Yesterday morning, when I went out, the orange and white tabby was in the back yard.
The previous day I had seen him for the first time, He slunk out from beneath the dump truck to where two of my other strays were feeding from their dishes. There was some growling, so I got another dish of food and set it out for the newcomer who had returned to hide under the dump truck. This guy looked so awful that I would have given him a can of 'the good stuff', but I didn't want a cat fight.
When I pulled out of the driveway, he'd once again come out from beneath the truck and was eating ravenously.
I was glad to see him back, and so right away, I went inside and got the last can of good stuff from the top of the fridge and gave it to him. He's very wary. He stood up when I approached with the dish, prepared to bolt. I got as close as I thought I could without scaring him off, set the dish on the ground with a few kind words, and then went back inside to watch.
He was very interested in the food, but made a great show of grooming himself while keeping a close eye on that food dish. Finally, he dared to move a bit closer to it. And then closer still...and before too awful long he was polishing the bottom of the bowl.
Tim does not hate the cats, but he's not happy about them. He's not a fan of animals in the house. He never has been. These cats aren't, but I think he has this horrible fear that they will be once the weather turns bad.
He does not mind the occasional bag of kibble.
He doesn't mind the little collection of china bowls that I picked up from Goodwill to keep them fed.
He did wince a little when I spent $30 on Ivermectin for Mangey.
He also began to look a bit unhappy when I needed the good food. I could mix the ivermectin into it, and Mangey would gobble down the full dose.
But for all of that, Mangey healed up so remarkably quickly that Tim stopped complaining at all. He now comes around so infrequently that the little stack of cans sat on top of the fridge for a month or so, which I am sure that Tim found reassuring.
But now there is another, and I'd fed him the last can of the good stuff.
I had to pick up a few groceries and thought to pick up another half dozen cans of cat food. It is 83 cents a can. Because I am thrifty, I compared single price cans to multipacks. It got very pricey very quickly. But...I saw one case of 9-Lives. It contained 36 cans. It was $22.84, which worked out to 63 cents a can. Plus, each can was 5.5 oz compared to the fancy feast I'd been buying which was 3 oz. I could get two meals from each can. Doing some math, I figured that I'd be cutting the costs of my feral cat hobby by more than half.
Tim was not happy to see the carton of cat food. Even with the explanation.
But I fixed him right up. I can barely keep up with the tomatoes coming ripe in the garden so I've spent a lot of time in the kitchen lately. I made up a batch of my best spaghetti sauce yet. (secret: sautee the peppers, onions, garlic and mushrooms in a little olive oil, and then add the tomatoes and simmer.) I made homemade meat balls. He couldn't stop raving about how great this batch of sauce had turned out. "It's perfect," he said.
Cats aren't the only critters that like the good stuff.