We currently ‘own’ three cats … it was four until recently when we had our tortoiseshell put down as she was developing thyroid problems – she hated to be handled, so a life on daily medication wasn’t an option.

But we only really have two … Oscar roams the neighbourhood, choosing to eat only at the homes that serve the best cat food! He wears a tag that says, Please do not feed my cat, but one dear lonely and elderly lady feeds him regularly – she says he’s hungry, and doesn’t understand that he’s trying it on. So he rarely bothers to come home. And because he’s never here for (feline) mealtimes, he only finds cat biscuit when he does come, so we are seeing less and less of him. I’m not sure our cat/hen sitter for our recent holiday even realised we have another cat!

Said elderly lady worries about Oscar – should she treat his fleas, is he eating enough etc. But I simply can’t persuade her to stop feeding him. And since he’s so rarely here, he no longer enjoys being petted by us, so flea treatment just isn’t going to happen.

I’ve never lost a cat this way before … and really I’m quite sad about it. It seems to me that cat character goes with their colour … tabbies are home loving and rarely stray far but are good hunters, tortoiseshells are neurotic (I’ve only ever had the one, but the lady from the RSPCA told me as much when we chose her), black cats are affectionate … I should hate to be without a black cat in my life!

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