I figure since I just talked about them, it’s an appropriate time to share some photos of recent visitors. I took all of these pictures over the last three or four days.
Aethon is an odd little cat. I’ve not figured this one out yet, and that includes gender or the feline’s various idiosyncrasies.
I can always rely on Aethon to be waiting outside each morning until I get up and go out to provide food (that is assuming I’ve not already done so).
After eating, though, this cat doesn’t always leave. And if he/she does leave, I can rest assured I’ll see it outside later sleeping the day away next to the tree. Most of the day.
This happens nearly every day. The exception is when it’s raining, but otherwise I can expect to see Aethon loitering about. It’s not as though he/she is waiting for a meal since I keep food down throughout the day.
I suspect it’s one of two things (although it could be something else entirely, but these are my guesses). One: This is the first reliable source of food the cat has found and it wants to stay close to it, and this also lends itself to recognizing me as a non-threatening human who intends no harm. Two: This is a reliable source of food the cat is trying to protect from others (e.g., protecting “a kill”). I also considered the possibility that Aethon is sick and too weak to wander about all day, but the more I’ve watched the cat, the less likely I’ve considered that option.
In the photo above, it was a cold and cloudy day, windy and somewhat bitingly cool. Nevertheless, Aethon stayed there most of the day and wandered off for an hour or two here and there. Mostly, however, it huddled and lied curled up at the base of the tree.
I’m keeping an eye on this one as I don’t want competition over the food to dissuade any of my regular visitors from their normal trips through these parts. I’m also watching closely as I attempt to figure out the disposition of this cat.
Almost a month ago to the day, I mentioned another of the neighborhood cats who at first seemed to be Larenti, yet on that occasion I realized as I watched that what I was seeing was her virtual double. The stranger looked a lot like her but was different in several ways: smaller, darker and more brown as opposed to her light grey, tabby stripes slightly more pronounced, and no tipped ear. Since then, I’ve been watching carefully and have seen more and more of this feline. It’s more skittish than she is (in fact, she’s gone the opposite direction now and is quite comfortable with me) yet not so skittish as to run away when I go outside—although it does step away from the food long enough to be certain I’m not going to attack, and it watches me carefully if I move or make noise.
I was finally able in the last few days to get some photos of this new kitty. First, let’s do a bit of comparison. Here’s a previously shared photo of Larenti:
And here’s a photo of the new kitty:
Now you can see why I was originally confused by this one.
I’ve increasingly seen this cat over the last few weeks and have even learned it’s willing to wait for me to come out and feed it when there’s no food available. While it won’t sit at the fence and rub against my hand like Larenti while I fill the dinner plate, it will sit a short distance away. Sudden movements or unexpected noises frighten it, but it’s not so scared that it won’t eat with me standing right there. I just have to be careful not to interrupt too much. If I do, the first thing I get is this:
Because it doesn’t have a tipped ear, I can’t be certain it’s fixed. If it has already had its privates taken away, it’s like Vazra in that it is or was someone’s pet and has since been abandoned or ejected. Strays will always have a tipped ear if they’ve been spayed/neutered; fixed cats without a tipped ear absolutely came from a home where they were once a pet (tipping the ear is only done on strays to assist with easy identification of those who need the surgery and have yet to be treated/checked by a veterinarian). If you look at Clance, Kako’s dopplegänger, you’ll see it has a tipped ear. You can see from the first photo that Larenti has a tipped ear. One of the other cats I have a photo of (and am trying to get better photos of) has a tipped ear; it’s also a Larenti look-alike except is less pronounced with its tabby stripes and is a much lighter shade of grey (like smoke). Needless to say, this cat is one of two things: not fixed or a former pet who’s been kicked to the curb to fend for itself. Chira’s photos show he doesn’t have a tipped ear and is either another rejected pet or a complete stray who hasn’t been caught and fixed yet.
One thing I’ve noticed about this cat is that it’s been extremely hungry. It’s been a mere two weeks since it’s discovered I’m willing to feed it and try to keep food available at all times, and since then, it’s consumed mass quantities each time it shows up. I can’t be certain and am totally making an assumption, but that at least suggests it’s been abandoned and has only just found a source of nutrition. I hope I’m wrong; I hope I’m just the most convenient and consistent source. I doubt it.
If you look closely at the hi-res version of that photo, you can see its left eye has a minor wound beneath it. After looking closely at all the photos I have, it appears to be minor and healing.
This feline comes around throughout the day and night. It showed up at almost 11 P.M. last night for a very late dinner yet was here around 5:30 A.M. this morning to grab some breakfast right after Larenti had hers. At least it’s learning to trust me and to remember there’s food to be had if it comes and visits.
[Update] Subsequently named Aethon.