Kika died yesterday. We're not sure how old she was, but she had lived with us for thirteen and a half years. When we moved into our apartment in June 2000 we hadn't planned on having a cat, but Kika had other ideas.
It was the Sunday before Christmas 2000 and we had invited about 16 people for a full English breakfast. This was a tradition we started in England, where the numbers had grown to over 30 and had to be fed in relays in our tiny cottage.
For our first party here in Tenerife we planned to eat on the terrace, but it would still be a logistical challenge.
At four in the morning we heard noises outside our bedroom window, and when we investigated we discovered this beautiful cat had moved her four kittens into one of our plant pots.
There they stayed throughout the party - watching us while we watched them, but not moving. The mother cat graciously accepted smoked salmon, bacon and pieces of sausage - clearly she had been domesticated - but the kittens were wild and hissing. Even so, they were obviously not going to be deterred.
We knew we wanted to keep the mother and we called her Kika. She and her kittens all lived on the terrace, through rainstorms and the fireworks of New Year, and it took several weeks for Kika to persuade her brood to come indoors. She saw off an Alsation which thought it could attack her kittens, and came to us for help when she couldn't round them all up at once after a thunderstorm. We enjoyed their company for a month but then we caught and rehomed the kittens.
Kika stayed. She would wait on the wall of the pool for us to come home,
and then weave through the railing or turn somersaults on the path in front of us,
In her last few months she acquired considerable street cred by sitting on the steps of the local bar while we had a drink, and on one occasion she leapt onto the back of a passing dog, which fled in terror.
She was a lovely cat, a favourite with the entire neighbourhood, and we will miss her badly. RIP Kika XX