A swedish cat in the tropics

Some friends and family keep on asking how is Matilda doing. Coming from one of the safest countries in the world when the worst thing that might happen to your cat outside is that she gets wet, people wonder how is she coping with the new environment.

This is of course an important question for anyone that is planning (or at least considering) dragging his/her pet over the ocean to a different country. Well, not only a different country but a tropical country. And not only any tropical country but one that is considered one of the most biodiverse intense hotspots in the world.

Translated to cat terms: many different smells, sounds and creatures that she has never met before. From tarantulas to vipers to howler monkeys.

And yes, we let her out. So the concerns of friends and family about how our fur ball is doing are well founded.

So, let me start by saying that I was expecting a huge reaction from Matilda to the unknown sounds. In my head, I had pictured a thousand times how she would react the first time that she would hear the cry of the howler monkeys. It always ended up with her flat on her belly, eyes wide open and running home for safety.

I had it totally wrong. She didn’t react at all. Neither did she have any noticeable reaction to the VERY noisy scarlet macaws. Today, there were four perched on the tree just above where she was sleeping and she was not concerned at all. My only possible explanation is that she does not recognize the sounds or link them to a particular animal. Hence, in her head the sounds are not associated with anything dangerous.

I am guessing this because she does react fast to noises that she can recognise. For example, dogs approaching the house, birds tossing leaves, a lizard.

Of course, my fear is that if she does not react to new, unknown sounds or smells, she will not see danger coming. And we have been told stories of owls hunting (succesfully) cats and small dogs. Not to mention the jaguars and pumas that are in the area….but so far so good.

May be it will not work for all cats but Matilda is an extremely careful cat. She will fly rather than fight, she hides marvelously well when there is danger and, very important for us, she always comes when we call her. ( It might take a while, depending on whether she is in hunting mode or not, but she comes. It helps that she stays close to the house, of course.)

We have seen her walking around the house at night and we think she is well aware of snakes. Walks very carefully and smelling before making any step.

All in all, I think she is having a good time. Her glucose levels are going down, her eyes are also recovering and she loves to lay down on the porch watching the garden. Not to mention pooing between the leaves under the mango tree.

She needs brushing everyday to help adjusting her winter fur (which she had when she arrived) to tropical summer at an accelerated pace. And some extra care with renovating the Bravecto every 3 months. But other than that, she seems to have adapted to the new life as well as we have.

And even much better than us to our home confinement due to the Corona. She likes to have a garden but she likes to have company during the day even more. Maybe because she knows that we are watching over her shoulder, so she can sleep safely within the heliconia bushes.

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