I had chosen my kitten from Syros but had little idea what would happen next. The vet informed me that the little cat needed to stay with a foster mother for a while in order to learn to live with people and be socialised. I saw on the vet’s Facebook page that he had been taken in by a lady named Sofia. I asked Joan from God’s Little People Cat Rescue if she knew her, but she did not. She assured me that all the foster mothers who helped the vet were lovely people.
Rather apprehensively, I sent Sofia a message on Facebook. I speak no Greek and did not know if she spoke English. Much to my delight, I received a speedy and friendly reply together with a photo of the kitten. Sofia told me that he had cried for a couple of days but now was happy and settled. Sofia and I quickly became friends and each day I would message her and ask how the kitten was faring. She sent me photos several times a week which I kept in a folder on my computer and looked at every day. She told me that he was affectionate and loved cuddles. The photos proved it.
I decided I could hardly keep calling him “the kitten”. I had already decided he ought to have a Greek name to reflect his origins. Sofia and I discussed various Greek names and eventually decided that “Filipos” would suit him. I then added “Apollo” as I have a treasured elderly friend, who on hearing I planned to adopt a Greek cat had said, “You ought to call him Apollo.”
Other friends were concerned about me adopting a cat from overseas in case it carried any illness that would be a danger to my three cats, Harry, Reuben and Thomas Leo. I therefore asked the vet to carry out some blood tests on Filipos to ensure that he was healthy. My heart was in my mouth as I waited the results of the tests for FIV and FLV. I was delighted to receive a message from the vet to say the tests were clear and he was filling out the paperwork to make me Filipos’ official owner.
Meanwhile, Filipos was already becoming a much travelled cat as Sofia took him with her back and forth on the ferry from Syros to Athens when she visited her family and friends there. Everyone who met him loved him and I was told that one of Sofia’s friends wanted to adopt him.
I was uncertain how to react. I loved the idea of my kitten, but had not met the real kitten. Maybe he would be happier staying in Greece with someone who had already bonded with him? Therefore I said I would agree if any equally delightful cat could be found as a replacement. I was told that my name was already on the paperwork and Filipos was not in danger of being given to someone else. I was greatly relieved.
The weeks passed and I wondered when and how would Filipos join me in England. I live in the North, so flying him to Heathrow airport was impractical. I was then told that a place had been booked for him and some other God’s Little People Cats with a pet courier on November 5th. I started counting the days only to learn that the date had been changed to the 19st and the courier only delivered the pets to Kent or to Sussex, the opposite end of the country to where I live. I have no transport and though I have some good friends, I knew none of them would fancy making a 400 mile round trip. Joan suggested appealing on her Facebook Page for a volunteer to bring my kitten to me, but who would do such a favour for a complete stranger?
Photo Credits – Sofia Gamvrinou