Stanley

The Turk has disclosed his deeply guarded secret.  It seems he is a bit of an old softie at heart.  As you know since my mother in law’s passing our family has taken over feeding the Village Kedi’s.  This has been generally successful ie My Hurley Dog has only chased the cats a few times, the Turk always buys extra cat biscuits (when they are on sale) and Daughter is happy that the cats have not been discarded by the family.

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Let me introduce you to Stanley.  Named by Daughter Stanley is a personable little beggar.  Has a very distinct meow you can hear two towns over and loves nothing more than to sit on your lap (or your shoulder).  I would often open my front door to find Stanley sitting patiently by the door in the hope of a feed or a pet and he would often walk around the block with My Hurley Dog and I (at a reasonable distance as My Hurley Dog would sometimes give chase).

When Daughter and I returned from Istanbul she did her usual head count of the Village Kedi’s and Stanley was missing.  “He’s probably just out in the garden somewhere,” was my suggestion.  Another couple of days passed and Stanley was still nowhere to be found, “Dead,” I whispered to The Turk out of Daughter’s earshot.  He would shrug and change the subject, after all he is not a fan of the Village Kedi’s.

Last Saturday night we were having a BBQ at my father in law’s house.  Suddenly Daughter screamed from the street out front.  I ran out to find her bent over what appeared to be a dead cat, “Mum, it’s Stanley.  Look at his tail!”

I looked.  Gangrene.  Yikes.  Poor buggar was probably hit by a car.  Probably about a week ago.  Frankly it was a miracle that it lasted this long.  I chased all the children away and ran to get a cage but by the time I returned Stanley had disappeared.  Daughter was distraught but The Turk and I got her off to bed and went back outside to search for him to no avail.

On Tuesday night I was taking My Hurley Dog for a walk when he started going crazy at an abandoned shop.  I stopped and stared at the door (must have looked like quite the goose).  I put my ear closer and could hear that distinct little meow albeit quite weak meow that belonged to Stanley.  I ran back home and grabbed the cage and The Turk.  He broke into the shop (“it’s ok it belongs to my cousin” was his reply when I questioned his breaking and entering) and searching through the darkness he finally found Stanley cowering in the corner.

With some BBQ chicken and a miracle Stanley came over to The Turk (still walking = good sign) and we got him into a cage.  Wednesday morning The Turk took Stanley to the vet and stayed with him most of the day (because he did not want him to be alone).  Stanley was operated on and unfortunately the gangrene was pretty bad.  He lost his tail but the vet was positive with the outcome of the operation.  Stanley should recover from this ordeal a little wiser (keep away from cars) and a little lighter (well he has lost his tail).

The Turk brought Stanley home last night and we moved the walking wounded in the empty apartment downstairs along with My Hurley Dog’s bed, more BBQ chicken, water and milk.  The Turk sat with him for a while “just to make sure he is alright”.

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When I woke this morning The Turk was not beside me.  I got up and, on a hunch, scooted downstairs.  Low and behold there he was on the floor with Stanley asleep beside him.  Yep it seems The Turk is a bit of a softie despite his gruffness to most of the world.  He had better watch out.  People are going to think he is nice or something.

Sex in the Stairwell

Not me and The Turk – get your minds out of the gutters people.  It is mating season for cats in Turkey at the moment and the Village Kediler have been busy at it morning, noon and night.  My mother in law had what we fondly called “the whacking stick” to give a good tap to any cat who ventured too close to her Nanu or any of its offspring.  Of course since my mother in law passed away I (and My Hurley Dog) have taken on the job of protecting the strays from lusting he-cats.

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As you all know from my posts here and here My Hurley Dog is not a fan of Nanu and this revulsion is equally reciprocated by her however since the onslaught of two particularly nasty (and horny) he-cats My Hurley Dog and Nanu have maintained a relatively calm cease fire.  Nanu has been cornered on more than one occasion by the nasty he-cats and My Hurley Dog upon hearing it or seeing it races past Nanu straight for the culprit.  It seems that My Hurley Dog has accepted that he must share his domain with the Villager Kediler but dog damn it (typo but stays) he will not share with these two interlopers that have nothing but sex on the mind.

