I have been fortunate to have grown up with fastidious felines throughout my life. My first cats were Bree and Medea, and then Polly and Paws are still living with my parents. When I first visited my site in July, I told the village veterinarian that I wanted a male cat when I arrived in September. Some may ask, why Sara, you are being quite sexist with your choice of feline companion… well, As indicated by our cat expert in our Stage, who previously served with a cat in Niger, male cats cannot get pregnant, and although you can get female cats spayed it becomes too much of an issue. Also, male cats tend to run away after a couple of years to find a mate, so…when I leave Burkina, he might be ready to leave too.
Fast forward to September, and there was no cat to be found. I waited, and waited, and waited, and refused offers of 10,000 CFA for a cat. The guy who owns the auberge picked up the cat from Ouahigouya for me and, the Sunday before Thanksgiving, I brought home my scared cat in a rice bag on my bike. He told me specifically to make sure that the cat stays inside the house at least the first week so that he gets used to me.
That night I went out to take my nightly bucket bath and realized I left the door open. I called for the cat repeatedly (in Burkina the call the cat Muss, which comes from the Hausa word Moussa which means cat) and he did not show up. At that moment I was thinking… OH @#$%! I just got this cat and it ran away the same day I got it and I’m going to ET (Early Termination).
I went to the auberge for dinner and told the owner what happened. Luckily one of the girls working there rode home with me and called for the cat. After a few minutes I heard him meow and realized that he NEVER ACTUALLY LEFT THE HOUSE.
I named him Tigger, after seeing him hop and bounce around the house. He looks like tigger and has lots of stripes. The name Kiiugu means Moon in Moore, and Yuungu means cat, so Tigger Moon Cat. Also, Uncle Rob, who is a vet had a cat named Tigger Milano a.ka. Tigger Milano escape artist.
Right now he follows me around the house and talks to me all the time. I feed him sardines from a can, and his favorite spots to sleep are on my mosquito net and next to my water filter.
And what post about cats would not be complete without some pics!