Thursday, 7 June 2012

Cats welcome

What can I say. I am overwhelmed by your lovely comments. Many of you have gone through the heartbreak of losing a pet, thank you for sharing your stories.  I shed lots of tears each time I came back to the computer yesterday. I was reading your words on here, and your blogs, but was not able to comment myself. I had to walk away I was so choked up with emotion. Thank you, my blogger friends.

My dear friends Janet and Paul came to help me bury Lily, they are such a support. I'm glad I didn't have to do it by myself. I removed a long deceased conifer from the border in the back garden and asked Paul to dig a deep hole because I wanted to transplant an evergreen bush from a pot, to mark the spot.

I think it helped that I kept myself busy yesterday, I have the kittens to look after, and Barrys dog, Scruff. I can't bring Scruff here into the house because of the cats, but he lives so close I can keep calling in to see him. I think Barry will be back in a day or two, poor Scruff is missing him terribly.

I was doubly upset yesterday because of someone's unfeeling and uncaring comment. Foolishly I went to see Lily's previous owners who live round the corner, to break the sad news. I thought it only proper and right that they should know, even though they haven't shown any interest in him since he left their house and came to live here. I have always posted a note through their door each Christmas to let them know he is ok.

When Lily first showed up at my back door, four years ago, he looked very small, so thinking he might be a young cat prompted me to look for his owners, they might have been missing him. He used to pop by on odd ocassions on the scrounge for food, but then started camping out in the downstairs toilet next to the backdoor, there is access through the cat flap. I found out where he came from and went to tell the people. All they said was I should kick him out. They told me he has a dog kennel at the bottom of the garden to sleep in, and he is 13 years old. Next to the back door I saw two dirty looking food bowls. I felt I couldn't kick him out, he was obviously hungry, eventually I let him into the house, he liked it so he stayed. They have always know he was here, but never been to fetch him back.

Fast forward to the conversation yesterday morning. After I broke the news to the woman, she said I shouldn't have kept feeding him and he would have come back. She said he was an outside cat, and often went missing for several months at a time, staying at other peoples houses, but he always came back. I said he had the freedom to come and go, as my back door is open all the time for my own cats to go in and out. I didn't keep him shut in untill six months had passed, and then it was only at night. It was obvious he was happy here and didn't want to go anywhere else.

I felt she was unfairly accusing me of enticing her cat away, which upset me because it wasn't true. I believe that cats are free spitits and will go where ever they like. They say you can't own a cat, it owns you. I also believe that it doesn't matter who looks after them as long as they are loved and well cared for, and have a safe and warm place to sleep, with enough food. These are the things we need for ourselves and why shouldn't cats have them as well.

Just because a cat spends a lot of time outdoors, it doesn't mean that it should be out there in all weathers day and night. And at 13 years old, surely he deserved some home comforts. It's like sending your granny to live outside in a shed, you wouldn't do it. I am really quite annoyed with that woman and her attitude. Lily had a lovely four years with me, he put on a bit of weight, which he desperately needed, and looked a normal size after a few months of good living.

There are two more cats who call in ocassionally for a good feed up. I know where they live, and they don't want to move in, so that's ok by me. I cannot shut my door to any cat who wanders in asking for food. Perhaps I love animals too much, but that's how I am.  

45 comments:

  1. Ilona, I'm so sorry for your loss. I've not been able to get on-line for nearly 2weeks and so have not been up to scratch so to speak.
    It doesn't matter how long we have these furry friends in our lives, they all leavee deep imprints on our hearts.

    Here's hoping the pain subsides soon.

    Blessings,

    Sandie xx

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  2. Hi Ilona
    I am feeling for you right now, I can't say anything that will make it better except that time heals.
    As for the neighbours and their unfeeling words, I for one don't think you did the wrong thing, I would have done the same.
    Lots of hugs to you
    Briony
    xxxx

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  3. I, too, have a neon sign outside saying 'cats welcome' - that's how all my feline friends have turned up - I swear they know where to come.
    I have had sad news myself today, but will post on my own blog tomorrow, here is not the place.

