For those who may remember, a few years ago, we were adopted by a stray cat.
We called him "Outside cat" for lack of a better name.
He was not cuddly or friendly and would run if you approached him in any way.
People suggested I catch him and have him "fixed". A good idea but in practice, impossible. He was very shy.
He was a gray tiger with weepy eyes. I did not expect him to stick around. I figured once he found out my female pooties were not gonna be available, he'd leave.
So he started hanging around. My kitties hissed and told him off. He was very quiet and patient and just hung around at a very respectable distance.
Toward the end of that summer, he would come up to our sliding door and look in. Sometimes he'd softly meow. So we'd give him the leftover food my finicky kitties would not eat. Midnight and Lucy Fur would not eat any canned food older than 15 minutes. So I tossed a lot of food. Now I had a garbage can that would clean the plate. He was like Mikey and would eat anything. We still called him "Outside Cat". It stuck after a few months. He would not come in and would hiss if you came too close. He soon started showing up every day for his meal. Sometimes, he'd miss a day or three, but he would return.
Once he disappeared for a month. Another cat, a black and white showed up for the food. We did not feed him. Shortly afterward, I spotted a dead black and white in the road nearby. No more visits from him and the gray striped, "Outside Cat" returned. A little bolder this time, sitting at the glass door waiting and looking sad. He always looked sad.
So we fed him. We'd put the "old" food bowls out and he'd come up and eat them, then leave.
Sometimes we'd see him hiding under the evergreens out back.
My kitties still hissed. But he was unflappable and would return every day for his handout.
He even started to look healthy. He put on weight and his fur thickened up.
I figured he disappear over winter. But he still showed up, and was still very shy.
It got colder and he became bolder, so one day, I left the door open with the food bowl inside. he entered the kitchen and after eating, took a walk around. He went down into the basement so I closed the door and let him stay there....it was supposed to be very cold that night and I have and extra litter box with dry food down there in emergency for my kitties.
He hid, of course. I let him out in the morning and he took off, glad to be away from his captivity.
He entered the house again, the following year, when I left the screen door open for my kitties to go in and out without annoying me. He walked right in, ate their food, went to their pad under a chair in the living room and that is where I spotted him. Like he owned the place! He was not, housebroken, alas and left a large gift on the rug.
My husband yelled at him and he took off, out the open screen door.
He only snuck in a couple more times. I would sit at my computer at the kitchen table and he would wander in. Help himself to a meal, hiss at me if I got too close and then leave. He would leave very quickly if he saw my husband.
That second winter, we built a shelter for him with a nice blanket, made out of a plastic storage bin. He never went in it.
The third year, he actually started brushing up against my hand as I would set the food bowl down. He didn't hiss as often. He started hanging around more. Often sunning himself on the walk or under plastic chairs on the patio. He didn't run away as often, but would keep and eye on you. I tried petting him once but he hissed and scratched my jeans leg. He would only let you touch him if he came to you...he did not like you going toward him.
Last summer he was the friendliest. He often sunned himself in our yard. He left little presents of partially eaten mice on the front door step. He did not run and hide when we worked in the garden or the yard. He even remained where he was when my almost 2 year old grandson was running around, playing catch with my husband. he was becoming very friendly.
Of course, it would not last. he was feral. He was "Outside Cat" who did not like to be petted. He wanted to come and go on his terms.
So, the week before Thanksgiving, Sunday night, I heard a very LOUD Meow. The loudest I'd heard in years. It was very dark so I opened the screen door to see what was wrong and "Outside Cat walked right in...quickly and boldly....but unstable.
I asked him, what is wrong with your back legs? He looked at me then went down the stairs and into the basement! He crawled behind the furnace and moaned and groaned. His breathing was very labored. I looked at him and asked if he had been hit by a car. He just gasped heavily. My two kitties came down the stairs and looked at "Outside Cat". They looked at me and then went back up and didn't hiss. I told "Outside Cat" that he was dying and I couldn't help him. My husband said, he doesn't look good.
He crawled out and lay down at the foot of the stairs and died. It took less than 15 minutes.
We buried "Outside Cat" in the back yard, under the evergreens.
It will always amaze me, the pain that "Outside Cat" was in, that he would come back to our place, from wherever he was hurt(no marks or breaks other than the hip), to return to a place of "safety" and to crawl down into a basement he had only been there once before.
It is odd, I guess, but I miss him.
I knew our relationship would end badly...feral cats last only about 6 to 8 years if they survive kittenhood in the wild.
Today is the kind of day "Outside Cat" would show up. He'd park himself in a pleasant green, shady spot with a good view of the food door and relax.
He is buried near this spot with green and shade and a good view of the food door.
Have a good day and may all the critters enjoy the life they have.