Last night it all came to a head when it seems I forgot to lock the downstairs door thereby allowing our stairwell to become, well, a bordello for the evening.  At around 3 am the sound of horny he-cats coupled with screeching she-cats woke us all up.  Daughter screamed thinking we were under attack, The Turk merely put a pillow over his head and went back to sleep which left me and My Hurley Dog to go and stop the onslaught.

Opening the front door I was confronted with the site of Nanu and two of her offspring screaming past me followed by big buff ginger and white he-cat spitting fire as he ran up the stairs in hot pursuit.  Well this was all My Hurley Dog would stand for and he slid past me and chased all 4 of them onto the roof.  I too gave chase (grabbing my whacking stick on the way) and arrived on the rooftop to witness he-cat on top of small ginger girl, Nanu attacking he-cat from behind and My Hurley Dog throwing himself into the mix.  I ran screaming, ninja style across the roof wielding my whacking stick and sent all 4 of them in different directions.  Just then the light came on from my niece’s window next door and My Hurley Dog and I came to a running halt, shocked by the light or perhaps embarrassment.  My niece stuck her head out the window “Ne yapiyorsun?” (What am you doing?).

I must have looked ridiculous standing there in my ugg boots, wielding my whacking stick at non-existent cats (as all of them scattered as soon as the light came on).  I sheepishly waved goodnight and ran back downstairs, locked the security door and returned to my bed.  Daughter informed me that it sounded like elephants were running across the roof (thank you!) and The Turk asked me to get him a glass of water!

Good night!!

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My Kedi Cat

My Kedi Cat has lived a few lives since she came into this world.  Her first life was that of a stray.  Part feral, she and her mother lived in a dumpster bin behind a warehouse complex.  Caught they were taken to the Animal Welfare League which was where she began her second life when Daughter and I adopted her New Year’s Eve 2011.  She was a nasty little blighter.  She hated me with a passion.  Daughter and The Turk were accepted as her humans but me – nope – she would bite, scratch, hiss and attack me by throwing herself from the vestibule when I passed by.  I did not call her by her name Kedi (which is Turkish for cat) I called her “that bloody cat that hates me” or “that black cat that hates me” if Daughter was within earshot.  “TBC” for short.

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When we discussed moving to Turkey and taking our fur-friends I have to be honest, I did not want to bring TBC.  There are enough cats in Turkey do we really need to bring one with us?  I argued, I begged, I pleaded but to no avail.  Both The Turk and Daughter (and apparently My Hurley Dog) wanted TBC to come to Turkey too.  So putting aside the extra cost of bringing TBC to Turkey I realised that this particular cat never spends any time indoors.  In fact after we adopted her it only took her a few days before she escaped and lived in the backyard.  This of course is a new problem as we could not let her out of our home in Turkey as those Karaduvar “Kamikazi” cats (have a read about these terrors here or here)  will no doubt kill her on sight.  So what do we do?

You may recall when The Turk arrived in Mersin he immediately instructed builders to extend our balcony and it now wraps its way around the front of our apartment.  It is a good size, certainly not huge, but enough to keep My Hurley Dog and TBC out of trouble and to give them some outdoor area.  It is still not finished yet (we are now onto our second builder – don’t ask) but both My Hurley Dog and TBC spend time out there already in the sunshine, the dog helping the builders and the cat stalking birds and watching the neighbourhood cats.

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I must say that TBC has moved into her third life quite well.  I worried that she would try and escape or suicide off the balcony, but no, she is happy to sit in the sunshine or in front of the heater.  After her initial jetlag (she spent the first two weeks awake all night and sleeping all day) she has now acclimatised and other than a few crazed moments at 3am she is generally quite happy to sleep on my bed or sit with me, as she is doing right now, on my desk as I type my blog or check my emails.

That bloody cat that hates me has morphed into My Kedi Cat that I love.  My mother in law called her a princess and she was rarely wrong about anything.  Yes I agree.  A princess.