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  4. Ilona, Hold your head high, you are an animal lover through and through. What a shame Lily`s original owners couldn`t share the joy you shared with this well loved cat. No one can take away your happy memories, your neighbour is no animal lover, and shows no compassion towards your beloved pet, she will never know what she missed, you of course will treasure for ever. I am hoping today is easier than yesterday.
    Patricia Brambley (SharonK Mum)

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  5. Ilona, cats choose us not the other way around. You said that you love animals too much, there is no such thing as loving too much.
    Jane x

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  6. All I can say is I feel animals should be treated with kindness just like any living thing. I'm glad you were there for Lily when his owners were not.

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  7. Cats make up their own minds, I agree totally. As I mentioned in your last post about your beautiful Lily, I have 7 cats. All are happy to be at home (there are two draped round me as I write this) except for one. She likes to visit an elderly couple who live in a warden assisted retirement home a couple of hundred yards from me. They are not allowed to have pets in this home and the couple had to give up their much adored cat before they moved in. It was heartbreaking for them.

    Anyway, my little tabby toodles along to see them every day and spends most of the day in her own armchair (throne) there being worshipped. In the evening she comes home to me. The couple aren't breaking any rules as she is my cat and just visiting. She makes their lives happier and they spoil her rotten (she's getting fat). We have each other's phone number for emergencies. And I am happy that she is happy. Win Win all round. I could have gone ballistic and accused them of enticing my cat but the way I see it they get to have a 'pet' again bringing joy back into their lives. Result!

    Linda xx

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  8. I am just catching up with blog reading after being away. I'm so sorry to hear the sad news about Lily. Don't beat yourself up about your uncaring neighbour. You are the one who cared and I'm sure Lily appreciated you being there for him. Take care.
    Love from Mum
    xx

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  9. Hi Ilona from Canberra. Am up in the middle of the night nursing my lovely 15 year old cat who has very advanced cancer. Fear this is his last few days and it's very hard. Sending you my love and thoughts at this sad time - Lily was so lucky to have found you. (I'm a long time lurker, novice blog user but avid fan of yours), Jenny x

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  10. Hi Ilona I agree don't beat yourself up. Some people always try and pass their own guilt on to others. Lily knew what a kind loving person you were so don't worry about it any more. Kind regards Jean

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  11. hi Ilona I agree don't beat yourself up. Some people always try and pass their guilt on to others. Lily knew what a kind loving person you were so don't worry about it any more. Kind regards Jean

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  12. Cats DO know their owners, I'm sure Lily knew you and loved you and appreciated your kindness to him. He was much better off when he left his previous owners - he knew which side his bread was buttered! No need for any guilt at all, the other lot simply didn't want him. Why they had him in the first place is a mystery to me. As Jane and Chris said, cats choose us, not the other way around. You did everything you could for him all the time he was with you x

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  13. OK the odd cat may be a free-loader and look pitiful to scrounge a odd extra dinner but most that come looking for comfort and find it in some-one just like you.
    My cat Olive was so friendly that she used to visit a lot of homes. I worked full-time so I couldn't blame her but she always was waiting in the drive when I came home.
    Lily had a choice and he made a wise one.

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  14. No wonder you were upset by a cruel comment and the old owner's unthinking unkindness, you don't deserve that. Hugs to you Ilona. x

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  15. You have a truly kind heart. Don't listen to that woman for one second. If she cared at all about her cat she would have come back and claimed him. Lily probably spent the happiest years of his life with you, enjoying the kindness that every animal deserves yet unfortunately some are not given.

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  16. cats certainly have a mind of their own, one of my cats went to live next door as the lady was ill and always had the gas fire on, mind Spike knew he had to befriend the husband first as he didnt like cats so successful was he that the husband became besotted with the cat, then a big black and white cat down the road followed me everytime i passed his house even following me to the bus then he moved into the shed, i let him in when winter came, his owners didnt mind

    take care, Marlene

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  17. Well that's what you get for your good deed. Forget their unkind thoughtless words. Even I know that cats do their own thing. Nobody owns a cat they just lodge with you...Some lodgings just happen to be more welcoming. How come you called him Lily?

