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Free Orange Tabby Kittens

From the moment my husband and I collected two eight week old kittens from our local cat shelter, our lives turned upside down. When Sara, the lady who runs the shelter and who had kept the kittens (six in all) and their mother at her house, had difficulty catching our two, I knew we were in for trouble.

Sara asked me if I recognized them after just one meeting a week previously and, amazingly, I did - this could be because we had pictures of all the kittens and mum on our 'fridge door or it could be because they're all really quite different, although all tabbies. Our two don't look at all alike, except that they both have very large ears. Rafiki is a grey tabby with a white chest and paws, whereas her sister, Foe, is a pale brownish tabby with a much more pointed face.

In the car, on the way home, Foe shouted and yelled all the time, while Rafiki sat quietly in the carrying box. During the evening, Foe started to play with a toy on a string but Rafiki wouldn't join in; she just hid round the corner of one of the sofas and didn't really want to come out. We thought that this was an indication of their individual characters; Rafiki having been the runt of the litter, shy and retiring, while Foe was noisy and outgoing. Not so, as you will read later.

In case you were wondering, the names came about like this. After we'd first met the kittens, we were wracking our brains for interesting and original names for them. "Gin and Tonic" came to mind as did other names, of varying degrees of silliness. We threw out the challenge to our friends, some of whom even topped our daft ideas, but one suggested that they should be Rafiki and Amiga, Swahili and Spanish respectively for "friend". (We have a fondness for Africa, where Swahili is spoken and we live in Spain.) We immediately liked Rafiki but weren't so keen on Amiga as a name. The week passed and we were no further forward. Indeed, we were in the car, taking the kittens home, throwing ideas back and forth, when "Foe" came up as the antithesis of "friend" and we thought "why not?", so Foe it is.

We had decided that our office would be the kittens' domain as we knew that they had previously lived in one room and we thought that a whole house, albeit on one floor, would be intimidating for them. This proved to be the case...... for about three days, after which the pair of them had made the whole house their own, wreaking havoc as they went! Having said that, their little claws, while sharp, didn't have much effect on the furniture, nor their little teeth on whatever they chose to chew (nearly everything), at least not at first.

The two of them settled in remarkably well, taking to us humans with little difficulty, although being quick enough to catch them at bed time was sometimes a problem. Nearly five weeks on, they have well and truly taken over the household!

Liz Canham is the proud owner (or maybe servant) of three cats and is webmistress of The Cat Lover.