Ginger was the first. Striped orange and found in a drain after a storm, it was a toss-up between naming him Ginger and Garfield. I was veering towards Garfield because of his “nine-months pregnant” stomach but after two little girls fell in love with both him and the name Ginger, his moniker was set in stone.
Next came Emma, rescued from the WASA compound in St Joseph. Having always been a loner, she became the clinic cat, choosing to patrol the borders and play bodyguard to the vets on duty instead of hanging out in the cat café with the other residents. Elsa and Anna, sisters named after the siblings in Frozen purely because Elsa has an ice-cold yet curious personality and Anna is the more outgoing of the two. Then a litter of four: Jerry, Tiggy, Mittens and Molly. Jerry is one-half of the two grey cats at the café, the other was Tom who is no more. Tiggy’s name was the most predictable—everyone who sees her comments on how much she looks like a miniature tiger but her charm is far greater than her roar.
Mittens has four little white paws that contrast beautifully with her orange and black legs and body and make her look like she is wearing her name. Molly is the diva—her name came from the book Animal Farm by George Orwell. Molly the Tenderheart cat nowhere resembles Mollie the mare in the book in terms of foolishness, but she loves attention and has a special relationship with Ginger. Finally, a litter of three black and white kittens: Tippy, Taj and Tino. Tippy’s name was also due to her good looks—black all over with a white-tipped tail and white-tipped paws and quite the “lap cat” loving nothing more than to cuddle up for a nap in your lap. Taj was named sentimentally in memory of another black cat with the shape of the ivory dome of the Taj Mahal reflected in white on her otherwise black face. Tino was named by a Tenderheart vet—a name plucked out of the air as the vet was put on the spot to come up with another name beginning with “T”!
That was supposed to be it, but three more have come along which are up for adoption. Mr Grey—stormy grey in colour and named by a Tenderheart vet after the infamous Christian Grey of Fifty Shades. Buttons is the youngest, not yet six months old and cute as a button. Last but not least, and keeping with the movie theme: Crookshanks—whose name will be familiar to any Harry Potter fan. This sweetie is also less than six months old and was rescued from roaming the streets after residents threatened to poison her.
These cats comprise the Tenderheart Cats family—a daring and innovative venture by Drs Wade Seukeran and Carolyn Mike of Tenderheart Animals in St Augustine. Guests can chill out and play with the friendly cats in the lounge, study their behaviour and enjoy their antics, browse through the book corner, relax in the café with a hot or cold drink, munch on snacks while using the Wi-Fi and much more. The venue is also used for lectures, meetings, socials and classes. Schools are especially welcome as education is one of the ways we can teach our children that while they do not have to like an animal, they can always choose to be kind instead of cruel.
The cat café is open for visitors by appointment only. You can make a booking, volunteer your time, ideas and service. You can check out their Facebook and Instagram pages—Tenderheart Animals.
Copyright © Kristel-Marie Ramnath 2019