About 7 o’clock this morning, as per usual, I went out on to the deck with a mug of tea and joined Rick who’d been out there since about 6.30am drinking coffee.
I could hear a cat meowing and asked Rick about it, to which he said he’d been hearing it for a while. He looked over the deck railing and saw a tabby-looking cat going by, and then he saw another, a smaller black one. They both looked like strays, emaciated and wet.
Rick’s good heart kicked into gear and he said he was going to give them something to eat. He went inside and came out with a piece of aluminium foil containing some dry food that Rick and Janice’s cat Blackie eats. He laid it down on the grass, and immediately both cats came and ate it as if they hadn’t eaten for weeks. They ate all of it ravenously, even looking for crumbs that may have spilled on the grass. There was no fighting each other for the food, no competition whatsoever, and this suggested that our first thoughts that these were mother and kitten was most likely right. Rick then went and got them some water, which they didn’t drink straightaway. He then went and brought a bowl full of dry food which they ate just as fast as the first lot.
After that, Rick and I sat on the deck swing to see what would happen, both wondering if we were about to inherit two cats, which probably wouldn’t be the best thing to do because the incumbent cat Blackie was not likely to accept another cat in the house, let alone two cats, and a meeting of same could prove disastrous.
After just a few minutes, the black cat came up the steps to the deck and jumped up on the swing and started nuzzling us. Clearly this was a cat accustomed to people. And after a few more minutes, the larger tabby cat came up to the deck as well, a bit more nervous but it began to nuzzle around our legs. Soon both were making themselves at home in our arms and our resistance to any idea of them staying was melting rapidly away.
We had reckoned that the two cats were mother and kitten. These two were clearly together and happy together. Here are two photos which Janice took during the first hour or so the cats had been with us.
During the course of the day we put more food out for them, and they were drinking the water with more enthusiasm. We left them alone most of the time, but they stayed put on the deck and showed no signs of being prepared to move on after having had a good feed.
It occurred to Rick that the ‘tabby’ might be a Maine Coon cat which would be a valuable pedigree cat. It certainly is a beautiful cat, has tufting ears, a big bushy tail and big paws, and coloring, looking EXACTLY like this Googled photo of a full grown one (and they grow to be big cats, although ours looks too small to be a mother already).
If the tabby turned out to be a Maine Coon, the probability would be that it was microchipped and had got lost, and should be reunited with its owner; so the right thing would be to take it to the vet to check if it was chipped, and if so to ask the vet return it to the owner.
Mid-afternoon we took both cats to the local vet, where we discovered to everyone’s surprise that these are two young male cats, about 7 months old; and evidently brothers to judge by their togetherness. The vet thought it was very strange. Neither was microchipped, the vet said. And the “Maine Coon’ was certainly in there somewhere but this was probably not a 100% pedigree Maine Coon.
So after that, we started shopping for the cats; we bought a large container of cat food, taking the vet’s advice that the cats would eat anything; and then we went looking for an outdoor cat kennel, which proved more of a challenge. It was looking as though the cats already had been taken into residence at Rick and Janice’s, though Janice has three sisters who also like cats so the final solution was possibly not yet at hand.
To complicate matters further, the cats were becoming very settled in with us, and very affectionate, cuddling up together either by themselves on the deck swing or on one or others of us’ knees or chest. In turn, we had all begun to fall for them earlier in the day and by now we were hopelessly besotted by them. However….
There was no way the cats would ever get inside the house, because we all thought that Blackie would reject them viciously – and, believe me, Blackie can be vicious. This couldn’t be risked. So the cats were to stay outside, and whether they would still be there in the morning would remain to be seen.
Prematurely, perhaps, Rick thought we should give the cats names. The vet had described the situation of two stray male cats staying together, and being so “together”, to be strange, so Rick came up with the names Oscar and Felix, the names of “The Odd Couple” in the U.S. TV series.
The big question is, will Oscar and Felix still be here tomorrow morning?