Along with Melassa, Animalcouriers will be collecting Oscar from Nine Lives Greece. As a poorly kitten Oscar was fortunate enough to come to the attention of a cat-lover in Athens who called on Nine Lives Greece for help. Now Oscar has regained his health and is off to a new home in London. Cordelia takes up his story:

“Last October, Nine Lives Greece was asked for help by a very caring older man who runs a parking lot in central Athens. He feeds several cats there, and sees the females constantly getting pregnant and giving birth, the kittens getting killed on the road, the males getting battle-scarred and injured — and he really wanted help to stop this sad cycle by getting them sterilised.

So Eleni and Cordelia set off with a car-ful of cat traps and set them up in the parking lot. Because the man had followed our advice not to feed the cats before we came, we had trapped four adult cats in no time.

The man told us that was all of the cats from his car-park, but that he was also feeding more cats living in the abandoned building next door. At the entrance we were greeted by the body of a fluffy black-and-white cat in the bin. The man told us that the cat had been run over that very morning. “And I’m worried,” he added, “as she was a mother cat, and somewhere in there must be her only surviving baby.”

At that minute, a tiny kitten limped out from the rubbish in the doorway of the building, hobbling along on his usual route to find the food bowl. When he stopped in his tracks to stare at us we could see his face was mostly bald; also, he could hardly walk due to something huge on his side obstructing his gait.

It was the work of a minute to lure him into a cage with sardines, and soon he was at the vet being examined. He didn’t hiss, just sat there in quiet terror as the vet diagnosed mange and a hernia. He stayed at the vet for three weeks getting treatment for mange, and waiting to grow big and strong enough to withstand the anaesthetic for the hernia operation. Amazingly, during that period, the hernia gradually shrank and finally disappeared. Meanwhile, his hair grew back thick and silky and plush, and he started to greet the vet with a purr and a tummy tickle when she opened his cage.

Finally, he was deemed well enough to leave the vet, and moved into his foster home with Rosie, a Nine Lives volunteer who had just started fostering. After hiding under the sofa for all of five minutes, he was soon exploring the house and discovering all the toys Rosie had got for him — and making toys out of lots of other things she hadn’t counted on, like hairbands, pens and newspapers — in other words, being a perfectly normal kitten! He alternates between loud rumbling purrs — he loves to lie up by your neck purring wetly into your ear — and boisterous play-fights.

His favourite party trick, which unfortunately the Animalcouriers will not be able to enjoy during his journey to the UK, is ‘Fetch’. Just throw any toy across the room for him, and he will keep retrieving it and bringing it back until you beg for mercy!

Lovely little Oscar, as he is now named, will be joining Irene’s feline family in London, where he will be able to practice his Greek with her two youngest kitties, Kiki and Ollie, who she adopted through Nine Lives in 2012. By coincidence, just like Oscar, Ollie was found as a tiny kitten with a vast protruding hernia, and his also disappeared while waiting to be old enough for the operation.

We are very confident that gregarious Oscar will bond very well with Ollie and Kiki and the others, and are so grateful to Irene for giving him such a loving home for life.”

Oscar at the vet soon after being found

Oscar at the vet soon after being found 

Oscar well on the road to recovery

Oscar well on the road to recovery

Oscar basking in the sunshine

Oscar basking in the sunshine