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Sooty (part 1)

Viewed-From-My-Window-SootyThe ‘spy-cam’ has proved time and again to be very useful in determining who is coming to dinner in the barn. We already have a black cat we call Blackie, but when she goes into the barn for food, she is always accompanied by Jason, so who was this other black cat who came on its own?

Later we would see an occasional glimpse of him at the back door eating from the food bowls left out there for the cats. We called him ‘Sooty’. Looking at the size of him I would estimate him to be about one year old. He was very timid and would run away if he saw us.

I set up a trap at the ‘hole-in-wall’ entrance the cats use to come and go to the barn, but try as I  might, both times he spotted the danger and ran away. I decided to wait a while before trying again and see if I can improve my technique. Later we saw he had made friends with Blackie and Jason and the three of them would eat together in the large heated greenhouse.

Sooty spends a lot of time sitting in a very large pot that houses an olive tree, but always comes hurriedly for food at mealtimes. We just have to call “Come on then, Come on then!” and he is sure to appear along with any other cat within hearing distance. I was soon able to give him a stroke and occasionally a tummy rub and he has even started to purr, which is progress indeed, but I was not as yet able to pick him up.

The security camera shows he also comes for food in the barn almost every hour over night, just to check if this food is any different to the offerings before him in the greenhouse, and we cannot help but notice that he has doubled his weight and is now so fat he seems to wobble along. He is certainly making the most of all the biscuits and other food put out for everyone and it does not look as if he is going anywhere.

It was a few months later when I next had the opportunity to catch Sooty. We had been noticing that his coat seemed a bit tatty as if he had a flea allergy and it would appear that he had lost a lot of weight. We definitely needed to catch him and take him to the Vet to see what the problem was and to get him neutered.

I was in the barn getting the food ready to put down for the cats when Sooty came in and begged for food. This was easily sorted. I placed a bowl of food down and whilst he was occupied, I closed the door to the barn and to the entrance to the hole in the wall. I had him in the barn at last. Now I had a chance of catching him.

Then I noticed a black cat in the car park and thought that Sooty had made his escape. I was quite concerned and could not think how he would have got out of the barn. I nearly removed the catching cage thinking I was too late, but decided to leave it in place. It took all of two days with Sooty hiding in the barn before he tried to make his escape through the hole in the wall and straight into the catching cage. I had him.


The full story and many more are in the book “Viewed From My Window” by Patricia Oliver price £15.00 + £2.50 p&p. For more details, contact Patricia on 01202 826244. All proceeds go towards the Veterinary and Welfare needs of the 16 feral cats currently in her care.