This is Moses. Also known as Momo, Mosey, Mo-Bear, or Big Guy. The feline formerly known as Garden Cat. He is the latest addition to what you may now legitimately call my cat collection. The other part of which you've met here.
I first noticed Moses in August last year. Looking out of the kitchen window, I'd see a pile of fur rolled up in a little sunspot by our fence. But whenever I stepped outside to investigate, I would see a flurry of black and white disappear into the bushes in the back.
One day, Marco called me out to look at fur-pile, who was not dashing off at first sight of us, as usual. Instead, he stayed in his spot and glanced at us sleepily. Marco was wondering if he was okay, and I decided to put some food out for him, which he wolfed down once we'd cleared the garden.
So then feeding this cat became a daily thing. We soon named him Garden Cat and he even got his own box of kibble, because I felt reluctant to feed my girl cats' expensive dry food to either a) somebody else's opportunistic pet or b) a shaggy stray. Garden Cat was very hungry.
Garden Cat soon also became accustomed with his feedings, and formed an attachment to me. He would still lie in his corner of our flower bed all day every day, but get up to follow me to the spot I'd put the bowl down. Soon I was able to touch him or drag a stick along for him to chase.
We had fed him for several weeks by October. Even though he would go off to somewhere every night, had started to wonder if he didn't have anybody to care for him. He was sweet and ready to be loved after he overcame his initial skepticism, so we found it hard to believe he'd be a stray. But then again, he was skinny and dirty, and would come to our garden every day, even in bad weather. He hadn't been neutered (let's just say that you could clearly see he was a boy). One day I had to remove a tick from his neck, and his teeth were all crooked and broken. I listed him on an online site for lost and found animals and attached a paper collar with my phone number to his neck. Nobody ever got in touch.
In November, he visited for several days with a big neck wound that just got worse and worse and clearly hurt him. At that point I kind of didn't care if he had an owner anymore, because they were obviously not able to look after him right. I lured him in the house and booked an appointment with our vet, who cleaned out the big abscess, tested him for FIV (thankfully he was negative), chopped off his balls, and gave him all the injections he needed. Poor traumatized Moses...
Several months and some enormous vet bills later, Moses is still living with us. He eats like a machine and acts like a giant kitten when you play with him. I have grown fond of his big fluffy face.
Unfortunately, my girl cats are not as keen on him. Even though they are very slowly getting used to his presence, they hiss and show their teeth whenever he comes near them. This is why we are sadly considering giving him away, as my girls' stressed behaviour stresses him out in return. It does not seem fair for them to have to live that way. We want to give it some more time, but are not sure how long we should wait, and if their relationship is ever going to get better. My loyalty also clearly lies with Mae and Missy, and it makes me sad to see them unhappy. But I am still crossing my fingers for a happy ending.
Do you have any experience of taking in a stray cat? Or can you give me any tips on how to make cats love each other? I'd like to hear from you if you have a similar story to share!