From the Melville Cat:
A couple of weeks ago I took my first holiday, to a place in the south of Joburg called Cattery on the Hill.
I suppose you could argue that this was not really my first holiday. Last month, while Heather was away on an extended trip, I decided to take a surprise holiday without telling anyone and absconded from our house in Melville. That holiday, however, did not turn out as planned.
It was precisely due to my unsuccessful first holiday attempt that this new holiday came about. Heather had to go away on another trip and decided to subvert any surprise holiday plans I might have by sending me to Cattery on the Hill.
Actually, let’s face it. Every day is a holiday in the life of the Melville Cat. But I digress.
Heather shut me into my crate one morning and took me on a long drive. We went onto the highway and eventually reached a beautiful place with many hills and trees. This, Heather told me, was the south of Joburg.
I didn’t understand where we were going at the time and I’ll admit that I wasn’t pleased. The long ride made me car sick and I was in a very bad humor indeed. But eventually the car stopped and Heather removed my crate from the back seat. I saw trees through the bars, and horses. I heard kind human voices — a man and some boy children. I felt us walk up a hill and Heather set my crate down and opened the door.
I stepped gingerly out onto the grounds of my luxury accommodation.
My room at Cattery on the Hill.
I discovered a white-washed wooden house with my name, Smokey, written on the chalkboard above the door. The house had a cat-sized roof deck. Tree branches hung down, draped in hanging toys. There was lots of grass and leaves. I saw a bed, neat bowls of food and water, and a spacious litter box. The entire abode was surrounded by thin wire fencing, so I could see all around but still felt safe. Other cats milled about in similar accommodations.
I jumped atop a tree stump and surveyed my new domain. I found it satisfactory.
Surveying my new domain.
I hardly cared when Heather said goodbye and my wire door was shut. I was already quite comfortable and ready to enjoy my holiday.
I’m not sure how many days I resided at Cattery on the Hill. I stayed busy, eating and sleeping, watching birds, batting my toys, and swapping stories with the other guests. My bed was soft and my whitewashed house was scented with a lovely perfume of pine and catnip. (My house also had electricity, but it’s summer and I never felt the desire to switch on the heat.)
Lounging in the dappled sunlight on my roof-deck. (Photo courtesy of Cattery on the Hill)
I loved my roof deck. (Photo courtesy of Cattery on the Hill)
Every day, I was invited out of my accommodation and into the yard for some exercise. I roamed the grounds, chatting with Kobus and his wife Caryn, the hotel owners. I also enjoyed the company of Gloria, the hotel’s manager and concierge, a kind and lively woman who attended to my every need. I sometimes played with Kobus and Caryn’s three sons, who were also on holiday from school. Sadly I have forgotten the children’s names as there were too many of them.
Exploring the grounds of Cattery on the Hill. I was allowed out separately from the other hotel guests so I could explore in peace. The other cat shown here is not real.
Sunning myself on a patch of cement.
I believe that Kobus took a special liking to me. He says that I am really more like a lion than a cat. He called me Mooikat, which means something like “Grand, Handsome Cat” in Afrikaans. Kobus is a great judge of character.
Caryn, who is a veterinarian, noticed the itchy spot on my rear end and recommended that I eat a different food to treat it. I took her advice and my itchy spot is now gone.
My new friend Kobus and me. I know I appear to be struggling free of his embrace, but that was just an act.
I was happy.
After some days, Heather and Ray returned to fetch me. I did not want to leave the Cattery.
I was relaxing in the shade of my white-washed house when they came.
I sniffed the crate but did not care to go in. Kobus had to force me inside. How rude.
Alas, I had to learn that all good holidays must come to an end. So I returned to my house in Melville, where every day is a holiday anyway.
Life is hard. So hard.
If you are a Joburg cat and wish to take a local holiday (a “staycation”, as humans call it), consider booking a room at Cattery on the Hill. You won’t regret it, and the rates are quite affordable at R90 (only $6!) per day during peak season. I will definitely be back.
Cattery on the Hill is located at Plot 68, Springbok Street, Rispark. Visit catteryonthehill.co.za for more information.