A Puss in Ten-League Boots


Fluffy, as he came to be known, came to us as a wandering stray, which we fed, and it took several months before Kay could pick him up and give him a stroke and a cuddle. With the die cast, it then only took a few minutes before he began taking over the house and ‘organising’ our other four cats.

The timeframe is interesting because the cat proved to be totally housetrained, extremely affectionate, and had been de-sexed.

Who knows his history except him? The probability was he had been a loved house pet who had been abandoned by a family in dire need moving on, or more likely a lonely person who had passed on with nobody left to even think about the other part of what had been such a close relationship – a part which then began to starve of both food, and love.

How long he had been on the road, we cannot say. Enough for him to have an overlay of survival. Like his predator kind he had learnt to assert himself, and the dominant, of course, are the best fed.

Fluffy settled in well with us as human companions, but not the other cats. He seemed intent on a programme of forcing the other animals out of the house. Humans he loved, own kind he hated. But our cats had also been with us for years and a peaceful home would not be denied to them.

Kay found a good house for Fluffy. He went to a local hotel and lived a life of luxury, which he quickly adjusted to. Then fortunes changed again. Fluffy’s new owners had to move on, so he was transferred to a lonely person and got on famously.

Then, one day, Fluffy managed to get into an open car boot and took an unexpected and unauthorised trip to a town 90 km (55 miles) away.

He walked back!

When he got back to his latest owner, he was in bad shape and missing an eye. He was also learning.

That situation came unglued when Fluffy’s new owner had to move on. Nevertheless, the cat was transferred, in good faith, to another allegedly caring home – on a farm. You have heard about farm cats perhaps?

One early morning, Kay asked me to look at a visiting cat which was in the kitchen and was tearing into breakfast. Was it Fluffy?

I did not recognise the cat. It was in extreme starvation but bloated, obviously by worms. But I recognised it after an hour and a half’s feeding, when it came to me and gave me the love in that particular manner I was so used to from a former time. Fluffy had walked home again.

These days, Fluffy seems to have learnt a lot from experience. They say walking is healthy exercise and he has had plenty for such a relatively small animal. Nowadays, he is not entirely subservient to our other cats but gives them due deference and does not challenge their living space. He fits in, finds his own place in the sun and has become a peaceful member of the family.

For an animal which has been in the wild for so long – having to hunt and fend for itself yet never trained to do so, Fluffy can now curl up and suffer recovering wild birds walking inches from his nose, and not twitch a whisker. Yet sometimes I fancy I detect a certain pondering in his remaining good eye – but he keeps that to himself and stays at peace

Fluffy has clearly walked back to the home he really wanted, and this is most probably his final home, for he was not a young cat when we first met. But like all of us, he has had to learn that home is what you make it, and the starting point is seeing the point of view of others sharing that home.

– Tony Hayes
Toogoolawah, Queensland, Australia.

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