Latte, the Shy Cat

Lately, my cats have been very taken with what’s going on out in the world beyond their windows. As inside-only cats, they tend to be rather voyeuristic snoops and spies on the neighbourhood goings-on. They probably know more about my neighbours than I do – it’s a good thing they’re not talkers!

One lot of neighbours have a couple of cats, one of which – Lucy – tends to drop by all the time, and make neener-neener faces at Smudge and Biggun (EnormousCat). Smudge tries to make kissy faces back, but Biggun gets bigger and fluffier and wails at me to let him out and deal with her impudence. (As a former alleycat and likely super heavy-weight brawling champion in one of his former lives, it’s probably best I keep him indoors – Lucy is half-a-feather weight and would disappear underneath his enormousness).

But Lucy has recently been joined by a new mystery cat. At first I thought it was Romeo returned from wherever he’s been, but rather than the white fluff with the big black heart on his bum, I’ve discovered a creamy part-tabby with startling blue eyes!

He’s so shy, but I think that he has probably been handled before. He doesn’t show any aggression as I’d expect from a feral cat. He is, however, intact, so whoever owned him previously didn’t think to take care of business. :(

Yesterday, I tried to coax him closer with a line of kibble treats, but overestimated my own accuracy and actually struck him with a nugget. I was probably more upset about it than he was, but he fled the scene like his tail was on fire. I felt awful! Good intentions aside, I worried I might have chased him away from the only really safe place he’s been. There’s a leaky tap near where he’s adopted as his bed, and though I’ve been meaning to get my landlord to fix it, I’m not in a great rush to see that done for now.

Summer is coming.

(I have so much more dread for heatwaves than any whitewalker!)

I found him yesterday hiding under my car, and left him the same blue cat bowl I’d been leaving out occasionally for local strays, suspecting he’d been taking advantage of my intermittent hospitality. Watching from the window, I saw him eat it all up moments later, so he’s definitely comfortable with humans feeding him. He’s getting a mix of dry kibble and some wet food with extra water mixed in.

I have issues with outside cats in parts of the world where precious and rare wildlife are likely to become prey. Here in Tasmania, we have creatures that exist no where else in the world, that have no other natural predators until we came along with our european pets, accustomed to the freedom to chase bunnies and birds. I’m not about to go out and yell at my neighbours for letting Lucy come and hang on my front stairs, but I take every opportunity to scold her through the window, telling her she should stay at home and not to chomp on anything she shouldn’t.

That said, my roof is full of rotten little starlings, which are also a pest in Tasmania, and I actually have no problem at all with the local cats culling the population living in my ceiling. I’m thinking of putting out a No Vacancy sign.

Latte, as an intact Tom cat roaming freely, bothers me. I’d like to find his former owners and unleash my inner Donald Duck on them, but it’s unlikely I’ll ever know who they are. Unless you’re reading this and you own this poor cat, you better get in touch and do the right thing by him!

My plan is to keep feeding him at regular times, encouraging him to stay close by (to eat my starlings and stay away from the road) until I can catch him and take him to the vet. If he’s got a microchip, I’ll see to it that his owners are contacted. Otherwise, I’ll get him neutered and discuss options with the vet. Biggun isn’t going to tolerate another adult cat introduced to the household – Smudge as a kitten was fine, but I think an adult cat would invite disaster. I’ve already mentioned my issues with outside cats, but if I were to take him to the awesome Hobart Cat Centre to be rehabilitated and rehomed, he’d probably end up as an outside cat again anyway. Is it better to adopt him myself, keep him well fed and close by, or trust that the good people at the Hobart Cat Centre will find him a better home?

I’ll deal with that if/when I have to. He’ll probably never let me catch him anyway.

Smudge and Biggun and a bird turd on my screen. Just one of many reasons I hate my infestation of starlings!
Smudge and Biggun and a bird turd on my screen. Just one of many reasons I hate my infestation of starlings! They’re very interested in the blue bowl of cat food going to a stranger.
stare
He is such a pretty boy, though. A shame I can’t get close enough to photograph his derpy blue eyes (I think he’s a bit inbred).
handsome2
Skin and bones, but otherwise is probably quite young.
Skin and bones, but otherwise he’s probably quite young.


4 Comments

  • Heather

    2014/12/14

    You are a wonderful person to care about the neighbourhood strays and ferals the way you do. <3

    Also, starlings are a nuisance, period. Pesky little birds!

    Reply
    • Amelia Beare

      2014/12/14

      Starlings are horrible! And every starling in the street lives in my ceiling space!

      Thankfully I don’t get a lot of ferals, but I’ll do what I can for the strays. I suspect my yard is appealing because I never do anything with it and it grows wild and out of control a lot of the time. Perfect for shy cats to hide. Though seriously, I really need to do something about my yard!

      Reply
  • Katie

    2014/12/15

    He’s such a lovely looking cat! Does he always have his eyes half-closed like that, or is he one of those cats who like to look perfectly normal… right up until the camera shutter goes off? I wish you success in your plan to keep both him and the native wildlife safe.

    Reply
    • Amelia Beare

      2014/12/22

      He does seem to have his eyes always half closed. I thought at first it might be an eye problem like conjunctivitis or that kitty chlamydia, but I think he’s just a half-closed sort of guy. It would explain how the other cats I’ve seen around him haven’t reacted aggressively, though. He’s constantly presenting an ‘I’m friendly’ face to everyone. Even my EnormousCat, who has been very cat aggressive in the past, didn’t growl or hiss or posture aggressively!

      I took Latte to the shelter today. Hopefully he’ll get all the care I can’t give him, and a new home – it turns out he’s actually quite friendly, once he trusts you. :)

      Reply

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