Many people love cats, but Jennifer has surpassed most of us in the work she has undertaken. Her youth was spent reading, as she was unwell, and at age twenty two, a successful journalist, she set off for Italy. At a press club luncheon, it was suggested that she visit Sicily. Thus began her love affair with Italy, in particular Sicily. And her language skills developed quickly.
It was on her first visit, that the author found a feral cat with a broken bone. She was able to trap it and take it to a vet, who set the cat’s leg and attended to its general health. They discussed the plight of the colonies of feral cats, and were aware that these cats had the numbers and potential for breeding. After several trips home to the UK, the author began to raise money and awareness of the plight of these cats. What was needed was a mobile vet clinic to treat and neuter as many feral cats as they could catch. Surprisingly, this involved an extraordinary amount of red tape, and many promises and handshakes that were never kept.
Moving into this world, Jennifer was to discover there were “gattare, those wonderful cat ladies, who take it upon themselves to feed a colony of cats.” These women knew and often named many of the cats. To trap the cats for the mobile van, needed the support and often the help of the gattare.
There are many stories within this novel. Tales of kittens or cats, rescued by tourists, and in one case taken back to the UK at a cost of three thousand pounds, are plentiful. To gain publicity and raise money for her neutering programme, CATSNIP, the author used as many avenues as she could. This seems to have become her life’s work. Any cat lover will be drawn to the stories.
The descriptions of Sicily are enchanting, and we sense her wonder at the scenery. Jennifer also looks at many of the aspects of Sicilian culture, and delves in to the origins of the Mafia. At the back of the book there is a list of Animal Welfare Agencies to contact if you are overseas, and troubled by the plight of an animal. This brings awareness to the traveller, who may not have been aware of the plight of these animals, or the people who attend to them.
|Publisher||John Blake Publishing Ltd|