The Cherry Diaries: Winter, Wind, Wonk

Dear Diary,

Finally! I get to write again! I have been walking all over the keyboards the past months trying to convince mom to let me write something, but not even me pushing the mouse off the desk could convince her. Drat and double drat! Mind you, I even tried disconnecting her laptop, resetting the dashboard, and changing the language settings, but to no avail.

Nevertheless, here I am, with my winter fur which grew back just in time. I was promised sunshine and warmth when I moved here from Berlin, but so far it has been three months of rain, wind and miserable cold, the only difference being that it doesn’t snow here. Nobody told me that winter could be so dismally wet, but thank goodness that we have two fireplaces in the house that mom and I can snuggle up to. It took some work to train her again, but I finally got my human to follow my orders and routine. So when I say it is time to get up, it is is time. Every morning I try to outdo the alarm clock and so far I am 10/10 and rouse mother out of her slumber 10 minutes before she officially has to get up. I’ve memorised her work timings too, so I take up my position beside her monitor to inform her that she is due to to take a break or have lunch soon. I change strategies for quitting time though, and simply plonk myself in front of the screen so she can’t see what she is typing. That usually gets me a dirty look and a butt nudge but eventually I get my way. One of her colleagues has named me the Schedule Manager, and I take it very seriously.

It has been six months since my arrival in Portugal, and like mom, I have found my peace and quiet. The house is mine, and I say who stays and who goes. We don’t get too many humans around here, but I do get to boss the outsiders, mainly because of my venerable age, and secondly, because I am the CFO (Chief Feline Overlord) and FMI (Food Management Influencer). Without me guarding the kitchen, nobody outside would get their breakfast! Having said that, I also hang out with the gang more, either chilling on the front terrace or going on expeditions up the road. Yes, I got permission to explore, and even though I don’t have 20/20 vision anymore, nor am I in possession of 100% hearing, I haven’t gotten lost or stuck yet. Well, to be fair, mom doesn’t let me out after sunset either or before sunrise, unless I dash out under her radar. Mind you, she had to go to Lisbon last week and left me in charge of the house a whole day. She left early in the morning while it was still dark outside, but I mucked things up by dashing out the door into the darkness and under the waiting car. Oh boy did I get a proper scolding! I can’t really say I enjoyed being under a car with a running engine, but it was exciting!

Communication is a funny thing around here. The gang outside has different accents and some of them have no volume control. We’re not exactly best buddies, but I did miss them when the local government authorities came and caught them all one day and carted them off for three days. As far as I understand it, the local government of Mafra has a special veterinary program to trap all the street cats, neuter them and then return them to their areas. Most countries call it TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) and here in Portugal it is called CED (CapturarEsterilizar-Devolver). Mom and one of the neighbours helped the vet (trapper?) identify the entire colony and check who had already been corralled and who had escaped. Wow, they had fancy food with them to lure everyone out, and the whole thing took two days, with traps laid out all over the place, I wasn’t allowed out that entire time, in case I accidentally ended up inside one of them. But when they were all gone, it was deathly silent and I missed my friends.

Suddenly on the fourth day they began appearing again. Initially in groups of two or three, until all 15 of them were back. Everyone seemed a bit wonky and loopy the first two days, but we were back to normal in no time. The word earmarked takes a new meaning here though. The neutered cats that have been through the TNR program all came back with a piece of their ear snipped off. It sounds worse than it looks, and unless you look at them up close, as in nose-to-nose, you won’t even notice it. Boy am I glad I had my operation done in Germany! My ears may not be fully functional, but at least they are intact.

Well, I think I brought you up to date on the main things you missed. You’ll be hearing from me regularly again, otherwise I shall ask someone else to type for me.

Meowingly yours,
Senior Cat Diva Extraordinaire

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