There is a rather unsavory back story to this that I am not entirely proud of.
Around about March/April of this year, several new cats arrived on the scene around our street. Two gorgeous grey cats. One a silver tabby – but with very light, swirly marled effects on her fur. The other, a Russian blue with a teddy bear face. They’d hang about our strip of garden in the afternoons and into the evenings during spring and summer. After a short while we gave them nicknames, RB (for Russian Blue) and GT (for Grey Tabby).
At this time I was putting out regular feeds for the foxes we get coming round. One particular fox with a limp, broken, left hind leg (which we imaginatively nicknamed Limpy) was becoming a nightly visitor. I’d put all manner of things out for ‘Limps’, mostly chicken bones, but sometimes cheap scraps of meat, or sausages, or things being sold off cheaply to ASDA, or sometimes jam sandwiches.
Shortly after starting up this routine, another cat appeared on the scene. This time, in the form of a kitten. Whilst I was putting food out for foxes this became a bit of a bane. You see, she would be around at night when I’d put out the fox food and she’d steal some. When putting chicken bones out, this was manifest in both concern and ire. Concern she’d eat bones she shouldn’t, and ire that she’d deplete food for the fox(es).
After a while, to repel her coming, I bought myself a high-power water pistol. When I put out food and saw her coming for it, I’d fire it at her. It didn’t work that successfully, only in so much as deterring her when she was fired on, and making her scared of me.
I thought of her purely as a pest, a bane, and I had nicknamed her f*ckface. This I am NOT proud of.
I just assumed she was owned. I just thought she had one of these ‘laissez-faire’ owners. You know the type I mean. One where a cat is just something that you just get and have outside to prey on all the small birds in your garden and use your flowerbeds as a litter tray. I think the word is, erm..irresponsible? Yeah, that’s it!
As the months wore away it was becoming obvious that the owner was either particularly ‘laissez-faire’, or, despite what we first thought, she actually was NOT owned. Or had been, and got lost. She was outside ALL the time. Day and night – particularly at night. Again, denoting irresponsible cat ownership.
As the summer went on, I fed the foxes less. There was less evidence of them coming around, so I pulled back on leaving food out, and I was getting tired of the ‘battle’ I was having with ****face when putting the food out. In the past 6-8 weeks I haven’t really put much out at all.
Em feeds the hedgehogs on a nightly basis, but it gets put into a covered box which only they (and other small animals – if they chose) can access. But as Em would go out to feed the hedgehogs, she’d have an ‘audience’. Primarily in the forms of RB and ****face. The latter would be particularly vocal about wanting food – having finally found her voice to meow and not run off at first sight of seeing Em coming out the door.
We are now about 2 weeks into a complete U-turn on my feelings for, who we now call, Roma. It came to me one night, thinking about her. Strange really, as she doesn’t “roam” but has always been here – right by us, right in our garden.
I’ve been thinking sometime now that we should try and catch her and take her to the vet to be scanned to see if she is microchipped. But we cannot get near her. I have given her too much fear of us by having tried to warn AND ward her off in the past. We are trying to rebuild the trust. She is now semi-feral. I think due to never actually being owned (or owned for a short time as a kitten, but getting lost).
We have also taken to feeding her regularly now. She seems endlessly hungry. She has a gaping pit of a stomach. But she would do if she’s been out having to defend herself for the past six months. I suspect she has worms, which we will treat as soon as we can by buying worming granules we can add to the food we feed her.
We can’t have her indoors, as our own cat Chrissy would just NOT allow it to happen. So we are caring for her as best we can. feeding her, giving her warm bedding to sleep in/on at night (spraying it with flea treatment to help ward off any fleas she may have – we’ll try to give her internal flea treatment too ASAP), and just hoping over time we may win her trust enough to perhaps see if she’s owned. But there is a little part of me that thinks, frankly, if you can let a kitten out to fend for itself, it goes missing and you can’t even be bothered to try and find it (Em has kept an eye on the local notice boards for missing cats, and one like Roma has never appeared), then well, perhaps we can do a better job!
So, here we are, sort of a two cat ‘family’. Meet Roma…