Cats in Trees

Cats in Trees

Cats in Trees


Birds in trees, no problem. Cats in trees somehow don't look right.

OK, animals know when things are about to happen, a sixth sense that warns of impending disaster: earthquakes, tidal waves, floods. I look around, disbelieving. No sign of imminent doom. The birds are still singing - which they don't when the earth is winding up for a good old rumble, the sea is innocently calm, the sky true blue... Why, then, do we have cats in trees?

Lizzie pointed, stabbing the air sharply. "Dogs in platoon strength, my Prince."

A patter of paws on the pavement and they are with us, sniffing, wagging. These are not truly feral animals, they are domestic pets who have chosen to run with the pack in this delightful balmy location. Two of them have collars. Mostly well behaved and minding their own business. they come down to the streets for water and the occasional meal.

This street will eventually be called Avenida Maritima and there will be much development along its broad length, including our new apartment in the Cristimar complex. Like many new streets on the sunny south side of Tenerife this one has been driven through miles of empty rock, scrub and desert. Few places for pussy cats to roam. Well, there are a few options: the tops of high walls, builders' scaffolding, the tops of cars - and trees.

Here in 1985 it was all concrete mixers, rock drills, dumper trucks and immensely tall cranes. Fences were absent: a half completed pavement would run alongside open footings twenty feet deep. Dogs often fell to their deaths drowning in stagnant water they were so desperate to find.

Another English resident told us, "They can smell water, you know. And they go straight for it."

We are not well up on dogs. One animal took a liking to us, decided we were daft enough to feed him and followed us home. We gave him bowls of lovely cold water and dog food to eat. Politely he accepted our offerings with a wag and a smile, but refused all offers of domestication. Long legged with rough hair: we decided he was a lurcher.

We told ourselves that the shooting we heard evenings and early mornings was for rabbits, but coincidence insisted that the absence of dogs foretold a more sinister purpose for, sadly, our long-legged feral friend whom we named El Principe never returned. The cats may have felt differently about it.


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