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  18. Silly uncaring woman obviously is no cat lover. Why wouldn't Lily come and live with you when you treated him with love and affection. I have never owned a cat, I've had a dog all my life, husband and son have cat allergies. Nontheless old Tom next door used to come into the garden to visit and have a head rub when I was gardening. I always kept a treat or two for him and as long as the dog was indoors he knew he was a welcome visitor. You did what any decent person would do, and he loved you for it.

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  19. I am really sorry you are taking this so hard. Your grief is evident. I feel horrible when I have a pet die. I don't think you ought to beat yourself up. However, not all the world feels as Brits do when it comes to animals. You have your customs and feelings; we have ours.

    Sometimes, well-tended animals just move along where there is a "better deal." That does not always mean getting a meal, home, or a petting. I would never encourage or take in an animal that belonged to a neighbor. You think they were cruel is the reason the cat left. I cannot argue with you because you are there; I am not. I do know that my puppy died because the little fat brat who would not leave my sweet Sadie alone, enticed her to his yard all the time and was killed in front of his house. His mother just smiled at the obnoxious little turd when he said, "But, oh I love her so." while I was telling him to quit calling my dog over. I could hear him calling her. I expect the brat is incarcerated by now because he never learned the meaing of NO.

    I would not have expected those neighbors to share your grief since they think you stole their cat.

    We had a cat and dog (different dog)that people fed over our objections all the time. Maybe it is just crazy Americans, but I don't understand why someone would feed animals that belong to other people when the other people clearly do not want the animals fed. Our dog was obese, barely able to walk. She did not appear to lack care. The cat did stay gone for days and looked well-fed. As you can tell, this is a real sore spot for me. None of my animals ever looked underfed at all. All had collars identifying them as belonging to someone.

    As for the dirty bowl, dishes do get dirty. Besides, after some of the things my cats and dogs ate, I often wondered why I bothered sanitizing their dishes...lol.

    My blue cat disappeared the day neighbors moved. The kids kept the cat in their house, and I had to go get it back all the time. So, they just left with it. (No one believed the cat was blue until they saw it.)

    In the US many, many cats never live indoors, no matter how old they get. Barns, garages, under porches, crates--all sorts of places are good homes for cats. I only left a kitten indoors in a box one night. After that, the cat was confined outdoors at night so that other animals could not harm it. In the daytime, my kittens always stayed on the porch, then ventured into the yard.

    When Fancy, my hen, died after five agonizing days, a woman from the UK raked me over the coals and said cruel things to me, equating my not spending $195 on a vet with my neglecting a child. I was still in shock and deep in grief when she would not let up about my cruelty and not caring. Needless to say, I never visit the site she was raging on, not her site, by the way!

    If I found a cat with an owner and the cat was suffering, I would ask for the cat, not just let it live with me. Or, turn the people in to the Humane Society. Then, I could get it from the Humane Society when it was taken from the owners. But, people in the UK and the US do things differently.

    Really, I am sorry about Lily's death and your anguish.

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  20. Please do not take to heart what Lily's previous owner (slave!) said, they obviously have some guilt. All 3 of my cats were rescue cats and lived to be 18, 13 and 19 and cost me a small fortune at the vet but they were my friends and companians, I do miss a small furry body greeting me when I come home. You did right by Lily and I am sure he loved you and was relaxed and happy in your company. I still have cats visiting so maybe one will stay one day, outside in the summer yes, but indoors in the cold and wet, a dog kennel is no place for a cat. Give those kitties a cuddle for me. Best wishes.

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  21. Reminds me of the old next door neighbors who wouldn't take their cat to have an abcess taken care of. I did and she never even thanked me even thought it cost me $125. Then had the gall to ask if I'd seen their cat after they moved! They had an older cat too and it laid dead in the yard for 2 days before they buried it, they were so unconcerned, even after we told them it was dead.
    Some people should not be allowed to have pets.
    On a good note, my Chaucer was given a dose of antibiotic to see if it clears up what's wrong...maybe I'll have him a few more years.

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  22. The day I cannot care and provide veterinary treatment to any of my animals is the day I hang up my leads (dogs) and call it a day. I always say that the vets take my abroad holidays but i dont care. The thought of any animal suffering makes my blood boil.

