French student Solenn saw a new side of the city helping Nine Lives Greece with daily cat-colony feeding
My name is Solenn, I come from France but I am spending this year studying in Athens with my boyfriend, Sebastien. As an Erasmus student I have a lot of free time and I wanted to use that time to do something helpful. When we saved our kitten Pixel from the dangers of the street, I knew that there were other cats that hadn’t had that chance and needed help. So I asked to help Nine Lives in any way I could, and so Sebastien and I became part of the volunteers who feed daily in a central Athens park. I can tell you now that I didn’t only make friends among the charity, I also enlarged my family with many cats!
They are all endearing in their own way, they all have their own personality and it is always lovely to see them.
I love the way Patchy calls for cuddles and wants you to scratch his head; Mollie-Sue and Bruce make us laugh when they run towards us on the street while we sing Indiana Jones’s theme song. Electra was shy at first but with time she started to reveal her true self: under the shyness is a sweet cat who likes cuddles. Sebastien’s favourite cat is Luciana because she’s always hiding on top of the wall when we arrive for her breakfast and she’s like an adventurer jumping down and running.
Spotty is amazing too, he cuddles us so much that it is almost as if he didn’t care about the food but only our affection. Also, be careful not to get lost in Benj’s eyes… Seeing these cats in the morning is the best way to start a day!
We had the chance to choose the name of two cats: Belle and Batman. I met Belle when I arrived in Athens. I was walking when I saw a cat running in front of me and jump on the nearby tree. She almost scared me but she was lovely and sweet. I saw her somedays lying next to a bush under the sun or going around to collect cuddles from those who felt generous. When we talked to Nine Lives about her, we had to give her a name and so we called her Belle (Beautiful in French) because she has the most beautiful fur I’ve ever seen. She has a three-coloured pale fur and it is so soft!
Batman arrived not so long ago. He is a young, thin, black cat. When Sebastien and I first saw him, he was hiding far away and wouldn’t approach. We could almost only see his pointing ears and we immediately thought Batman, the man who stays in the shadow. Fortunately, Batman has become friendly and is now enjoying his part of the garden with his friends Max and Foxy.
Another new cat was called Sebastien, partly inspired by my boyfriend. He was really proud and happy when I announced him the news and couldn’t wait to meet him. Now every time he sees him, he is amazed by the strong and beautiful cat he is.
This experience has made me realize that unfortunately not everybody consider cats and dogs as family members. This sad but true reality ruins the life of thousands of pets who are cowardly abandoned ‘in the wild’ each day when their owner is bored of them. Moreover I have learned the importance of neutering and spaying in order to avoid dead kittens, suffering and tired mothers, and overpopulated streets. Here I have been confronted with the difficulty of having too many cats that you can hardly take care of, but you will anyway because it is not their fault, they didn’t choose this situation.
Nine Lives volunteers are amazing. They are wholeheartedly devoted to saving and helping strays the best they can. I am happy to be part of the team and help them love these cats. These cats have brought me a lot of tenderness and love, more than I could have imagined, and it fills my heart with joy. Just for them I wish I could stay longer that one year. Unfortunately I’ll be leaving soon but I’ll always remember Nine Lives and the cats.