CAT’S PARADISE – The decision to locate myself in the Algarve in July 2017, has to be one of the best decisions of my life… but it came at an almighty price. It has taken a long time for me find the appropriate way to express this journey, as the details have been rather difficult to comprehend myself.
Our beloved cat, whom we called Kitty Girl or Princess, came into my life in 2006, when I was going through one of the most difficult times of growth during my time in London. She moved with us when we went to Holland, and again when we located ourselves in Portugal.
In fact, she has travelled with us in a camper to conferences all over Europe. She was very connected to us and never wandered to far from us. She slept in my arms every night. We had an amazing 11 years with her.
The journey to from Holland to Portugal was a difficult one, with much challenge and adversity, beginning with our long journey with our KittyGirl, which included stopping at camp sites in France, as we could not find any hotels who were accepting of pets. All went well the first night at our camp stop in the North of France, but the second night, disasters struck, as our KittyGirl was scared off from the camp ground after a fight with other cats. We stayed for several days extra to search for her, but eventually we had to make the decision to continue our journey to Portugal without her. On the last day before setting off from France, we composed a notice, which we printed in English, Dutch, French and German, and posted it in the mail box of every person in the village, which was a quaint little place called Avanton.
Leaving France without our cat was one of the hardest things I have ever done, but we made our way through Spain, and then into Portugal, where we were met by our gracious host upon arrival. We settled and tried to forget the heartache of losing KittyGirl in France, as we discovered a whole new world of wonder in the Algarve.
Within two weeks of arrival, we got a phone call from a French lady who had found our cat. She had been feeding cats in neighbourhood, and recognised our cat from the poster we put in her mail box. Thanks to our dear team of French broadcasters on our media network, we managed to get confirmation via iPhone photo that this was in fact our cat. Having just arrived and settled down in the Algarve, we now had to go all the way back to France to get our KittyGirl, and that took a bit of organising, but we managed to make the journey back to France to retrieve her. It was a very emotional reunion, and we are so grateful to the amazing family that looked after KittyGirl so well.
After a brief but emotional reunion, we began the hectic journey home, through a very dry hot Spain. It was so bad at one point, that we had to put bags of ice on our KittyGirl, as she was hyper ventilating and almost passing out at certain points. This poor little kitty, had only ever experienced the climates of London, Holland and France, but once you past the Pyrenees heading South, the entire climate changes to hot, and the sudden change of temperature, along with all the shock she must have endured getting lost and found, nearly finished KittyGirl on the journey home. However, we eventually made it safe to our location on the farm in Lagoa, and we had a great space for KittyGirl, who was nicely isolated on the top floor, including massive balcony and roof area.
We had a great few months after we had all arrived, and we began the process of learning our way around, experiencing the Algarve in summer, which has to be one of the best experiences of my life. This experiences also benefited from emerging ourselves in the local culture, and having great people to show us around.
Sadly, our beloved KittyGirl wondered off the first floor balcony one night in late September 2017, and we have not seen her since. We looked everywhere, we posted flyers with all the neighbours, we phoned local vets, visited the local cat farms, put food outside the house, hoping that she would come back to us.
As KittyGirl was like a child to me, It has broken my heart to come to the realisation that I may never see her again. Furthermore, I live with the agony of not knowing what happened to her. There is not a night that goes by when I don’t think of how empty my arms feel without Kitty Girl in them.
The solace I have gained through this entire experience, is seeing how well cared for cats are in the Algarve. The beaches that are closest to our location, both have cat sanctuaries, complete with beautifully built cat shelters.
Cavoeiro beach, one of the most photographed beaches in the Algarve, has a cat shelter flanking the main road down to the beach. Along the main drag where you will find the Cavoeiro Bar, is an area set off to the side of the street, which has a wooden structure built to create beds for the street cats, forming a cat hotel of sorts. This enclosed area also benefits from regular food donations from the local community. There are a few very sweet kitties that wonder around the street in Cavoeiro, but they are all still a bit wild and generally not trusting that trusting of people, but not shy of begging for food from diners.
For cat lovers, the place to go to is Praia da Marinha. The beach itself is spectacular, once you descend the stairs, having been rated as one of the top 5 most beautiful beaches in Europe, the lapping waves spilling between shard like rock formations in the ocean, give this beach it’s unique characteristic. There are some lesser known gems to this beach such as the hidden beach off to the immediate left of the stairs through a tunnel, which is sometimes completely empty, and great for a naked dip in the ocean.
At the top of the cliffs, is an amazing landscape, which looks quite otherworldly, with different levels to explore. Watching the sunset or the full moon rising from these cliffs was one of the most amazing experiences, especially in the winter months, when the sunsets are most vivid in colour.
But truly, the most spectacular thing about this beach is the pride of cats that live here. The picnic area at the cliff’s edge, is where you will find the cat’s of Praia da Marinha.
These kitties are very friendly, and love to be touched… just don’t try to pick them up, they are still to wild for that. These cats are normally found lounging across the wooden tables and chairs, frequented by folks from all over the world. These cats have a great life and are well fed by many different people, and they add a surprisingly beautiful element to this already spectacular spot on the Algarvian coast.
I may never see my sweet Kitty Girl again, but then again, the Algarve is a great place to be a cat, and I can only hope KittyGirl is happy, where ever she has ventured to.
PLEASE NOTE: This is an appeal to the public to keep an eye out for my sweet Kitty Girl. She is a very affectionate cat, and will bond with a loving family easily. She is black with all four of her paws being white. She has a white heart shaped patch on her chest, and white whiskers. Her eyes are green. She is a petit cat weighing around 4 kilograms. Her tail looks a little shorter than most cats and she has a broken fang on the upper right jaw. If anybody has any information, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
Peace Love Unity Respect
Author & Editor of algarivan.life