The day we moved into this house
I saw a striped shadow dart through the garden
On the days that followed
I could distinguish a gigantic tomcat’s face
Huge, because of the glands
that tomcats have.
A stray cat that would not be approached.
The shadows continued on a daily basis.
Then, last year, when the winter was cold
and all was covered in white,
one evening we found him
curled up in a cardboard box by our front door
left overs from some refurbishing.
When he sensed we were standing there
over his sleeping body,
he woke up,
and dashed under the car.
Big eyes followed our steps.
But while he slept,
I had seen huge boils on his cheeks and neck.
Got into fights and was a bit too weak to heal well, I supposed.
So, I went to get a bag of cat food.
The change in him when he heard the sound of the food
He darted from under the car
and ferociously attacked the cat food
no longer caring who was there watching him eat.
He growled while eating
but he ate.
We left him in peace.
A few hours later,
he lay curled up, asleep in the box
that was to become HIS box.
As time progressed and the bag of cat food became lighter,
the tom cat started to look better.
One day I was in my studio
and he saw me as he approached our garden.
He jumped on a cabinet that was in front of my window
sniffed his nose to me and when I started talking to him,
he gently winked at me with both eyes.
I went outside with the cat food
and it was then that he decided to really trust me.
I could from then on stroke him.
With or without food.
Whether he still trusts me today,
I don’t know.
After deliberation with the vet who lives only 3 houses away,
we decided he needed to be castrated.
His tom cat manners weren’t very proper,
to say the least.
And the cat pee would permeate into the stones of our house
and leave the house,
inside and oute,
in a horrible stench.
And then I found out, he didn’t only do it here.
Other neighbours had the same trouble.
The animal shelter would take him, they said.
But when I caught him, they had no place for him.
So last week, I talked to the neighbour vet
and she offered to un-tom this cat.
So this morning I managed to catch him
in a special cage.
And took him to the vet.
It is then that you know
“this is no house-puss!”
He was so scared.