Jeremy (butterwelles) wrote,

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Next door neighbors foreclosed several months ago and moved away leaving behind their old, gray tabby.  However, one of them, the son, untrustworthy and generally disreputable, remained illegally until just recently.  Since then, their cat has been poking around the front of our house and even lounging, as if it had nothing left.  Generally skittish, last night it didn't budge an inch from its bed in the driveway as I passed.  This morning, in the light, as it sauntered down our front walkway I saw how skinny it'd become.

I got a little bit of tuna (because if it were starving, I feared a bigger portion might do more harm than good) and a small dish of water, then went outside.  But the cat was gone.  After a little searching, I found it in its old sideyard.  As I approached it cowered and stared wildly, but didn't run.  I placed the dishes at the foot of the wooden fence about 15 feet away, and then stepped back.  By the time I had returned to the sidewalk it was by the dishes; but wouldn't eat until I disappeared.  When I returned a few moments later, its head was dipping into a dish, and another cat, a robust, healthy one, was sitting behind it, watching me, almost as if keeping guard.  I wouldn't expect so much empathy from a cat, but it makes a more moving story to see it that way.

Still later I returned to collect the dishes.  The sickly tabby was still nearby.  The tuna was gone, but there was still lots of water.  When I gathered them up, the cat let out such a pitiful, desperate mew, that I was convinced to leave the water.
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