Did you know that a group of cats is called a “clowder“? No? Neither did I, in fact, I never gave it much thought until I ended up with 9 cats.
The very first time I ever had a cat was in Seychelles, but they were strays who only came home when it was time to eat. It was only when we moved to Cyprus that I actually had a pet cat. His name was Tuby, a black and white stray kitten. We saw him, one morning when we were on our way to school. He was pestering a man who was cleaning a shop window.
After dropping us at school, my dad went back to the spot where we saw him and picked him up. It was quite a surprise to see a kitten in our home, once we got back from school. Especially since we weren’t allowed to keep animals in our small 2 bedroom apartment. Tuby was a very chubby kitten who knew how to open any door. He also knew how to be camouflage and turn into a stuffed animal, especially when the landlord would come around.
When we left Cyprus and moved back to Seychelles, my dad gave Tuby to one of his friends from the office. She would send us pictures of him every month since we left.
Back in Seychelles, my sister found a kitten loitering around our neighborhood and decided to take it home. Her name was Minou. She used to love licking my mother’s makeup brushes, while she was sleeping. When we had to leave Seychelles and move back to Kenya, we gave Minou to the same person who took Lily, so that they could be together.
Puss and Mushu
When we got back to Kenya in 2007, we moved into a 3 bedroom apartment in Nairobi. One evening, when we were coming home from shopping, a cute little gray cat with white paws just waltzed into our house. Unsurprisingly, we took her in and called her Puss. Little did we know, she was pregnant. Unfortunately, her first litter of kittens was killed by a stray male cat who wandered into the house whilst we were away. Nevertheless, she got pregnant again and this time she had three kittens: Blacky, Whitey, and Mushu (formerly known as Grey). Sadly, Blacky passed away at a young age after being run over by our neighbor and Whitey ran away after we adopted Max.
Mushu, on the other hand, was a tough kitten who became best friends with Max. They did everything together; they played together, ate together and slept together. Mushu thought that he was dog and Max thought that he was a cat.
Baboosh and NumNums
After Mushu and Puss, we got Baboosh (formerly known as Tex). We found Baboosh at a fuel station. He was no more than a week old and was about to get killed by some guards. My mother stopped them and took him straight to our vet. After a few weeks in the clinic, he finally came home and Max, Mushu, and Baboosh became the three musketeers.
We then moved to a more suburban part of Nairobi known as Karen, taking our three cats and one dog with us. A few months after we moved in, Mushu brought home a kitten by the name of NumNums.
Munchen and Meeko
We now had 4 cats. A few years later, my mom and I were on our way to meet one of her friends for dinner. We were in the slip-lane waiting to turn into a road, but there was traffic so we were at a standstill. That’s when my mother spotted a tiny gray kitten wandering about on the sidewalk. She told me to get out of the car and pick it up and so I did. It had been a week since Puss had died and so it was such a coincidence that we found a kitten that looked exactly like her. We called her Munchen. Sadly, Munchen had epilepsy and passed away 5 months later. I was working at the vet’s at that time and so I was there when they put her down. On my last day working there, the vet suggested that I take home a kitten who had been dropped off there after having been knocked by something.
And so out of habit, I said yes and took him home. We called him Meeko and he lives up to the name by being feisty and overly-cuddly.
Five months later, my sister’s ex-boyfriend gives me a call. He had found a kitten in the gutters outside his university. So again, out of habit, I told him to take the kitten to our vet’s and that we’d take it from there afterward. Once he came home, we called him Chancho because he’s ‘always down to eat’. Chancho and Meeko became brothers and so we had 5 cats.
The Big 5
A few months later my dad found five kittens hiding out in the parking lot behind a mall. He found out that their mother had been knocked by a car, just outside the mall and so they were left to fend for themselves. Being my father, he took them home. And so Chancho and Meeko got 4 more brothers (Chebu, Capri, Entu, and Toulouse) and 1 more sister (Gunther).
Mushu died two months later, so now we have a clowder of 9 cats. Since then, it’s never been a dull day with all these cats and dogs.