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15 June 2015

Decorfolia's rodent officers

In the 15 years that I have been with Decorfolia many cats have come and gone. Some like Ugly Bugly and Peaches just passed through whilst on their travels (Ugly did eventually spend his retirement with us). Others like Harry and Gandolf made Decorfolia their permanent home, spending most of their time relaxing in our hot glasshouses or sunning themselves around the site.

Gandolf relaxing
Gandolf relaxing behind the office

Iggy 'the office cat' spent the most time here, he turned up as a stray in 2004 tired of his travels and we instantly bonded. So began a close friendship that would last for 10 years, sadly though he passed away in his sleep last August. No one knew how old he was exactly but the vet said many years ago that he was 'getting on'...

Many months went by without a cat here, the odd stray briefly visited but none stayed. The mice in the meantime had gained confidence and some of our tropical plants had been attacked and nibbled, something that has never happened before. Decorfolia needed a new 'rodent officer' to get things under control and anyway the place felt empty without a feline presence...

A quick phone call was made to our local rescue centre and yes they did have some feral cats desperate for a home. Lymington Cat and Kitten Rescue as all rescue centres struggle to house these wild moggies but as we have proved over the years. With the right surroundings and a little patience (Gandolf took 6 months to coax out from under the hedge) even the most feral of cats can become gentle and sociable...

So at the beginning of January I popped along to see if there was a cat suitable for our needs (read mouse killer). 10 minutes later I had fallen for a young family of 3, mum, dad and kitten cowering in the corner of a holding pen. They had been caught on a building site a few months earlier and desperately needed a home. I could not bare to see them split up, so said we would take the whole family...

At the end of January after all their jabs and ops had healed, they moved into a glasshouse we use mainly for storage (and Patsy grows her tomatoes and peppers in there). We set up Iggy's old bed/kennel and a gravity feeder so food was always available and left them to settle in. The first couple of weeks none of us saw a hair or whisker of them, but the food was going down, so they must be there. In February a motion activated camera was put in to see what was going on. Well, as the pictures below show Willow (dad), Hazel (mum) and Bracken (kitten) were happy and enjoying the space we had given them. Still though if any of us went in, not a sign of life...

It is now June and all 3 have learnt to use the cat flap in and out of their glasshouse. They will take food from my hand and allow me and the select few to make a fuss of them, they even purr and seem to enjoy it. Willow has spent a rainy day relaxing in the office (as I write this he is curled up in a chair beside me). The rodent problem is now a thing of the past and I am regularly given gifts, chewed pigeon wing and the odd rabbit. They are still very feral though, hunting as a pride and generaly behaving as though they were living in the 'Serengeti' but still very wary of any one or thing they do not know...

The pictures below show some of the cats that have shared their lives with Decorfolia over the years.
Select a thumbnail to view a larger image and use the 'arrows' to navigate...

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