From time to time we like to interview our homeowners to find out about how they came to the idea of house-sitting as a solution for their home and pet care challenges. Recently we registered SCUBABABE who is looking for a cat-sitter. She is a professional diving instructor who moved to Malta a couple of years ago. Now she needs a pet sitting solution that is suitable for her two Ocicats.
Read on to hear what she says about her life in the Mediterranean, her pet Ocicats, and what she recommends you do in Malta if you take up her house-sitting offer…and become her cat-sitter.
1. When did you move to Malta and why?
I first visited Malta in 2005 when I was doing my Scuba Diving Instructor Course and exams. I went on to visit 3-4 times a year after that and finally made the move permanently two years ago. And it is only recently that I started thinking about needing a cat-sitter. Now, I work here full time as the Director of Diving within the Biology Department of the Science Faculty. I’m setting up a dive centre to teach the Uni students so they can dive for their research for degrees, PhD’s etc. I used to teach in the UK and took people to Oban on weekend trips – there are some great dive sites in Scotland.
2. How did you come upon the idea of using a cat-sitter?
I have always had cats. My parents already had 2 when I came along and there has never been a period of time without one since. When I moved away from my parents, I committed to a Persian kitten the same week – the thought of a home without a cat just doesn’t fit for me! The idea of using a cat-sitter came later.
My Persian cat was with me until the grand old age of 17 years, and when he was no longer around I looked for a breed that was totally different and came across the Ocicat. My first Oci joined me and I could tell that my life was never going to be the same! They really are different. He took the move to Malta in his stride and settled into the warmer climate within 20 minutes!
I decided he would need company for the Summer months when I would be out of the apartment more, and arranged for another Oci to join us – they became the best of friends within 24 hours! The boys are called Milo (Aalspotz Smirnoff) and Rumple (Aalspotz Rumplestiltskin) Milo is 2.5 years, Rumple is just 1 year. Rumple is a complete delinquent and would be diagnosed ADHD if he was a child! I thought it might be a pet-sitting challenge!
Previously, I have used a cattery for my Persian cat, and he loved it. He would purr evey time he saw the woman there. She spent a lot of time with him, brushing & fussing over him, so it was like being at a home from home. She seemed dedicated to his care, just like a cat-sitter. I have looked at catteries in Malta, but they are usually kennels with a few pens for cats sectioned off. My boys are not scared of dogs as there were dogs at their breeder’s house, but they would not be happy with the change of scenery and constant barking. So I really think a cat-sitter will suit us best now.
3. What is the main reason that keeps you in Malta?
While I work at the University of Malta part-time, on my free days I work as a freelance diving instructor at dive centres across the island. I like to take qualified divers to this wreck, the P31. It was an old patrol boat sunk on purpose for the sole reason of training divers. But you must already be a qualified diver to do this dive. Malta has a wonderful climate and some of the best diving in the Mediterranean. You can dive the Blue Hole in Gozo and the nearby Inland Sea. Most dive sites are accessible from shore, which is one of the advantages for divers here as most sites are suited to any level of diver. There is lots to see and a great climate.
4. What do you particularly like about Malta?
Malta is a marmite type place – you either love it or hate it. I love the fact that everyone speaks English (I’m rubbish at learning languages!) The Maltese like the English as they helped them during the second world war. And when you start looking you realise you are surrounded by historical landmarks, both ancient and not so ancient. For example, did you know that Malta & Gozo have the oldest freestanding Megalithic temples in the world! There is so much to see and do, and of course I love the diving.
5. Is there anything you would recommend to your cat-sitter?
There is so much to see and do when you are taking a break from being my cat-sitter. One way to get started is to take a tour of the island. There is a good open top bus – hop on hop off, where you can see most things without having to work out logistics of buses. As the island is surrounded by beautiful waters, why not take a harbour cruise – in particular think about a boat tour of the Grand Harbour with historical commentary. And of course you can go for a try dive and discover scuba diving.
Directly from my apartment you can see an old Roman aqueduct from the front balcony. In takes only a two-minute walk to the top of my road to get you to an old Roman Road. You can walk along it to the other side of the island – approximately 6km where you’ll find a beautiful beach called Golden Sands, (it is easy to catch a bus back). Along the Roman Road you can find Roman Baths, Punic tombs (the oldest on Malta) and the Apiaries. It’s fascinating.
And once again it is only a 5-minute walk to the bus stop where you can catch a bus to the furthest northern part of the island where you can catch a ferry to the smaller island of Gozo. And you can either catch a short bus ride, or walk 30 minutes into one of the main tourist areas on Malta (less than 10 minutes by bus) and you will also find the National Aquarium there too, which is good for a rainy day.
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