My landlady has been seeing a thin tabby cat several times since last autumn. It comes from the derelict and abandoned holiday centre over the road. (A result of over-confident developers who thought they wouldn't need any planning permission to knock it down & re-build)
I've been over there a few times, after she's told me she's just seen it crossing the busy road, but it's a needle in a hay stack situation. There are dozens of chalets, all damaged with doors ripped off and broken windows. It's quite creepy, especially as five years ago it was still a popular family holiday centre.
There's an owners bungalow which is still in good order, although a squatter was evicted a month or so ago. The last proper tenants left nearly a year ago. They might have left the cat.
Funny how things work out. My strays and ferals have turned up in two-year intervals. It's two years in June since Kitty turned up. We are due another, we said last weekend.
On Wednesday I drove home down a side road, and as I approached the junction with the main road the car in front of me had stopped. I soon saw why. The driver was patiently waiting for a thin tabby cat to decide whether he wanted to cross the road or not, and I got my first look of the poor creature I was beginning to think was a figment of my landlady's imagination. He looked like he had barely enough strength to stand.
Unfortunately the next car coming along the main road was not so kind, and appeared to drive right over him. I urged the car in front to get out of my way so I could quickly turn into my drive and run into the house to grab some biscuits.
The poor cat was hiding on a wall, looking like he intended to jump down into the jungle that used to be a lawn should I get too close. I left some biscuits on the wall, and ran back to get a cat basket and some rather rich smelling wet food.
When I returned he was eating the biscuits, meowing loudly. I moved to touch him and he pushed his bony head in my hand. I picked him up, but messed up putting him in the basket and he ran off through some padlocked gates.
I thought I had missed my chance, but he could not resist the meat and he was soon back. On my hands and knees (still in my work clothes) I caught him, and home he came.
On closer inspection he looks quite young, and is totally emaciated. He has no strength to do anything but eat and sleep. Den named him Smudge. I said I would think about it, but then I did the weekly shop last night, armed with the shopping list he always writes for me. Cat food section ( for our fussy eaters) said Rolly Food, Whiskers Food, Kitty Food and Smudge Food. He wrote the list a couple of hours after the cat arrived.
So his name is Smudge, and we are going through the acceptance problems so common with cats.
Rolly did not even stop eating his food when he first saw him, and has ignored him ever since. I am typing this on the bed and they are both sleeping on it.
Kitty has a fear of strange cats, and that will take some time. Whiskers has to be restrained and watched at every second. He is the top cat and doesn't want his place threatened, but he had some time with me quietly this afternoon.
Hagar, my neighbours absolute lunatic kitten cat, was stunned into keeping still. His eyes bulged out his head like he had never seen such an animal before.
In the meantime Smudge is staying in the bedroom at night, on his own bed. He has slept soundly through both nights he has been here. When he if fit enough and less stressed I will take him to the vets for a check up. He has been neutered, and is comfortable with all the noises of the home, like the TV etc.
So my guess is the last tenants of the bungalow left him to fend for himself, and although there are baby rabbits by the dozen over there, he's obviously failed to provide for himself.
Welcome home, cat number Four.
|Just after his first feed|
|His head and tail are normal size. The rest is skin & bone, there's nothing where his tummy should be.|