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:
If you’re interested in writing, click here to join the Triond writing community.