Gatta the cat runs this place.
Fabrizio, one of our neighbors, brought her to Pretena about 10 years ago. She has been the sole proprietor of this country plot, managing the comings and goings of every little critter within 100 meters around the house. Cats are really good to have around. They seem to get a kick out of their own little hunting games and we are all better off as a result.
With distinct markings of black and white, Gatta (which means cat) is rather easy to spot hiding in the bushes, quietly waiting to pounce. More often though, these days, she is crouched down low on top of the stone wall, thinking she is camoflaged by nature. We just act like we can’t see her—it helps her self-esteem. Now, she has aged and gained some weight. The hunting instinct is still there but the will to hunt has slowed considerably. However, that doesn’t seem to change anything about her belief in this being her territory.
Then Laura, our other neighbor brought a new cat, Piru, to Pretena this year. She is white with black and brown markings, slim, lively and ready to play. She has definitely picked up the slack from where Gatta left off, secretly prowling the same territory, unbeknownst to the queen cat. We have really enjoyed Piru’s youthful antics. You just never know what she’ll do next. One day she was standing at our kitchen door and suddenly launched herself sideways about 10 feet in the air landing somewhere in the side yard—with a wild look in her eyes. That’s normal! She mostly comes out on the weekends, as she is a city cat during the weekdays. So when she arrives, it is a marathon “play/hunt” routine that continues until she leaves again on Monday morning.
Lately there has been a gray third cat hanging around. At first it was a bit unnerving to see her lingering around the house with those eerie hazel eyes. She was always mysteriously disappearing into the bushes whenever we got close. And as she slipped away we could see her crooked, broken tail shaped like the number 7—which also seemed a bit wierd. Over the past several months, however, we have seen a different side of that old girl. She has developed the habit of sleeping just outside our bedroom window. She isn’t loud, frisky or territorial. She doesn’t appear to belong to anyone, and there is a soothing peacefulness about this loner-cat that is starting to grow on us.
Perhaps we are beginning to mellow as the years pass. As much as we enjoy crouching Gatta and hunter Piru, there is something about this older gray cat that resonates. Maybe it’s that her eyes are really unusual, or that her smokey gray coat is somewhat nondescript. It could be that homelessness tugs a bit at our heartstrings. We like that she never tries to become the center of attention. But lately, we are wondering if her soft-spoken appeal could possibly be in the broken tail that is so strangely endearing. After all, the number 7 has always been our lucky number.
Note: You may also enjoy our other stories about cats.