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Bon weekend from a mad cat woman in France

It鈥檚 been a fraught couple of weeks here. Poor Winston the cat had to have his ears cut off due to tumours, he鈥檚 not very pretty now but he will survive. Winston doesn鈥檛 know it, but he was a life changer.

When I first came to France with my husband Mark, we had dreams of exploring every part of the country on our motorbike. But fate decided otherwise. Within a few weeks of arriving, my in-laws came out to 鈥榗amp鈥 in our hovel of a farmhouse (we鈥檝e renovated since then), and when they went home we took them for lunch at a restaurant in nearby Boulogne-sur-Mer on their way to the port. It was a typical local place and when my mother-in-law gasped out loud, I assumed she鈥檇 spotted one of our fellow diners tucking into a plate of raw mincemeat 鈥 steak tartare, a very French dish that most Brits just don鈥檛 get. But no, glancing out of the window she鈥檇 spotted a cat attacking a kitten. When we looked we saw nothing.

Leaving the restaurant after lunch, we headed to our car and Mark suddenly dropped down to the floor and stood up holding a tiny kitten that had been under the wheel of our van. The skinny, scraggy and very lethargic kitten was bleeding where the older cat had tried to bite his nose off. We took him home believing he had no chance of surviving but at least he would spend his last night safe and calm and cared for. We fed him with a pipette and put him in a box for the night. I dreaded getting up that morning. But when I looked in the box it was empty. The kitten was racing round the house and came running over for food when he saw us. The vet guessed he was about 4 weeks old, we had to be mum and dad to him as he wasn鈥檛 weaned or ready to be left alone (). We were smitten with the kitten.

Winston started a deep love of animals in us and was soon joined by a small dog who was going to be euthanised as he was unwanted. A stray kitten turned up at the back door and never left. Then we took in another at risk dog, followed by a stray dog that had been abused, then more stray cats.

We never did go exploring on our bike 鈥 je ne regrette rien.

Bisous from an animal lover in France.

Janine Marsh is Author of听听听and听听all available as ebook, print & audio, on Amazon everywhere & all good bookshops online. Her new book听听鈥 a celebration of the French lifestyle and听art de vivre, is out now 鈥 a look at the French way of life.

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