is the story of ‘Little Cat’, she is the inspiration of the Agni
Animal Welfare Fund and her presence in Agni Bay in
2005 has brought help for many other
cats like her and encouraged us to set up the fund in order to try
and help more of the animals on Corfu.
It was the end of January, 2005 when we returned to Corfu. We often
visited the beach in the winter even though it was a bit cold for
swimming!!! Nathan could often be found working down at the
Taverna and this particular day Theo and Alex had just brought the
fishing boat in and were going through the nets sorting their catch.
They were throwing the damaged fish to the cats that were lined
up on the beach. There was about four or five of them enjoying the
fish scraps except for one little cat who was always last to get
to the fish and lost out every time. I caught the next one myself
and stayed with the little cat whilst she struggled to eat the fish
I gave her. The little cat was very thin, had half her fur missing
down one side, and the fur she did have was scruffy and greasy,
she had sores on her back and her face, and she struggled to eat.
I was a little reluctant to touch her at first, and my only thought
at the time was to get her to a vet to have her put to sleep, she
looked so sick there seemed no hope for her and I wanted to put
her out of her misery.
few days later when visiting a friend, a little
cat came in identical to the one
I had seen on the beach. I explained to
our friends about the cat I had found on the beach. They were very
surprised to hear about the cat and explained to us that they had
taken several cats from Agni
beach at the end of the season but
could not keep them all so had spayed them and
returned some to the beach. They were
immediately concerned about the cat and asked us to take her back
in order to take her to the vet.
We took her back, she saw the vet and was
treated for dehydration, we were told
there was not very much wrong with her, she was just not getting
enough food. They asked if we could make
sure she got some food each day. Her fur had been shaved when she
was spayed and was not growing back because
she was so run down.
next few weeks in Corfu were particularly wet, as Corfu winters
tend to be, so I spent many damp hours during those weeks looking
for the little cat to give her food. Nathan was often working down
at the taverna, so we would have a coffee
together whilst I waited for the little cat to turn up. She would
often arrive long after the others had had their food so I would
take her to one side and give her a little pot of food of her own
and stayed with her until she had eaten it all. On the days she
did not come to the taverna I had to search
up and down the road calling for her, feeding her in the back of
the car when it was pouring with rain!!
After a few weeks, she began to recognise me and know what I had
come for, she began to get a little stronger, but still her fur
was not growing. We kept up the feeding until the time came for
us to return to the UK. There was about
4 or 5 weeks to go before the season began again, so Nathan continued
to feed her, Alex and Theo made sure she got a share of the
scraps from the fishing boat, and with their help she continued
returned to Corfu later in the summer and as I walked along the
path on the beach, there at the corner of Agni Taverna sat ‘Little
Cat’ looking very fit and well. Her sores had gone from her back
and face, and her fur had grown back and as I called to her she
came running to me. She still knew me and later
that year waited for me to help her yet again!!
Cat” had a good summer, met lots of friends who knew her from the
previous summer when she was a kitten, they all had their own name
for her, she slept under and on their sunbeds and enjoyed the fuss
she received. She was now much stronger, her fur was glossy and
clean and she fought off all the other cats and was obviously now
in charge and ‘Queen’ of the beach cats.
BUT this is not the end of her story…….
Just as the season was drawing to a close we
realised she had not
been seen for several days. We
asked if anyone had seen her, but no-one had, Alex was convinced
he had seen her in Kalami a couple of days previously. We
went to Kalami the next day to look
for her but she was nowhere to be seen. A couple
of days later we returned to the Taverna
it was due to close the following day. As I walked in Alex greeted
me and said “your little cat has just returned” she had walked in
only minutes before I had arrived. She came running up to me when
she heard my voice but as I looked down at her I was horrified to
see a large raw patch on the back of her neck which could only have
been a burn. A horrible burn, her fur was gone and her skin was
raw. It began to dawn on us that this was no accident, we believe
she had been burned deliberately!! - and we do
have suspicions as to who it was - what
a terrible thing to do to an animal
and she was not the only one!!
Another of the stray cats also had a similar burn on his side, he appeared to have recovered.
(Injury is partially healed
in this picture)
We were devastated to find the
little cat in this terrible state after all she had suffered
during the previous winter and was now so fit and well. I picked
her up and took her home with me to treat her wound and make sure
she was fit before returning her to the beach.
wound healed but has left her with a scar, and
for a while she continued to live at the beach near the taverna
where, Theo, Nathan and family kept an eye on her.
Until one morning when Theo called me to say
the little cat was unwell and crying, I went and collected her and
took her to the vet. We could find no visible injury but suspected
she had been kicked and was suffering from internal bruising. After
a while she improved and when visiting the beach one day with her,
she did not want to come back with us, so we left her there, as
it appeared that was where she wanted to be. We continued to take
her food during the wintertime until one day, I was very late, and
rushed down to the beach to take food for the cats, there
laying in the grass beside the taverna was 'Little Cat' waiting
for me to arrive - oh no not again I thought.
I fed the other cats and left them food she continued to lay there,
she did not come for food but just lay and waited for me to go to
her. I knew when I first saw her something was wrong, I picked her
up and took her home. She was in pain and losing the use of her
back legs and dragged then about. We took her to the vets where
we found she possibly had an abscess on her spine, which we believe
occurred as a result of being kicked a few weeks earlier when Theo
found her crying.
began to realise this little girls nine lives were reducing fast
and this time she was NOT going back. It took many months of injections
and constant attention from the vet, who I have to thank for her
dedication, as she herself thought that the little cat was unlikely
to recover. It took almost a year for her to recover fully but thankfully
she did, and now she lives with us permanently. She has a passport
and travels to England with us and lives mainly as an indoor cat.
is now called Effie and is one very lucky cat. I wish all
the cats we find could have such a happy ending. Effie has inspired
us to help more cats and with the kind support of visitors to Corfu
we have been able to help many more and will continue to do so for
as long as we can.
is now eight years later since the little cat came to live with
us in the UK and sadly on the 22nd November 2013, Effie died. It
was rather sudden and quite a shock, she went quite quickly with
health problems but she had enjoyed eight really good healthy years
with us. Her life was not in vain, she is our mascot, our inspiration
to begin the charity and we will continue to run the charity in
her memory. She will always be remembered.