Next door got a new kitten.
We discovered this after hearing a plaintive cry for several hours yesterday afternoon.
Inquiries to the gardener assured us it was a kitten, it was theirs, and it was secure inside the house.
So began a somewhat energetic search of the shrubs and bushes on our side of the wall, even going so far as lifting the bonnet of the car in case it had somehow crawled into the engine compartment.
Meantime, on the other side of the wall, Nelson confirmed the kitten was not, in fact, secure inside the house and someone must have let it out.
Eventually we were convinced it was somewhere in the wild plum trees on the other side of the wall. I got the step ladder, propped it against the wall and climbed up.
And then I saw her among the upper reaches of one of the trees, frightened out of her wits, obviously staying as far from their dogs as possible. Their pooches are quite aggressive to say the least, and this tiny kitten would represent little more than a mouthful.
I reached in among the branches, expecting hisses and claws – but no. Out she came, trembling slightly, and immediately tried to burrow into my shirt.
We alerted the gardener we had her, would bring her round when she had calmed down and then took her inside and gave her something to drink.
Eventually we got a call and the daughter came round to fetch her.
One of their other cats, Ginger, spends much of its time at our spot; because of their dogs. It occasionally follows me around the garden and likes to flop down in front of me and roll onto its back.
Oddly enough, none of the cats seem in the least bothered by our dogs, and never have been.