Suddenly, there were THREE cats here...
by Bob Wilson
(Beaufort SC USA)
This is Puddy Pie
Four years ago, in midsummer, a neighborhood ginger stray came up our sidewalk to our front porch while I was sitting there. I gave her a saucer of water and she drank it, then wandered away. A week later, it was back and I repeated the present of a saucer of water.
It hung out a bit longer this time, and sat on the porch railing for awhile before going off again. This became a daily event very soon after that, and I began to feed her from a bag of dry cat food. She would not come into the house however... until one very cool, verging on cold, evening.
From that point on, we were hers. We had learned that it was a pet who had been left behind by a neighbor unceremoniously when the neighbor was transferred far out of town.
We took it to the local vet, learned that it was a 'she' about a year old, got her shots, and we christened her as "Puddy Pie." She's an indoor/outdoor cat who refuses to use the litter box and does all of her business outside (most of the time, that is).
She is not especially affectionate, but will turn the affection on and of when she needs it. She is not very vocal, and only sometimes emits an almost silent "mew", but this is rare.
Then, this past winter, another neighborhood stray, a presumably neutered male tuxedo cat, took up residence on our front porch and built a sleeping nest for himself under our dining room window at night.
We built him a nest in a box next to the front door, and he took to it quickly. He is extremely shy and wary of contact. Our ginger didn't like him to be around her territory so much, and he didn't show any desire to come into the house, which was fine with us, and even more so with Puddy.
We call this one "Mr. P.", because more often than not, Puddy will hiss and flatten her ears to him when he gets too close. Mr. P. is a neighborhood wanderer, and we suspect that he gets his food not only the dry outdoor food we provide for me, but also from some others in the neighborhood.
Puddy has come to 'sort of' tolerate Mr. P's presence and he can offer a plaintive "meow" when he's looking for food at either our front or back doors.
Then, about say a month ago, ANOTHER lost or abandoned cat showed up on our front porch while I was sitting there, and purring madly, jumped up onto my lap and demanded head and body caresses from me... constantly. Puddy seemed to tolerate this one's presence more equitably, and this one you had to forcefully keep from running into the house.
The new one, however, totally intimidated Mr. P., and he basically disappeared from the scene. We'd then see him only once a day or so, creeping stealthily around the house perimeter. This cat has an essentially white body with large tan markings, a white nose, a black mask-like upper face, a white ring toward the tip of its black tail, and the most amazing bright blue eyes I've ever seen in an animal.
By its behavior, we figured it had strayed away from its home and was incredibly lonely and affectionate. We posted "found" notices all around the neighborhood and at the local vets, but no-one claimed it. We named it "Frankie" ("Ol' Blue Eyes") for obvious reasons, but we've just found him a new loving home, due to somewhat of a tragedy.
Last week, one of our neighborhood friends who has two cats and a dog, fell in love with "Frankie", but her husband was reluctant to take on a third cat. Then, last weekend they lost to strangulation by a vine in their yard, one of the cats who they had housed for 11 years.
Making a long story even longer, they took Frankie home three days ago, to a happy home. And guess what? Mr. P. has come back around regularly and in fact, spent all afternoon out on our back deck with Puddy and me!