I wrote about our cats[^] back in December and mentioned that we had four and a half cats where the half a cat was Einstein who ate here but wasn't quite ready to sleep here.
Man it's got out of hand since then. Einstein found himself a congenial place to live at the other end of the condominium block; we hardly ever see him. Instead we have 2 stray gingers, both very timid, who skulk in through the cat door and snatch desperate mouthfuls. They're kinda getting used to us being around. We've never got closer than 2 metres from them but they'll now eat whilst keeping a close eye on me sitting here at the computer writing. One of them is there right now; I can see him out of the corner of an eye but I know that if I turn to look at him he'll freeze and want to escape.
Then there's the thin black, also timid. And the Cleo look alike; almost indistinguishable from Cleo except for a collar. Indeed, the first time I saw her a couple of weeks ago I asked my wife why she'd put a collar on Cleo. The black and white tabby who's reasonably friendly. Still timid but if you make the appropriate clucking sounds and move slowly he'll snuggle up for some rubs.
A couple of nights ago a rather young cat, maybe 9 months old, just marched in. Friendly, not overly cautious and as cute as the dickens. She's stayed ever since. I think she had a home but has been abandoned. That happens rather more often than it should. I used to have a sticker on my fridge back in Melbourne 'A pet is for life, not just for Christmas'. That's so true. If you take on a cat (or any pet for that matter) you'd better be prepared to go the distance. Which is one reason why I think you should never give a pet as a gift. We have the posters up on lamp posts around the condo block but no one has called about her.
So, at the moment, it looks like our permanent population of cats has grown to five. I'm certainly not going to chuck the new cat out to fend for herself and turn feral. And the others? They're welcome to a feed. I'm being pragmatic here. If I wanted to stop them coming in the only ways I can think of are to shoot them or lock the cat doors and keep ours permanently inside.
Well I'm not going to harm the strays! And it seems to me that if I'm free to come and go so should my cats be free to come and go, especially if they've had that freedom all their lives. There's not a lot I can do about it even if I wanted to.