For the Love of Cats

My first visit to Turkey not only introduced me to The Turk but it also introduced me to the stray cats (and stray animals in general) in Turkey.  From the grizzly old tom cat waiting for the fishing boats to return or the protective mothers with tiny babies taking their first steps in Turkey, there were always cats sleeping, sunning and meowing their way into my heart.

Daughter has inherited her love of cats from me and so when she found an abandoned kitten during a visit to The Village a couple of years ago she immediately adopted said kitten and took it upon herself to nurse it back to health.  The kitten christened Nanu, was fed and loved by Daughter and by the time we returned to Australia Nanu was strong enough to survive although Daughter did leave strict instructions with her grandmother to continue to feed and care for the cat.

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Nanu still lives outside my mother in law’s house and now has babies of her own.  In fact, she is part of the kamikaze soldiers who are trying to take my Hurley Dog out and, in fact, seems to be the main protagonist in the attacks on him.

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When we first arrived here in September I noticed a little grey kitten living in the garden across the road.  After enquiries, I was told that this little one was from a litter of five, however, she is the only survivor as its mother died a couple of weeks back by an unknown cause.  I do not recall the mother cat but I do recall the cat carcass that was ripped apart by the stray dogs and left near our house.

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Daughter now has a new mission which is, of course, to save “Grey Cat” and before school each morning she rushes downstairs to put warm milk in a bowl near our door.  I have also caught her a few times slip food into her pocket and disappear after dinner – no doubt to feed Grey Cat or Nanu or one of the other kamikaze cats running around – but, of course, I would have done the same thing at her age so I simply smile to myself thankful that Daughter is such a caring soul.  Grey Cat is a nice looking little thing but after having chased it out of the house once already today I will have to instruct Daughter to make it a bed under the balcony where it will be protected by the elements but will not come into my home and agitate Kedi (and Hurley Dog for that matter).

And if you are wondering how Kedi feels about these interlopers I think he is quite content to spend his day watching the cats from the window or balcony and, despite me leaving the door open a few times, he will not venture outside anytime soon.  I am certain that he is confident in his reign of Lord and Master of this house and it only is with his approval that his scraps are given to those plebs outside.

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Turkish proverb

“If you have killed a cat, you need to build a mosque to be forgiven by God.”

Bad Hair Day?

You are not the only one.  Everyone has them.  I have had one practically every day since I have arrived here.  But today is not about me.  It is about my Hurley dog. Hurley is a cross bichon / poodle.  Probably not the best designed dog for the Turkish lifestyle.  Regardless he is part of this family and is given a lot of love and affection from not just us but now his extended family here.

Here is a photo of my Hurley dog on any given day.  Looking a little shaggy, a little dishevelled and a little like he has been lost on a deserted island after a plane crashed and was chased by polar bears.  Wait!  Hold on a minute.  That is Hurley from the TV show Lost (which was who he was named after due to the fact that Daughter watches way too much television).  But they do look remarkably similar do they not?

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Before leaving on his journey to Turkey I had Hurley sent to the kuafor for a tidy up – does he not look fantastic!  A doggy day spa in Australia is a pampering for your doggy baby.  He is shampooed, mani/pedi and if you say you want an inch off all over – that is what you get!

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But in Turkey it is obviously a little bit different.

I had asked The Turkey (typo but now that it is written I think it should stay) to take Hurley for a tidy up as he spends his days running around in the mud on the roads and farms and, of course, we are having building work done so there is concrete and dust and, well, he just downright smelled!  So after some telephone calls The Turk and Hurley went to Mezitli (the “fancy” part of Mersin) for his doggy day spa. Should I have gone?  Perhaps.  Will I go next time?  For sure!

Here is my Hurley dog having a really bad hair day in all its glory.

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My beautiful boy has been butchered!  I should mention that it is getting colder as every day goes by and that of an evening it can get downright chilly.  So Hurley has now taken to jumping into bed with us and grabbing the blanket to make his own “nest” to keep warm.

I might need to buy him a jacket.