What could have become a disastrous ending to a family holiday turned into a pleasant surprise for microbiologist Dr Gerry Norris and wife Judy.
The Noordhoek couple found themselves stranded in the Kalahari during early December while en route back home to Noordhoek from Upington. Their Mercedes experienced a catastrophic breakdown and they limped at 30km/h to a shady spot that they could see in the distance. The temperature was a scorching 40ºC according to Dr Norris.
Seconds after making the safety of the shade, Ms Norris was in for a surprise. While she went to the rear of the vehicle to fetch some water she felt something furry on her foot. Looking down, she saw a lone three- to four-week-old ginger kitten. “Abandoned in the Kalahari. She was fur and bone. She saved us or we saved it! That’s how it felt,” said Dr Norris.
He adds that the story of their eventual rescue and the ensuing long-tow back to civilisation is a long one. Save to say, they got under way and after a few days arrived back safely in Noordhoek – with their newly adopted “Kalahari Cat”.
Dr Norris said she is now thriving and has doubled her body weight in just over two weeks. Their local veterinary surgeon provided them with advice while on the long desert road back home, mostly with the priority of getting her rehydrated. He said at first she sipped water from the cap of a small water bottle. When they got back to civilisation they started weaning her onto cow’s milk but she started to thrive when they managed to obtain some baby cat milk formula. At first bottle-fed she is now eating solids and is rapidly gaining weight, according to Dr Norris.
She has settled nicely into Noordhoek life and is a very happy kitten, full of life and mischief. Dr Norris said their family refers to her as “our miracle Kalahari Cat”.