Written by Joanne Kontaxopoulos-Rabe – Founder and Chairman – Harties Feral Cat Rescue
Professional photography by Top Shot Photography
On the 8th of April 2021, Jill Heinrich, feral carer at one of our biggest colonies, collected her domestic worker from her home. A little black fur ball had been dumped with the poor woman and, knowing Jill was an animal angel, she handed her over.
The sweet furball was very young, approximately three to four weeks old, skin and bone, with eyes so badly infected that maggots had already hatched in the crust in and around her eyes. Jill took her to the vet, who cleaned and treated her eyes, but it was soon evident, during follow-up visits, that this little girl had lost her sight.
The kitten was placed with me in temporary foster care, as she had to be kept in a confined space owing to her disability. She was very uncertain and constantly suckled on her blanket for comfort. She managed very well in finding her way around the room, knew where the food and water was, used the litter tray, and played with the toys.
Shortly after coming to me, she developed chronic diarrhoea, and we subsequently discovered it was due to a hernia. The vet advised we only correct the hernia at the time of her sterilisation, so this poor little mite had to endure another couple of weeks of diarrhoea as her weight was still dangerously low. The operation was a huge success and she started exploring!
Somewhere along the line I knew that this would be a foster fail. I couldn’t bear the thought of not having this little miracle around. I slowly allowed her to explore the rest of the house, as other foster kittens were adopted. My older cats immediately accepted her, with no sign of aggression from any of them. Then I named her… Stevie Nix, after one of my favourite female vocalists! As they say in Afrikaans – “Die koeel was deur die kerk”!
She’s very much a loner who enjoys being cuddled but not picked up. I think she feels unsettled if her paws aren’t on the ground. She follows me around and especially enjoys the trips to the bird feeder in my garden. One morning, I heard a loud splash. Stevie had misjudged her steps and fallen into the pool. I was ready to jump in, but she swam quicker than my reaction.
She particularly loves her little pink mouse toy. She hides it in different places, randomly catches it, makes loud victorious growls, and promptly drops her gift at my feet. She loves playing with the fly swatter, chasing bees, and her spiral ball tower. She adores sandwich ham, and as soon as she hears the fridge door opening, she’s there quicker than a flash to beg for that ham! Her hearing abilities are so good! When I arrive home in the evenings and she hears the garage door opening, she rushes down the stairs to meet me.