Cat Baskets

Every year at this time we take our two “official” cats, Napoleone and Carlotta to get their annual vaccine jabs at the vet in Fornoli. I say “official” because there are three other cats that we accept as being around. Two of  these  remain from the original five wild kittens we found in a nearby woodpile back in 2005 and a third took us  over when the neighbouring owner unexpectedly died in September 2012.

To return to the “official” cats: we found Napoleone after completing a somewhat hair-raising horse-ride from Pian di Ruscello near Ponte a Diana, Bagni di Lucca.  It was hair-raising because any fall from the horse didn’t just mean a fall to the ground; it meant a descent into some bottomless gorge below us. Such are the perils of mountain pony-trekking. Anyway, thanks to our leader, we came out unscathed and, recovering at base camp, I noticed a tiny paw coming out through the centre of a large mill-stone. I looked behind it and found this:


We returned home and realised we’d fallen in love with the little thing. Next morning I returned to the stables and asked if the kitten “belonged” to anyone. “No” was the reply, “you can take it with you if you like. We get mother cats depositing their kittens with us all the time.” So Napoleone was put into a cat box, strapped securely onto my scooter to become an essential part of our household. That was in August 2006. He’s got a bit bigger now!

Carlotta joined us in August 2012. We’d gone to the beer festival at Borgo a Mozzano. Just inside the entrance we noticed a cat in a cage being offered for adoption by the “piccole cuccie” (little pet baskets) association, whose objective is to rehouse abandoned and unwanted animals. We promised to be responsible pet-owners and signed a form which, among other clauses, stated that the kitten would be given to us on condition that it would be neutered – a most sensible point.

Happily, Napoleon and Carlotta took to each other almost immediately and there’s never been a paw lifted in anger against each other. They continue to eat, play and sleep together most amicably.

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Our Fornoli vet, Claudio Stefanini, must be well-known to several English pet owners in the area. Quite recently, he carried out an operation on a cat that had been run over and was rescued by a couple who live in nearby Guzzano. Claudio told me that he was particularly happy with the result of the operation, which had been a touch-and-go task since the poor animal was not really expected to pull through. Seeing the little beast the other week I was amazed at its quick recovery. Would humans were the same!

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Claudio’s practise  is opposite the Post Office at Viale Papa Giovanni XXIII, 21, 55026 Fornoli, Bagni di Lucca Tel 0583 87476

His weekday opening hours are 10:00 – 12:00, 4:00 pm – 7:30 pm

Claudio also writes a very interesting blog (in Italian) at

I think his partner must have fallen in love with Carlotta too!

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As usual, our cats went to the vet for their injection inside a cat-box securely strapped to my scooter’s back seat and remained completely at ease . Start them riding young, I say.


6 thoughts on “Cat Baskets

  1. Great post on you official and un-official cats. Claudio looks after our two Westies (when we return to the UK they need a worming tablet pre-UK entry) and he seems to be genuinely fond of the dogs. We’ve got a cat too but she’s not so keen on cross- europe travel as we drive in the summer to Bagni – a fantastic road journey.

  2. That is your version of how Mr Napoleon came to be part of our family. The truth is that he jumped into my arms. I asked the owner what his name was. He stated Mr Napoleon then jokingly asked and stated ” well if you do not want him we would like him”. The rest is now history and yes he loved cave like womb like places round holes to peek and hide in. They play peek and hide rather than hide and seek. He has been a great friend companion and keeps us warm too on cold nights, is a good mouser as is Carlotta, also caught a viper risking her life but saved mine!

  3. Mr Napoleon sounds like a very fine Cat indeed! I think I read about the Viper incident in a previous post by Francis. I must admit we’d been warned about the snakes by another Brit who has a house in Capella, but luckily we’ve never come across one.

  4. Pingback: To La Serra with a Cat | From London to Longoio (and Lucca and Beyond) Part Two

  5. Pingback: Cat-astrophe Avoided | From London to Longoio (and Lucca and Beyond) Part Two

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