Feral cats come and feral cats go. When they go, they stay gone.
Mr. Inscrutable joined the nightly scrum at the porch food bowl during the winter holidays and charmed his way into the bosomly embrace of Mrs. U. But he declined, despite entreaties, to cross the threshold into the household proper.
Mocking her desire for him, he sauntered back to the Crazy Cat Lady house, and there he remained in regal indifference.
Then he disappeared altogether, like so many before him.
Months later, he’s back…and looking unwell. Skeletal. Grimy. Missing tufts of fur. Hoarsely moaning for food.
A plate of pate was brought to him.
The mystery of where he had gone deepened as he gobbled. If his appetite was robust, he wasn’t suffering from one of those unmentionable feline maladies which can only be named by initials.
“I think he was stuck somewhere he couldn’t get out of and was only able to wriggle free after starving for weeks.” The where and why and how of such a scenario remained cryptic, yet it seemed as likely an explanation as any other.
He sleeps curled up in front of the door now. He rarely leaves our porch. He even head-butts for attention.
But he still doesn’t enter the house. It’s a cat thing.