Just as negotiating our work-life city-country balance leaves us feeling we have a Claytons life, we now appear to have, for the moment at least, a Claytons cat to go with it.
Both the G.O. and I are cat, and dog, lovers and have in the past shared our lives with domestic four-legged-furry-ones. Since then, all the while we’ve been muttering our mantra we do not have room in our life, literally, for a cat, making do with pats from neighbourhood cats and befriending a couple of strays around our city apartment locale.
Late last year at Taylors Arm a little black cat started hanging around between our and both neighbours’ yards. Not uncommon as there was always an overflow from the too-numerous cats belonging to a house further up the road, and we’ve taken a couple of kittens to the local RSPCA. Around the time that house burned down is when the black cat started hanging out with LHS neighbour’s cats (of that same origin) but towards the end of our late January Australia Day long weekend stay she started waiting outside our back fence for food but wouldn’t come in. On our last day she waited and would only eat inside the fence near where the G.O.’s ute was parked.
Upon our return a few months later at Easter, Black Cat promptly appeared in our carport, waiting expectantly. After being fed, she settled in for the short duration of our stay. LHS & RHS neighbours said they’d seen her on our verandah and had been feeding her but she was too wild for any other contact. Hmmm, this is the same Black Cat, which we now called Soossie-Dorrie-Floss who meowed for food, followed the G.O., jumped on laps, wandered through our house and annexed the comfy pozzies.
Not sure that Soossie Cat’s attachment to us was permanent (after all we’d had LHS neighbour’s grey cat aka Crazy Cat as a holiday houseguest before she gifted him to friends when he couldn’t cope with the two old semi-stray cats in her keeping) we ascertained from LHS neighbour that Soossie Cat was being fed, found out the RHS neighbours continued to be a food source also, and returned to our city life.
My familiarity with the city strays thankfully had given me some independent living cat perspective, and allayed the G.O.’s concerns about me getting attached and possibly broken-hearted. In our absence Soossie Cat selected our house & inhabits it of her own free-will, and has other choices should she exercise them. So we left her with food and assurances from the neighbours, whom she seems disinclined to move in with, that they will feed and look out for her.
When we arrived for the June long weekend visit Soossie Cat wandered out from the sunny verandah greeting us like we’d only been away for the day… quickly drew our attention to the empty food bowl and resumed her occupation of the interior comforts, now accessible. LHS neighbour reported that in our absence Soossie Cat was hanging out with her cats and being fed.
Soossie Cat is very much at home in the country so taking her to the city isn’t an option. I had hoped, and still do that Soossie Cat will shift camps to LHS neighbour. But just in case not, I offered a little extra comfort (mostly to myself, I think) providing Soossie Cat with an old flannelette drop sheet at the spot she’d been sleeping in the G.O.’s shed, and unearthed for the verandah a cat igloo & crochet rug I’d stored since Baddy Cat left us over 11 years ago. The G.O. said of the igloo, she won’t go in there. We’d barely turned our backs and Soossie Cat proved him wrong.
What does the future hold? You never do know, sometimes things you really want happen but not the way you think…
Note: Claytons is the brand name of a non-alcoholic, non-carbonated beverage coloured and packaged to resemble bottled whisky. It was the subject of a major marketing campaign in Australian and New Zealand in the 1970s and 1980s, promoting it as “the drink you have when you’re not having a drink”… the name has entered into Australian and New Zealand vernacular where it represents a “poor substitute” or “an ineffective solution to a problem”. It can also be used to describe something that is effectively in existence but does not take the appropriate name, e.g. a common-law couple might be described as having a “Claytons marriage”.