When we moved to rural Mallorca in 2004, we never imagined that so many cats would come into our lives. In total, 17 kittens and cats have called our place home for a while. For the past three years – in addition to our own cat Minstral (a 20-year-old Birman) – we have had an ‘outdoor feline family’ of seven.

Beamer gets a well-earned rest.

Six years ago (on March 31st and July 31st) a young feral black cat we named Jetta gave birth to two litters of kittens, before we could catch her and take her to our vet’s to be spayed. Of her original nine kittens, five are still with us – coming regularly twice a day for their food. We’ve had them all spayed/neutered and we give them the necessary treatments for their good health. They’ve become as tame as pets – and just as loved.

Jetta soon tired of her maternal duties, spending increasing amounts of time away from our finca, where her kittens had made themselves at home. They just wouldn’t give her any peace, constantly trying to suckle her, play with her tail, or lick her ears. As if she had had enough, one day she didn’t return from her usual territory patrol. We searched the lanes around our home, but never saw Jetta again.

“Time for a wash!”

The kittens were, by then, on solid food; they didn’t need mum’s milk, but they clearly missed snuggling up to her. One day they found the perfect surrogate: we spotted Beamer – the largest male cat of the first litter – stretched out on the ground with a row of sibling kittens sucking at his tummy fur. There was no milk, of course, but lots of snuggly comfort to be had from the warmth of their big brother. This touching little scene was repeated on several occasions and Beamer accepted his

Read the full original post here authored by Marc-Andre Runcie-Unger. You can visit her blog here.

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