the rooftops in between and behind the apartment buildings. Most people living in an apartment near the rooftops used to feed the cats. One day, most of the cats on the rooftop were gone, disappeared. I used to think some institution took them and killed them, maybe after a complaint.
So, when I met Timmie, who wasn't really a feral cat, more an abandoned, ill street cat, I took her home. She was the skinniest cat I've ever seen, almost bald on her back, covered in fleas, and (so it seemed at the time) the ugliest cat I had ever seen.
At first, I had no intention to take her home. I already owned a cat. More importantly, I lived with my boyfriend who was a 'dog- person', and he claimed to dislike cats very much. So, I decided I would leave water and food at the entrance of our building for the cat.
And so I did, with the intention to do this every day. However, as soon as I had put down the food and water, the cat started to drink and eat in a way I had never seen before. And now that she was busy with the food and water, I could take a closer look at her. I was sure this cat was ill, and needed help.
So I took the risk of an argument with my boyfriend. Street cat Timmie followed me when I opened the door. When I opened the apartment door she ran inside, sat down on one of the chairs and started washing herself.
I was sure now that she wasn't a feral cat. That same day I took her to the vet, and it appeared that she was quite ill. The fleas were handled, I got medicine from the vet. My boyfriend had returned home, and I expected a tantrum of some kind. All he said was "...what took you so long. I saw that cat a couple of weeks ago, and I was wondering how long it would take before you would take it home".
Still, I had no intentions of keeping the cat, because of my other cat, who didn't like this street cat at all. I was in trouble, because I couldn't bring her to an Animal Centre, because I was still sure she would be killed.
A couple of weeks later, the little street cat started to blossom, and became a beautiful, elegant, pretty tabby (mackerel). And my cat and the street cat had become the best of friends.
I left notes everywhere in the neigbourhood, the famous "Poezenboot" in Amsterdam and finally decided to call the Animal Centre, just to tell them I had found a street cat (in case some desperate owner was looking for her).
When I called, the phone was answered by a woman I used to know. She assured me that if I would ever decide to bring this cat to the Animal Centre, they would not kill it, that no such thing was done in Amsterdam.
For a couple of months several people who read my notes came to my house, hoping I had found their beloved cat. But my street cat was not theirs.
Timmie stayed with me for almost 20 years, and died quietly of old age on my bed.