For the last three months, a stray cat has been loitering around the studio. Being out in a rural area, I see stray cats from time to time, mostly feral and scavenging for food. But this little guy, affectionately named “Fred” (or “Freddy” or “Frederick” or “Federico” – however the mood struck me), was recognisably different from the rest. He didn’t seem as mangy as the standard feral and my suspicion was that he was dumped out here as a young kitten and forced to fend for himself.
He was quickly shown the lay of the land by our oldest cat, Jonesy. This lad is a big puss, and even though he is incredibly generous with his territory, Jonesy still likes to make it clear who is the boss. So Fred never became hostile towards my two cats because of his fracas with the Jones, and settled into a mutually considerate existence on the back deck. But whilst he may have been friendly with Jonesy, my little girl Ella never cared for Fred and would avoid any areas where he lay. I also think that perhaps Jonesy was merely tolerating Fred…
It took me some time to arrive at the point where Fred would trust me enough to allow me to handle him. When I finally did, the affection he displayed towards a simple stroke of the back was extremely touching. He had obviously never felt the kind hand of a human. Soon though, he became exceedingly demanding, clawing at the back door for his breakfast and dinner. I think he learnt some bad habits from Jonesy!
To cut a long story short, I had to make a tough decision and surrender him to the RSPCA. The bottom line was that Jonesy and Ella have a special bond that was disrupted by the introduction of Fred, and my consideration had to lie with my two beloved babies. Since Fred departed last week, Ella has been much happier and she and Jonesy have begun to play again – something they hadn’t really done during the past three months. Hopefully, Fred will find a new home with loving ‘parents’ who will give him all the affection he craves.