    Midlands Annie

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  23. Just a funny cat story to lighten the mood. Years ago my sister had 4 cats, the newest puss was jet black with a white star on his head. As I was going to visit, I was just passing a level crossing when I saw Freddie sat on the railway lines. I got out of the car picked him off the lines and took him round the corner to my sisters. When I walked into the sitting room, there was Freddie sat on the back of a chair sunning himself. I had catnapped an innocent puss. The worse part was having to take the catnapped puss back to near where I'd found him, he was not impressed with my apologies and I hoped nobody thought I was abandoning a pet.

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  24. I am a bit of a lurker! I am sorry about the loss of your dear old timer, you did him proud and provided a comfortable and happy home for him in his later years. I understand your grief, I too, take the loss of my four leggeds (rescue dogs in my case) very hard, but we cannot love them too much, even if it hurts so much. Please try to ignore the comments made by the unkind and thoughtless previous owner, you did not deserve them. Take care. (and the kitties and their mum need you too) Ali.

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  25. Ilona, I would have done exactly the same thing as you. It's so hard to see animals treated poorly and not given the love attention they need. It still makes me sad to see Rocky in that overgrown place down the road, but you truly make his day when he gets to come for a walk. You were such a natural with him and he was beaming with joy the whole walk.

    My cat originally belonged to a neighbour. He would spend so much time at my house (without any encouragement). Luckily the neighbour saw how happy he was and when she was moving away, she said I should keep him.

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  26. I have a cat who visits me and just has a few biscuits as a treat, I know where he lives so I don't 'feed' him. Sometimes he is sitting in the living room when we come down in the morning. We say good morning to him and he and Merlin sometimes do a bit of back raising at each other but he seems to be the only one that Merlin will tolerate. He's a lovely B&W cat who reminds me of my cat Thomas, who lived to be around 20.

    Some people are just not fit to have animals.

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  27. I'm not a Brit but I feel as you do about animals. Lily cat was yours, no doubt about it.

    Pat(USA)

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  28. He wanted to live with you, you fed him and cared for him in his final years. He was happy and well looked after - that is all that matters. Don't worry too much about the neighbour. You're possibly taking things to heart because you are feeling so upset over losing him. If she wanted him she knew where he was...maybe she feels guilty or possibly jealous or maybe it just came out all wrong?? Who knows, but you have done the right thing by Lily. Thats all that matters! Take care.

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  29. "Our" cat Raggy was living in the greenhouse when we moved in to this address 14 months ago, and seemed to adopt us. Nobody in the locality knows ehere it comes from, and it slowly ingrataited itself into our lives. It lives outdoors at night, but always waiting on the front doorstep or back kitchen windowcill in the morning, then spends the day sleeping either on my cushion or in front of the fire.
    When we go on holiday it gets put out and a couple of self-feeders left in the greenhouse, it's always here when we come back, so it must be happy enough.

    I'd be very offended if somebody tried to accuse us of stealing it, we don't keep it locked in, and feed it biccies and meat / fish left-overs, even took it to the vet when it looked a bit down.

    Don't be upset by people like this, they're not worth it.

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  30. I agree with the majority here. Don`t feel bad about things. Lily had a great life with you. Those previous owners could not have cared enough for him or else he would not have been looking for a better place to rest his head. Cats are sociable animals and will look for company that can provide love, care and a kind word. Interaction is important to them. You gave Lily all of that. That`s why you are in such demand with all the animals. You speak their language and they love you for it.
    You are a good person, Ilona. Don`t let those people upset you with their nasty words.
    Enjoy looking after those little kittens and their mum, they soon will help you to get over your grief.

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  31. You are such a good hearted person. God bless those who care about the little creatures.

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  32. I have never doubted your love for animals. I am allergic to feathers and fur, so nothing lives in here with me. I don't doubt your grief. But, if those people did not ask about their cat in these years, I would not have bothered to tell them. Many people in the US have animals put to sleep because of $1000 vet bills. My sister and her husband spent $10,000 dollars on a dog when they already could not pay bills on time.

