Tuesday, 9 August 2011
I am going to write a bit about each cat, starting with Whiskers. He appeared in my garden about four years ago. I noticed straight away his dazzling white whiskers and smart bib, with matching paws. His coat was glossy, and he wasn't thin. I thought there might be a chance he belonged to someone, but at the back of my mind I doubted this, simply because I have so few neighbours and am surrounded by so many farms. If a cat turns up, it's usually a feral farm cat.
Whiskers wasn't tame at all, but he kept appearing every night, sitting on an old log and staring at the house. I had three other cats at the time, Rolly, Max and Candy. Max and Candy were very old, but Rolly went on guard duty and prowled around trying to look threatening.
There were quite a few aggressive spats, but poor Rolly was no match for the young tom. He was determined to get his paw through the door.
I began feeding him deep in the woods, the same place every night. He came to the bowl, ate, then left always in the same direction. One day I managed to touch his head as he was eating. He shrank from my touch, but didn't run away.
By this time a few months had passed, and winter was on the way. I knew I would not get him accepted in the house anytime soon, so I made him a cosy blanket bed in the shed, with a window left open for access. He took to it straight away. By this time I could stroke him, but he easily became too excited and wanted to play roughly.
I spent a good hour each dark evening with him in his shed-home while the others dozed by the fire indoors. I felt guilty to leave him alone, in the dark.
Finally, I was able to get him in a carrier and take him to the vets to be done. I hoped his aggressive streak would lessen, and it has to a certain extent. He still has a wild side to him, though.
I had to let him go back out into the garden after his op. I gambled that he wouldn't run off, and he didn't. A few weeks later he was in the house, sleeping in a separate room from the others.
Now,some four years later, he prefers to stay out most nights but he's always back in the morning. If he catches a mouse, there's no playing. It's caught and eaten in seconds. Things still excite him and his reaction is usually to attack, like when another cat runs past him.
But he also has moments of complete affection. He's my wild boy, more than capable of surviving without humans, but choosing to stay nevertheless.