Feeding the Neighbors Cat – Or Was I?

Cats have very definite personalities and like to remind us they cannot be owned by mere human beings.

We once lived in a wonderful part of Wellington city here in New Zealand, tucked up in the hills of the northern suburbs, backing on to a park area. We had two beautiful cats at the time, both of whom enjoyed being able to hunt and explore in the largely unused park before returning to enjoy the comforts of home.

Our small cul-de-sac street was a small one, each house nestled into the hills giving us privacy, but also meaning we didn’t know our neighbors. One Christmas, (remembering it is summer here in NZ at that time of year) we decided to hold a street barbecue and invite members of the other households in the street. The event was a great success. One result was that we were asked to feed a neighbors cat while they were away on holiday. Because we often needed cat feeders ourselves when away, we willingly agreed.

A few days later I wandered down the drive and visited the neighbors for the first time, to meet their cat and get feeding instructions. They explained their cat was very shy, in fact it had been a stray when they first met it. However, as it seemed to always be around their house they decided to adopt it and started feeding it. After a few months however, this timid cat had still not ventured inside. They had managed to take a few photos of the cat however, and brought them out to show me.

Imagine my surprise when there, staring at me from the photos, was out cat Tess. Yes, she was a timid cat, but she certainly wasn’t a stray, but a much loved and well fed cat who slept on our bed at night. No wonder she was looking fat in recent months.

What a cunning girl she was and obviously not as shy as we thought. After having a good laugh about the situation we decided that Tess would not get fed next door during the neighbors absence, but would have to make do with what we offered her. The only thing we could think of was that she ventured next door to get away from our younger, more energetic male cat by sleeping in their wonderful garden. Having been spotted on several occasions they’d started feeding her, and lets face it, what cat in their right mind is going to turn down an extra feed.

Tess is no longer with us, but I’ll always remember how I was asked to feed the neighbors cat and found our darling Tess was expecting a second meal.

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User Comments
  1. Jimmy Shilaho

    On April 9, 2011 at 10:49 am

    A good series of recollections. I am waiting for the full set of memoirs.


    On April 9, 2011 at 10:56 am

    great work from you as always impressive writer

  3. Diane Ziomek

    On April 9, 2011 at 10:59 am

    That is so neat. Cats do have their own sets of rules, don’t they? Lucky for you and her the neighbors were kind and didn’t try to chase her away. I love cats, and have several outdoors. We cannot have them inside due to my partner’s allergies, although I do threaten him with a cat on occasion. :)

  4. Brenda Nelson

    On April 9, 2011 at 11:02 am

    ha ha that is a funny story, your cat was pretty clever

  5. johnnydod

    On April 9, 2011 at 11:40 am

    Crafty animals those cat nice story Val

  6. Guy Hogan

    On April 9, 2011 at 11:51 am

    That is a pretty good story. And it is true. And well written, too.

  7. Karen Gross

    On April 9, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    That was a good one! Cats are very wise.

  8. elnavann

    On April 9, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    Ha ha – one of the cutest cat stories I have heard

  9. TrevorS

    On April 9, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    What a great story Val. I hope she got a treat for being so clever.

  10. sloanie

    On April 9, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    This story was the cats whiskers Val.

  11. Avrila Klaus

    On April 9, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    Hilarious! My family has had several cats, over the years, that we’ve decided must have a “second home.”

  12. martie

    On April 9, 2011 at 9:14 pm

    When your story began I thought you were going to discover that the neighbors cat looked just like yours, and you had been feeding the wrong one! This way was better. For the cat at least!

  13. lapasan

    On April 10, 2011 at 2:31 am

    She was a nice cat. It should have been better if she stayed in your house rather than your neighbors.

  14. DemonDogZack

    On April 10, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    If anyone wants a cat feel free to take one. My house has too many!

  15. Pearl Wilson

    On April 10, 2011 at 11:05 pm

    Just thinking about Tess makes me laugh! What a bright, lovely cat!

  16. madmimi

    On April 11, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    My cats and I enjoyed your article. I am new to Triond and am enjoying your writing!

  17. Shirley Shuler

    On April 11, 2011 at 9:32 pm

    That was a great cat story, Val, loved it.

  18. Michal Dorcak

    On April 13, 2011 at 6:10 am

    Haha, my grandma’s cat (male) does this thing on purpose all over the village where she (and he) lives. Even though, he used to hunt everything that moved (he is too old now though), he did not feel sorry to collect the free meals all over the village (at grandma’s, closest neighbors and pretty much everywhere else where they did not have their own “exclusive” cat). Most of the cats in that village nowadays are his offsprings (there were no such cats there before we moved him there – black and white, relatively small, but fast and cunning, kittens of such color and size started to appear about a year later). By the way, funny thing is that he could (when he was younger) actually defeat any dog that would try to attack him. It was fun watching him and grandma’s German Shepherd dog. After few fights (when the cat did not make his escape on time), the dog stopped attacking him and started to pay him respects like he would to an alpha male.

  19. helborod

    On April 13, 2011 at 7:13 am

    I love cats, great story,,

  20. Christine Ramsay

    On April 14, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    That is so funny. My hubby has just come in to see what all the noise is about as I can’t stop laughing and he is joined in too.

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