    I rescue animals all the time from bad situations, so no one can call my caring into question. I just think animals belong outdoors. Period. No one here in the States thinks I am bad because millions of us feel the same way. Of course, some allow their "pets" to kill their children.

    I don't have the money to own animals.

    Besides, some of us grow up in rural situations where animals fend for themselves. We are not cruel. We just think differently that Brits. Yes, some people here treat animals better than children are treated. I tolerate those people and do not criticize.

    I do have a friend that I refuse to visit because she allows her dog to lick me, jump on me, and sit on my feet, no matter how far I move from the dining table. She thinks I am mean when I want her dog off me. She knows I have allergies. I think she is rude. Oh, the dog is trained well. She just prefers not to tell him to sit or stay when he approaches me.

    Read my blog post today to see the lengths I will go to to defend my pets.

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  33. You are a wonderful and caring person Ilona, please don't let unkind words upset you. Any pet would be very blessed to live and be cared for by you♥ I love the quote "a home without a cat is just a house" Linda xxx

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  34. Lily knows who cared!

    After our dogs had been cremated, I get a shrub and plant it in the garden over the spot where they liked to rest. A scattering of their ashes in the hole and then the plant. We've always had the plants "take" and flourish.

    I like to think it's their way of saying they approve.

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  35. Ilona, please dont bother your head about the ignoramuses in your neighborhood. You are at a low ebb due to Lily s passing and just ignore the people who never really cared for him in the first place. Also you are completely right about cats being free spirits. That is why you cannot get a license for a cat as you can for a dog, an animal who can be controlled. Cats cannot be controlled.
    You have given years of wonderful life to these cats who have been abandoned, ignored and neglected and such commitment and love is to be so admired.

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  36. Lily was a lucky cat to spend his twilight years with you.You loved him,he loved you back.x
    Julie.

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  37. Sounds like they found him a nuisance so kept him outside. Cats always move to where they are loved. I had one cat move in when growing up, she was about 6months old then and lived to 15 we never found where she came from.
    In my previous home, my neighbour frustratingly fed my three. They would disappear round to his house every day at 4pm to get grub. I wasn't so bothered about my little tom cat doing it as he's a skinny bean and no matter how much I fed him he wouldn't put on weight. My girls on the other hand are chunky and no matter how much I had them restricted on their food they would go and glut over at his. So the vet telling me they were very fat made me a bit cross because I was doing everything I could but my neighbour in his "kind to animals" spirit was killing my girls with kindness. I've been on both sides.
    If a cat is looking unloved and skinny I will happily allow it some food, if it looks healthy and well cared for then I politely encourage them to move on and go home.
    I'm glad that Lily was able to enjoy his remaining years in comfort and well-fed, cats deserve to be spoilt.

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  38. Thank you for your comments, I have read them all. I like your story of the shared cat Crystal Mooncat, it's sad that older people should have to give up their pets when they move into sheltered accommodation, as that is the time when they need them most.

    Hi Rachel, I take your point in not feeding a cat who is already overweight, I would never do that.

    Hi Manchester Lass, Thank you so much for your beautifull e card. The poem is lovely, it brought tears to my eyes.

    Hi Little Rosie, yes Lily wanted to live with me. Every time I sat down he wanted to be on my knee. I spent many happy hours listening to his purring while on the computer.

    Your story made me smile Sal's View. I did something similar once, thought I had found a lost cat, picked it up took it home and rang the number on the lost cat poster. Nope. I had the wrong cat, I took it back to where I found it and hope nobody noticed.

    Hi Captain S. I called him Lily because I first thought he was a girl because he was so small. I thought all small cats are girls, and all big cats are boys. Now I know that's not the case, ha ha. I had got used to the name Lily so I kept it, then he began to recognise it when I called him.

    Hi Jenny from Canberra. Please give your cat a kiss from me. The last few days are the worst. I kept thinking should I call the vet or should I wait, is he suffering. Lily showed no signs of distress, he just grew more tired in the last couple of days. I lay on the floor with my head on a pillow next to his, stroking him and talking to him, telling him it was ok to go to sleep. And the little sweetheart did.

