Piaf's Story


First Chapter ...

Piaf's Story (so far)


We thought we would begin with Piaf, our 'little sparrow' ... well, she may have been a 'liitle sparrow' when born, but is now a bit of a roly-poly !!


She was one of a litter of three (with Brakken and Ambrozia) born at the end of May 2000. Piaf was one of the smallest kittens born here, about 1 oz, and we didn't think it had much chance of surviving ... but she did ! When the litter was moved from the kittening box to their kitten pen (at 2 to 3 weeks) Piaf was the first to acquire a taste for their 'special' kitten mix via a feeder bottle. I used to go into the nursery and say "where's my girl ?", at which she would give a little miaow and slip neatly out between the wooden bars of the kitten pen (few others have ever managed this !) and run across the floor to get to the feeder bottle in my hand.


Piaf thrived and grew well, and graduated to the landing, the stairs and the house. Then, disaster struck ... in the form of a pretty little 4 year old girl who came with her father who was to check the alarm system, expecting the task to take 1 hour, but instead it lasted nearer 3 hours. Daughter got bored and I became involved in keeping an eye on her safety. I was alarmed to see her practising her kick-boxing ... especially when one lunge was made at my dog, another at the base of a clematis which was virtually demolished, and, although this wasn't witnessed, since she had been playing with the three kittens we were concerned to find that shortly after her departure with father, Piaf was pulling herself across the floor by her front legs, the back ones were not 'working'.


 After a visit to the vets, X-rays etc. we were told both back legs had multiple breaks ... almost certainly a result of being dropped from a height onto the back legs, or, having been kicked. I made a wide webbing harness, fixed to a dog lead, and whilst supporting her around her body slowly encouraged her to regain the strength and mobility in her legs and so taught her how to use them to walk again.


After 2 weeks of this daily routine, I could begin to relax her support and Piaf began to walk on her own. After a few days on her own she managed a little running action, and it was almost as if she celebrated her success by her reaction ! Sadly, the growth plates in her legs were so damaged that she has developed stumpy legs, and a Chaplin-like gait.


Piaf was supposed to be going with her sister Brakken to live near Penzance, but we decided she should stay with us. As a result of her traumatic first few weeks and the nursing etc., Piaf is now totally devoted to me ... she finds me wherever I am and leads me outside on a fine day towards the forestry table, where I lift her up to sit beside me in the sunshine. Even indoors, in the evening, if I sit at the top of the stairs, Piaf is the first to notice my arrival, and wobbles upstairs to sit on me or beside me. Piaf is truly our 'little sparrow' and is a real friend ! Sometimes she is a little upset to hear that she is referred to as 'the match ball', since she does bear a striking resemblance to a furry rugby ball ... not that she brought much luck to her favourite team Cornwall, since they lost out to Northumberland in the final at Twickenham on June 1st. Her main claim to fame is a small off-stage singing role in Saving Private Ryan ...


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