I was living in Torrozelo when I saw her for the first time.

Torrozelo is a small  village in Serra da Estrela, which is the highest mountain in continental Portugal. My bedroom had a big balcony where I could see the mountain and its valleys. Our backyard had several trees and one of the apple trees was so big that the branches reached the balcony.

One summer night I woke up with the loud sound of a cat fight. I went to the balcony and I saw two to three cats on the grass near the apple tree and they were looking at the top of the tree. I also look up and I saw a small kitten with orange, black and grey patches. I made some noise to scare the big cats and they ran off. The small kitten just looked at me with frighten eyes. I thought to myself that she would eventually find her way back home.

The next morning I went to the balcony and she was still in the same place. Maybe she was too scared to go down and find the big cats again. But she was too far from the balcony for me to grab her and bring her to safe ground. So I decided to call her and hopefully she would come in my direction. I called. She looked at me and meowed. She started to walk slowly towards my voice. When she was close enough, I grabbed her against my chest and I let her down in the balcony floor. She rubbed herself against my legs with the tail up. I pet her and she started to purr. From that moment on, a strong bond was made between both of us.

After my trip to Scotland last September, she wasn’t eating anything and she was sleeping above my bed all day long. I took her to the vet and they told me that she might have been depressed and anxious during my absence. When cats are stressed, they stop eating and their liver starts to accumulate all the fat which leads to liver malfunctioning and consequently to pancreas and stomach problems. A feeding tube had to be inserted through her nose in order to feed her with liquefied food directly to her stomach.

She spent one week in the vet and one more week at home with the feeding tube. I thought I was going to loose her and I wasn’t ready for that. I wanted to grab her against my chest and save her again like I did twelve years ago. I wanted to speak the same language as her, so I could explain her why after leaving her alone I was putting herself through all those medical treatments. I wanted to say that everything was going to be fine. She just needed to eat again on her own. Luckily, after several attempts with salmon, shrimp and even chourizo, she started to eat on her own.

Now she is a fat and happy cat again!

It is hard to explain how special and fulfilling the relationship between pets and people can be. Maybe because it is a very honest and straightforward relationship. I like you. You like me. Let’s be friends forever.

In the back of my mind I know she will be gone in a few years and I try to cherish the time I still have with her. When the day comes, it will be a very sad day, but I’ll be grateful that one day she decided to climb my apple tree.

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