Rudyard Kipling knew cats well. He must have done to write 'I am the cat that. walks by himself. All places are alike to me'. I really think that very few people are indifferent to cats - we either love them or we don't. I have had cats for most of my life but then changed to dogs when I moved into the country and retired, giving me time to take my dog for a walk. But we always had much loved farm cats - they always got well fed and of course being a dairy farm for some years they never went short of milk (they were not above helping themselves). Ernest, a gentle but rather stand-offish tabby - lived to a ripe old age. As he was originally a stray we didn't know his age but on the day he died the farmer came across him lying on the path in the garden, obviously very sick. He came into the house looking for a box (Ernest never came in) so that he could put some sweet smelling hay into it and put him in the shade somewhere. When he went back with the box there was no sign at all of Ernest. The next morning the box had not been slept in but the farmer found Ernest, dead, under the shed. He wished to die in his own way.
Today the lock on my front door broke. I had to ring the locksmith, who I have had several times before. He is very good and came more or less straight away. This time it was the expensive inner mechanism which had broken so that had to be replaced not repaired and it cost me £130. But it had to be done. After he had done we sat chatting and he told me about their stray. I dare say many. many people could tell this, or a similar story = I have heard it so many times.
Several years ago a stray cat 'adopted' them. After several weeks of hanging around the back door and deigning to eat some of the food which they put out for him (only that which he chose to eat) he came in - first j ust into the kitchen and then, as the weather got colder and they lit the logburner, he would curl up in front of it and really make himself 'at home'. That is until the onset of Winter last year when he disappeared one day and they never saw him again. They worried about him on cold nights and left the shed window open and a box with a blanket in it and often food - but it was never interfered with and eventually they decided that he had probably died. They had become fond of him and were quite sad. A few weeks ago the locksmith saw him sitting in the kitchen window giving himself a good wash .....of a house four doors away. The woman was in the garden and he asked her if it was her cat. She replied that he had just turned up one day last Autumn and made himself 'at home' and had been there ever since. She remarked how 'picky' he was with his food - how he only liked the best, but how they had really grown fond of him.
The locksmith didnt tell her where the cat had come from.
Would you have claimed him as your own or would you have left him where had chosen to go?