Feral Cats typically don't trust humans - dogs, cars, bikes or anything else moving through their wilderness world. You'd be lucky to ever see one while treking, even if it was calmly watching you from right next to the trail. They vanish at will - probably inspiring the famous Lewis Carol Cheshire cat in the Alice's Aventures in Wonderland story.
But here on the southern tip of New Caledonia's Island of Grand Terre cat food is in short supply. Lizards and Bugs make up their diet unless, of course, they find a couple of humans to domesticate. Then - ooooo la la - it's belly feeding time with carefully selected French Cat Foods (canned and cruchies).
After taming us, the Feral Cat Liane takes us for daily excercise walks. Sometimes she acts as if it a chore - ears back, trudging along after her big pets. Other times she attacks, like Kato of the Green Hornet, appearing out of the bush with arched back and fur-burst tail then dashing off and vanishing with a big silly grin on her face. Playing.
I wanted to take a photo of her racing up a tree or lurking on a tree branch - Chesher Cat Style - and one morning I scrambled down a path were there was a likely tree. Liane thought this was interesting and followed me down. But how to get her into a tree (she does not like being picked up)? I tried calling, teasing, tree tapping, and she just sat there in a very unphotogenic pose waiting patiently for me to get on with the trek. Freddy joined me and tried to coak Liane over to the tree I had selected. Liane ignored us (crazy humans).
Then, finally bored with it all, Liane moved into the shade and... stretched out on an old tree branch in a perfect Chesher Cat Pose. Astonishing what cats can make us do, isn't it? Here's Liane taking Freddy on her morning exercise walk.
New Caledonia is the closest South Pacific Island to Australia and New Zealand. It is a French Territory and although the official language is French the culture is a blend of Melanesian, European, Polynesian, Vietnamese, Chinese, Indonesian, and more. There is one large mountainous island called Grande Terre and 6 smaller islands - the three Loyalty Islands, Belep and the Isle of Pines.The islands are remarkably unpopulated and there are vast areas of wilderness. There are hundreds of kilometers of walking treks, camp grounds, more than 42 parks and reserves, and crystal clear rivers with sparkling waterfalls. Almost one third of the population is located in the capital city of Noumea. Nickel mining is the primary industry and is the major contributor to the high standard of living in the country. Grande Terre is surrounded by the second largest barrier reef in the world and the protected lagoon created by this barrier reef is the largest in the world. Listed as a World Heritage Site in 2008, the lagoon is 24,000 square kilometers and supports a diverse and luxuriant fauna of fish and invertebrates.The vibrant, clear and rich colors are one of the first things that visitors notice when they arrive. Noumea has a complete range of hotels, resorts, restaurants, and activities to welcome visitors.