Tinker: The Cat Who Walked Across Town

Cats know what they want in life and for this cat, moving across town to a new subdivision was not where he wanted to spend his old age.

Tinker was an old cat when he came to live with us. He was my first cat, my first pet in fact. Originally not ours, but our neighbour’s cat, he came to live with us by choice.

The neighbours had moved to a new house on the other side of town, probably three or four miles from the street we lived in. Much to my disappointment they took Tinker, their cat, with them. I’d always wanted a cat and so think I missed Tinker more than the family when they left.

About a week after their departure the phone rang, asking if we’d seen Tinker. He’d run away from his new house and endless searching had failed to locate him. The neighbours had heard stories of cats travelling long journeys to return to their old home and so wondered if we’d seen him.

Everyone in my family agreed, this trip from his new home back to his old one would be too much for an aging cat. No one wanted to think about Tinker’s fate. We told the neighbours we’d look out for him, but didn’t really think much more about it. New people moved into the house next door and Tinker slipped from mind.

Many weeks later we heard a pitiful meow outside one night. Dad took a look outside, but no cat could be seen. The meow started again early in the morning. This time it seemed to come from the veranda, right outside our back door. Can you imagine our surprise when we opened the door and there was Tinker, looking up at us? He looked very thin and sounded very hungry, but we were delighted to see him. After lots of cuddles and having no suitable food for a cat in our house, we set down a large plate of milk and Tinker showed us how hungry he was.

That night we all gathered around the phone while Dad rang the neighbours and reluctantly told them of Tinker’s arrival back at his old home. There was a silence at the other end of the phone. Then they told us how they’d thought they’d lost him forever and had got another cat. They suggested, since he obviously wanted to live where he’d grown up, we might like to keep him? I held my breath, hoping Dad wouldn’t say no.

And so it was that Tinker came to live with us. He lived for many more years, until one day our old cat wasn’t there for breakfast. When he failed to turn up over the next few days, we knew it wasn’t a journey across town that Tinker had taken, but his final journey to cat heaven.

It was some time though before the mystery of where he’d laid himself to rest was solved. Towards the end of the next summer the new owners complained of a strange smell coming from under their house. Dad clicked on pretty quickly and said he thought he knew what it might be. He crawled under the house with a torch, searching in every corner until he found what he was looking for. He was right. Tinker had made his last journey under the next door house, the house he’d spent his younger years in. We were all pleased to finally know what had become of him and be able to give him a proper burial.

More cat stories:

Ginger Cat Curled Up with Dad

Feeding the Neighbors Cat – Or Was I?

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User Comments
  1. payaltyagi

    On May 19, 2011 at 11:44 am


  2. Sharif Ishnin

    On May 19, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    Wonderful but yet a sad tale. The first cat will always be the most memorable one Val. A very touching entry especially for those who had share a similar experience.

  3. Cyni1106

    On May 19, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    Very touching sad story. I enjoyed this very much. Sad to say we do have to say goodbye to our pets one day. That is so hard to do. Life is to short for all living things. Human or pet. Thanks for the share, it was beautiful.

  4. mahesh golani

    On May 19, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    Your story telling must be lauded! You kept my interest till the end! great job!

  5. yes me

    On May 19, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    A good share here Val cheers

  6. Michal Dorcak

    On May 19, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    Good article, felt sad towards the end though :(

  7. papaleng

    On May 20, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    A very enjoyable read, though saddened by Tinker’s death.

  8. PR Mace

    On May 20, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    Animals are amazing. As a young adult, when I first left the home of my parents, I moved to a small apartment. I could not have pets. I left my dog Shad with my parents. My father thought Shad needed a better home so he gave him to some friends with a large farm 50 miles away. A week later Shad was sitting on my parents front porch. He lived with them for the rest of his life.

  9. Christine Ramsay

    On May 20, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    That is a lovely story, Val, even though it had a sad ending.

  10. Lord Banks

    On May 20, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    What a sad story we lost a dear cat 2 years ago its heart wrenching. We now have to saved sanctuary cats to fill our lives. Great article. LB

  11. Brenda Nelson

    On May 21, 2011 at 10:52 am

    I have often told people that cats bond to places, not people.. when a person moves they need to keep their cat indoors for quite a while, even months, until it has bonded to the new home.

    I loved your story, it made me cry.

  12. Shirley Shuler

    On May 21, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    What a heartfelt story, Val. You kept my attention to the very end, I must admit, the ending made me a little sad.

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