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  39. My heart goes out to you :( Not only did you "rescue" Lily but you gave him love and a good home. What more can any one ask for...not only for our pets but for ourselves. It's hard to imagine people can be so cold-hearted but rest assured...you did the RIGHT thing :) Time will heal this wound. You won't ever forget Lily but, with time, it will be easier to think about him. I can say this only because we have gone through the loss of 2 of our beloved kitties recently. I'm giving you a cyber (((HUG))).

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  40. I firmly believe that cats choose their owners - Lily chose you, if his original owners had loved him they would have tried to coax him back.

    We have a lovely tabby who has adopted us recently - no one appears to want him and he was in such poor condition that if he did have owners they didn't deserve him. He's sleeping in the shed at the moment, but given time I hope to coax him into the house.

    Lily was lucky to have you

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  41. Sorry they were so mean to you Ilona, but they sound like mean people anyway, why have a pet and then not care for it? Lily was a lucky puss that you looked after him and gave him a home for his last 4 years. Don't ever think that you are too soft - domestic animals rely on kind people to care for them, they are not bred to be self sufficient.
    My friends once persuaded me to take in a stray cat, I'd never had a cat before, he was a sorry specimen so I took him to the vet where they sorted out his earmites and so on, then neutered him. I kept him in a while to get used to his new home before letting him back out again with his new collar and name tag. About 3 months later I had a very irate man on the phone accusing me of harming his cat by neutering him - he had kept the cat to breed from and sell the kittens! Well I guess I stopped him doing that but I never saw the cat again :-( and I was very glad my address wasn't on the name tag only my phone number! He was not a nice man (sounds like Lily's previous owners!)

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  42. You are right, Ilona, cats are free spirits. In fact that is even recognised in law - a cat is a free spirit and you cannot be found liable for its actions, unlike a dog who is not and who is your responsibility. The fact that Lily chose you speaks volumes about his previous home and about his own very good taste :)

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  43. Ilona Lily was happy with you to be honest I think his previous owner was maybe feeling a bit guilty so took it out on you. I'm in a similar situation at the moment. We had a small cat hanging around our garden for weeks who kept running in every time we opened the door and stealing my cats food. Then a couple of months or so back I saw it outside in a terrible storm getting absolutely blown around so I took it in. It had no collar on and absolutely gulped food down. When the weather was good I let in out with a collar on telling it's owner to contact me if it went home. Which she did and I thought all was well. Then it came back and has been living in our garden. Stupidly I didn't get it's owners address but just her phone number. It had been here in all weathers , getting soaked but I thought I musn't take it in , it has a good home. After weeks of watching this poor cat I looked out the window to see our garden absolutely full of tom cats. She was obviously in season, So I gave in and took her in. Still no collar on her. I phoned the RSPCA and all the other cat charities ....everybody full none want to help us find her owner. So we're basically left to sort it out ourselves. I phoned the womans number I'd kept and just got someone saying they didn't own such a cat. It's a strange place I find myself in not wanting to keep someones pet from them but also not wanting to put the cat in any more distress by abandoning it. I absolutely agree with you that cats need shelter too and shouldn't just be classed as an outdoor cat. Jules

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  44. We invited my neighbors' cat in our house during an ice storm. He had been left out and I knew the owners were gone, partying. That cat never left me. He was my best friend and passed peacefully, of natural causes, in my arms many years latter. Good for you for caring for Lily.

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  45. I just don't understand how some people can be so cold. When my cat Burrito went missing it took me 2 weeks to find out the neighbor had run him over. I had hung up signs trying to find him and they ripped them down in front of there house. It was actually the neighbor who lived on the other side of them who finally called me to let me know what had happened (she'd been out when it happened and heard them call the SPCA). I try to give them the benefit of the doubt and tell myself they ripped the sigh down because they wanted to phone and tell me but just felt so bad they couldn't do it. I don't know there reasoning but it would have been nice to know he wasn't coming home so I could grieve and move on, I wasn't mad they hit him that's part of the risk of having an outdoor cat I get that it's just that they could have told me. I actually phoned the SPCA as well but they weren't any help at all. Anyway I guess you just have to realize you have no control over other people and how they will react and move on.

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