What started for Joseph Nyathi (41) as taking one feral cat under his wing two years ago, has now turned into a organised ‘cat village’ with over 20 ‘occupants’ that he is responsible for feeding and looking after on a daily basis.

Joseph, who lives near Village Mall, started feeding a stray cat who arrived out of nowhere where he lived in 2018. “I named her Poppie and fed her every day. Soon more cats came and I had to feed them all,” he laughs. “I have liked cats since I was small. God gave me this love for cats and that is why I look after them.”

Harties Feral Cat Rescue became aware of Joseph’s feral cat colony and started assisting him with food and shelter for the cats. A number of them had also been sterilised. However, it wasn’t enough to just feed them, Joseph has built the cat colony their own little ‘village’, complete with little houses, and steps to reach the water bowls. He has cleaned paths to the ‘cat village’ and keeps it neat and clean at all times. And the cats have a name… they are all called Poppie, and the amazing thing is that they all come when called.”

“During a particular wet spell a female cat, which we have been unable to trap and sterilise, had five kittens on the property. Their mom refused to leave them in the dry kennel we provided and kept making her own nest amongst logs that was fast becoming a mud-bath. Fearing for their safety we decided to remove them. I managed to catch one but the others were nowhere to be found. We looked under the large number of logs on the property but couldn’t find them. Then Joseph walked over, sat down and started speaking to the logs. Within minutes all four kittens came to him! We were lost for words. What a guy, he is a cat whisperer of note,” Vanessa Courtenay, a volunteer at Harties Feral Rescue said.

For Joseph, who is a cook at a small restaurant on the property, looking after the cats is a pleasure. I love them, and they know it, that is why they come when I call and why they greet me in the morning when I open my door. They are my friends.”

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