At 2 weeks old, this orphan kitten stole our hearts immediately. We decided to help this cat-like fellow, descendent of Alexander the Great, and find for him a new family. With a surprisingly uncanny resemblance to his adoptive mother: big, beautiful, eyeliner eyes and bowed back legs that made him waddle in a cute way, it was hard not to like him. Since the beginning he proved to be a very curious and courageous cat. He got along with everybody very easily and he even won the cat-haters around.
When he reached the end of his life at 2.5 months old (the same age as the the length of the biketour), Strudel was much better travelled than the majority of humans in the world. Despite not choosing his method of transport, he settled into the biketour way of life pretty quickly. He always enjoyed the cycling days as much as the best of bikers. In his makeshift home (a caravan made from a crate) he’d curl up on a pair of dirty underwear or his favourite orange blanket and watch the world go by. As he got used to the bumps and the downhills (he always hated downhills and would try to get on the back of the human in the front seat), he learnt to love the rides and would even ascend of his own accord to his roof terrace, to enjoy the feel of the wind in his ears, only jumping back into his home when an especially loud car or an especially big dog went past.
Strudel did not have his mother during his kittenhood, but instead he had lots of human aunties and uncles, and some principle carers who fed him, so we always tried to make his life as happy as possible and bring him the best education amongst humans for his future. In equal measure, he treated us to an endless number of very special and funny times. He shared his affection between Biketourers, choosing at whim whose sleeping bag he would sleep in each night, or whose face he would curl up on next. It got to the point where multiple requests were coming in each night to be Strudel’s bed companion. Once, whilst on a break from cycling, he stole an already dead bird from the Biketour dog, Knoedel, and would do anything to keep it to himself. We eventually pinned him down and put him in his caravan. On arrival after a strenuous cycle at Glyfa (a beautiful beach area where you catch the boat to Evia) there was nothing left of this freegan-ed bird, not even a feather! He had been devoured! On another occasion, he got bored of being in his caravan and went and sat on his mother’s shoulder whilst cycling. His mother then borrowed a bikini top from his father to carry the Strudel in like a little breast.
Strudel did not fail to fulfil the stereotype that cats have multiple lives: he had an unnervingly close relationship with death from almost as soon as he was born. He managed to keep a safe distance from danger most of the time, and there were many threats to the wellbeing of this tiny, nomadic creature: lorries, stray dogs, fast cars, and it turns out, humans. What made his death unbelievable was that Strudel had actually died before. He was squeezed and thrown roughly by a stranger and, in truth, it didn’t look good for the little thing. He had stopped breathing. But he miraculously pulled through after some mouth-to-mouth resuscitation from his human mother. After that, we thought, and he probably also believed, that he was invincible. Alas, a rough total of 4 lives had already been used up and there were probably a few more his human guardians did not witness. In the end, a bigger animal beast used up the rest of his lives, or, to look at it slightly differently… in the words of his mother: Death was constantly trying to avoid Strudel, but little Strudel found Death first.
I would like to think that Strudel lived by the motto ‘life is no fun if you don’t take risks’ and some of the most interesting (and famous) lives are short ones. He was certainly a celebrity of our Biketour world for that short time.
Our cat-like fellow Strudel passed away on September 24th, we wish him well on all his future travels.