Nellie From Nelspruit


Written by Jill Burrows

It was a very cold Friday evening at Nelspruit’s Bundu Lodge and it was pouring with rain. My husband, Mike, navigated for the VW Motorsport Rally Team and was staying over. Over the rain, he could hear a kitten crying. Mike went out in search of the kitten but could not find it.

The next morning it was still freezing, still pouring, and Mike could still hear the kitten crying…

Crying in the rain

Off he went to look again. The Bundu Lodge rooms are made of wood and built on poles; huddled up in a very sorry state next to one of these poles Mike finally found a tiny, soggy kitten. He put her in his rally cap (that’s how small she was), dried her, and took her with him to the Parc Fermé where all the drivers, navigators and cars congregate. I’d been staying in Graskop, which is just over an hour’s drive away, and went through to meet Mike not knowing what was going to greet me. We already had two cats and Mike had a concern that every time we had three cats we lost one, so we started to ask around if anybody would give this precious little soul a home. 

In the meantime I’d rushed the kitten to the vet in Sabie for a check-up. The vet said that the kitten had snuffles, which had affected her peripheral vision slightly, but, other than that, she was fine. He estimated that she was about five weeks old – and said we’d have to bottle-feed her. By this time you have guessed we had totally fallen in love with her.  

The sun will come out

The rally ended on the Saturday afternoon and Mike and I had planned to stay until the Monday to go sightseeing, not realising we would have a little kitten to take around with us too. I must say she was very good; she meowed her little head off when it was feeding time but then went back to sleep. That Sunday we were visiting Pilgrim’s Rest and a lady asked if she could have her – by this time the answer was a firm ‘no’.

Nellie has the most unusual colouring – grey and tan – and is one of the prettiest cats I’ve seen. When we got home we introduced her to the rest of the family with little bother. Nellie was obviously quite wild and the scratches I got on my hands were unbelievable – but well worth it.

Due to Nellie having to be fed every couple of hours I had to take her to work, so she obviously got lots of attention there. The following week both Mike and I had to go away on business so Mike’s poor mum had to ‘kitty sit’ for one night. Disaster struck on the first day as the teat on the feeding bottle broke and Mike’s mum had to drive around (and she didn’t enjoy driving) looking for a vet that sold the teats for the bottle (which she eventually did).

Nellie is now nine years old; it’s taken her a long time to trust and become sociable, but she now tells you when she wants her food and she comes and sits on your lap and falls asleep, which is marvellous. She absolutely loves her Whiskas cat biscuits. I lose count of how many little bowls of them she eats in a day, and she enjoys her wet cat food at night. Nellie has turned into the most beautiful cat, as I’m sure you’ll agree from her photo. 

From a very rotten start in life we now hope she is content, secure and knows that she is loved. I called her Nellie as I always used to refer to her as ‘Nellie from Nelspruit’. She is now just our beautiful Nellie.