I first saw the strange cat in my garden while hanging the washing out to dry.
I say strange because I thought I knew all the cats in the area, but I certainly didn’t recognise him.
He was sitting in the long grass looking up at me. A dark brown marbled tabby.
I leaned forward to pet him and stroke him and he was very responsive. As he was a friendly and beautiful boy, head butting me intently, he allowed me to lift him up.
Thought he felt unusually light so I decided to feed him, after all, he was a newbie in my garden and I couldn’t help myself.
I had to know him better.
I invited him in and he followed me obligingly into the house. My other 2 cats didn’t look very impressed but were used to me cat sitting and didn’t bother too much about other cats being around, bless them.
So he ate hungrily and then, having had his fill, went back out. He was out there again in the evening chatting to my cat Bagheera and they seemed to get along. He was such a sweet boy and seemed to be waiting for me the next morning with a hopeful look on his face staring at my kitchen window as if willing me to look out. His tail shot straight up when he saw me and he ran over happily. So, I fed him again.
And the next day and the next.
While looking out my kitchen window, I saw one of my neighbours, Julie feeding him one afternoon and asking if he was her cat. She said he wasn’t but had been in the garden for a couple of weeks now and feared he had been abandoned. She said she had been feeding him but wanted to call the SSPCA in case he was lost. As we were talking another neighbour came out, George or Grumpy George as I called him and he said the cat’s name was Sacha and he lived next door.
He was Stevie’s cat and,” Don’t you be going about trying to steal it.” he said, looking at me. “We all know your cat daft!”, he said with a half-smirk.
“I can keep feeding him as long as he’s in the garden but he has been here a while and I don’t think he’s bothered going home,” said Julie looking worried.
“He is just a chancer, “said George, going inside. “Out for a free meal.”
“I’m happy to feed him, Julie,” I said. “Leave him with me. I’ll try and find out what’s going on” and Julie agreed.
I saw Sacha every morning and fed him daily, allowing him to come inside and nap in the spare room in the afternoons. He seemed very much at home with my cats and me and I was secretly beginning to want him to stay. I wondered why Stevie had not brought him back home by now and made a mental note to find and speak to him soon but until then, Sacha was my guest and free to come and go as he pleased.
About a week later while at a friend’s house visiting, it began to rain.
No. It began to downpour and just kept getting worse.
I sat biting my bottom lip until my friend Tracey said, “you’re thinking about that cat in your garden aren’t you?”
I nodded and she grinned.
“ Need to go”, I said standing up. “I can’t bear the thought of him getting soaked out there all by himself.”
Tracey burst out laughing and hugged me letting me run to the car. I drove home quickly and dived to the back garden. George was there at the back door admiring the rainfall. He looked at me and grinned too.
“You looking for that cat?” he said smugly. “The cats no daft Jassy, “he continued, “it’ll be away hame oot the rain.” His grin was starting to irritate me.
“Oh shut up George,” I said rudely, brushing past. He was always trying to put a negative spin on anything I did.
I looked out into the pitch darkness towards the long grass area where I found him and called out hopefully, “Sacha! Come on!!” but my heart was sinking.
There was a loud rustle from the grass and with lightning speed, a soaking wet blob of darkness running at full speed, up the stairs and towards me. He was drenched. I immediately scooped him up, gave George a “Ha!” look, and went inside carrying the poor wet cat. “Come on darling,” I said, happy at last. I dried him, fed him and he stayed that night, cosy with me.
After breakfast the next morning, I let all cats living with me out for the day and again bumped into Grumpy George. He said that he had told Stevie his cat had been hanging around the garden for days now and that he had been staying with me part-time. It turns out that Stevie was an oil rig worker whose sister used to take Sacha while he was away for months at a time and that the last time he went away, Sacha hadn’t returned home so he had to leave him. He said there was nothing he could do about it but was glad someone was feeding him and if he wanted to stay, I’d be doing him a favour. George actually gave me good news!
I decided there and then I was going to keep him.
Before I had a chance to find Stevie, I looked outside and as usual, saw Sacha. I looked carefully and noticed he was badly limping. Suddenly from nowhere came a huge, white cat with a black moustache. We knew him as Hitler. He had a reputation for beating up most of the local cats and he charged at Sacha before Sacha knew what hit him. Screaming, fur flying and a ball of cats tumbling over each other. It was a horrible sight and the sound was ear-piercing. I dropped everything and ran outside as fast as I could. Hitler saw me approaching and ran away (not far though as he is one brave cat) and I quickly scooped up Sacha who was looking very forlorn and yowled in pain. “That’s it!” I thought to myself. “I’m looking after you now.”
I took Sacha to the vet for his limp straight away and explained everything. He had twisted his poor little foot and required an x-ray, medication and his foot reset and bandaged up. The vet checked his chip and said he belonged to a lady in the next town so his details were not up to date. He called the number provided but it was disconnected.
“I suggest you try and get a hold of the owner you say lives next door, “said the vet kindly. “You may want to be reimbursed for the bill and he will need to be kept indoors until the bandage comes off in a week. If you don’t hear anything back in a couple of weeks we will see about updating his details if you want to continue to care for him.”
So that’s how Sacha came to live with me. I had knocked on the neighbours’ doors looking for Stevie but nobody ever answered so I told Grumpy George to let Stevie know what had happened to his cat and to come and see me about it and until then I was going to look after him. (so there!)
One of the cool things about Sacha is that he has a friend who visits him from next door.
A gorgeous black and white cat called Sandra. She boldly walks in and out of the flat with Sacha and stays for dinner sometimes too.
Sacha has many little quirks to his personality like he enjoys following me to the shops where he waits across the road until I’m back and skips back up the road with me.
I rescued an injured pigeon (I do this often and my cats are used to not touching them at home) and he sat beside it comfortingly in the dog cage I housed it in and allowed it to walk around the house undisturbed.
Sacha knows how to knock on the front door and windows with his back foot asking to be let in too. He really is the sweetest and most intelligent boy.
One day about a couple of months later, as I was in the garden relaxing with the cats, Hitler sneaked in quietly and without warning suddenly attacked my little Bagheera. Again, piercing screams and a ball of flying fur. Before I could even get off my chair Sacha bolted like lightning towards the fighting cats and head-butted Hitler so hard in the stomach that he went flying against the back fence. He looked stunned for a moment then saw Sacha, tensed up and ready to charge him again and he ran.
This time he ran away properly, up over the fence and away like a shot, tail between his legs. Bagheera and Sacha then approached each other and “kissed” each other on the nose with tails sky high and I knew then I had the best cat family. Always there for each other, always loved. Our gang.
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