Unfortunately its now Sooty’s turn to be “home and away”. After the relief of Moggy Maid finding him at the end of the holiday, it emerged that there is a more ongoing issue. He was missing again the following day, but was found again round on the next street … and carefully carried home. Lots of anxiety about whether old age was encroaching and he was becoming confused and easily lost. He was grounded for a few days.
The very next day that he was allowed out he was missing again, and found more or less in the same place. However this time, rather than being on the street he was in a front garden .. and this time the discovery was observed. A retired lady … lets call her “Dora” to save the embarrassment of identifying her … came out of the house and informed us that Sooty had been hanging out round her house for about two weeks, singing up to her at her bedroom window (poor woman … the voice of a deaf cat is tuneless to say the least) and she’d been concerned that he was a stray. However he had then disappeared for a few days (yeah … grounded!) and she’d hoped he’d found his way home. Whilst explaining that she didn’t have a cat of her own, the last one had sadly died some time ago, a group of felines assembled around her feet. It seems these are the latch key kits of our neighbouring street. Whilst their humans are out earning money for pouches, these guys gather and are seduced by tins of evaporated milk. She assured me though that she’d not fed Sooty, and we walked slowly home.
It was the weekend and Soots was missing again. I bumped into Dora on my way to find him … she confided that she’d given Mr Tabby some evap milk, she hadn’t fed Sooty, but thought he might be finishing off what Mr Tabs left. She was off out but I was welcome to go round to the back of her house if needs be to find Sooty. It’s not great being deaf. I walked round the side of the house, clocked an empty bowl with a rim of evaporated milk around it, and an elderly black and deaf cat sitting by it cleaning his whiskers. All very contented. His face when he turned and saw me was priceless .. but sadly not captured on camera.
This infidelity is manageable on a weekend. It’s easy to allow an hour or so, and then nip over to collect a besotted black cat. Not so easy in the week. Each day its been a dilemma of whether to lock the cat flap and confine everyone to barracks, or let everyone out. Majority vote has meant that mostly its been an open flap regime. So each evening this week we’ve collected Sooty from Dora’s front garden. Initially this was done by arriving home, realizing Soot was absent, and walking round to the next street to find him. It’s not far if you’re able to push through hedges, but if you have to walk round on the road its a bit of a trek, particularly if its raining or you’re late home from work. So, the last few nights we’ve dropped by in the car on the way home to collect him.
It’s not the end of the world, we know where he is, and he’s fine. However, milk is not good for cats and tends to upset their tummies. Evaporated milk appears to be even worse. If we lock the cat flap, 6 cats who are used to being about to use the outside toilet have to start using the lit trays. If one those cats has a lactose intolerance and gets an upset tum, the other 5 complain strongly (and understandably) about hygiene and their concern about where they can safely put their feet if they go into the tray “for convenience”.