Our venerable porch cat Mr. Jones (aka Scuffy, Boss Cat, etc.) has a new moniker, courtesy of my neighbour's nearly-four-year-old daughter: Sparkle Tail the Girl Cat. Where she got this, I don't know: she's not a TV-watching child, much to her mother's chagrin. I'm going to ask her when he can be a Boy Cat again.
For at least a couple of years now both I and my neighbours have been feeding him every morning, and at least three other people on the street have contributed food and warm bedding. Another person has tried (unsuccessfully, so far) to get someone to contribute a recovery room for a couple of days, in hopes we can catch him, get him fixed, and release him in the 'hood.
In mid-winter he disappeared for nearly a month---when he reappeared at my front door in early February (http://diabetes-cats.blogspot.com/2009/02/cat-came-back.html) he'd lost half his winter weight. Now the summer fleas are causing him to suffer somewhat.
Mr. Jones's history is unknown. But one of my neighbours keeps tabs on where he hangs out. When we first started discussing him she swore he'd been around for at least five years. Then it became ten years. We chatted on the street earlier this week and she gave me an update on her observations, and now she claims he's been around for 20 years...
Mr. Jones has a couple of quirks: while he waits for me to come downstairs he stretches up to the window to peer in. When he sees me he sits back down. When I open the front door he steps politely into the hallway, then goes back out. When I put his food in his dish he sniffs it, looks up at me, and waits for me to pat him. Only then will he put his head down to eat.
What's really pathetic is that lately he is trying to walk further into the house when I open the door. My heart is breaking because, with four indoor cats already, and his unknown temperament and health, I can't let him in.
But my four indoor cats are complacent when he appears (unlike their reaction to other outdoor cats they see), and he and Peabo have sniffed noses. So, could he come in?