About five months ago, our cat Smudge escaped from her foster home and disappeared into the surrounding wild. Her new home was close to farmland, bushland and a gold course, so for a partially feral cat (she was born “in the wild”), it must have felt like coming home.
She was sighted a couple of months ago, lurking around her new mum Alicia’s car but no amount of calling or rattling of the biscuit barrel could bring her in and so she slunk off into the night, not to be seen again.
Alicia had done a mailbox drop when Smudge was first sighted, delivering a large number of flyers to people in the neighbourhood asking if they’d seen Smudge. It stood to reason that she was still lurking around somewhere, like some smaller version of the Perth Hills Panther. When she was spotted, she was even still wearing her collar.
People nearby had seen Smudge. What’s more, they’d been feeding her in the evenings when she came by. They’d seen the first flyers but hadn’t called because they thought Smudge was returning home during the day and roaming at night.
They promised to hold onto her the next night when she came around. They did and Alicia has now picked her up and brought her home. Apart from a bit of dermatitis, a bit of sulking, and wanting to be patted, she’s in good health. She still has her collar on. (Now she has to get registered and have a new bit of bling for around her neck.)
She’s now back under house arrest and her days of running free around the countryside are at an end (hopefully). With any luck, the local native wildlife populations can rebuild and she didn’t decimate them too heavily.
(According to research by the Australian Wildlife Conservancy, feral cats in Australia kill 75 million native animals every night.)
I’m so happy she’s back safe and sound. Whenever anyone asked about her, I did say she was a survivor (she’d been run over by some earth-moving equipment when she was a kitten, which had broken one of her legs straight through and fractured another. This is how we got her and despite being told she might need to have a leg amputated, she rebounded and everything healed well) and probably having the time of her life, or being fed by some new family. Turns out I was right.
Thanks to Alicia for the photos – and getting Smudge back 🙂
And anyone reading this, please don’t feed stray cats!