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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