Did I listen? No. No I did not. I got all manner of stuff for Mangey and we made the move indoors. William renamed him Ash and they played laser tag together. It was a delightful two days. Then Mangey decamped.
I felt terrible about it. I'm a grandma after all. Three weeks later, a tenant caught the feral kitten. He was part of a litter. One kitten disappeared very early on. Another tenant took the first one Paula trapped. When she trapped this second one, she had no idea what she was going to do with him. She just wanted him off the street before something happened to him.
Because William was so sad about losing Ash, I decided to take that kitten. I brought him home from the vet visit. I knew William would be happy. This is how we've come to have a traumatized cat who lives somewhere down the basement. I assured William that when he gets over being afraid, he will be more interesting.
Today, William was loading some books in my car for a trip to the Goodwill. I heard a delighted sound from the kitchen. I walked out, and there was Mangey/Ash. He was loving on William and William was loving him right back.
Greeeeeeeaaaaattt....After over a month, the prodigal cat came back, carefully timing his return with the adoption of another cat.
Mangey raised holy hannah at my feet and got fed. He looked a bit disgruntled when his food went outside, but he followed along willingly enough.
William and I went to the Goodwill and when we came home, Mangey was waiting and happy to see us once again.
"But WHY can't he come in?" William pleaded.
I explained all the reasons...that he seems to have another home, that we have taken in a kitten, and (mostly), that Grandpa will kill me if we wind up with two cats, all while trying to block a cat from scooting inside.
William cried. "But we can't just not FEED him!!!!"
I pointed out that he had gotten his handout, just as he always has, and that we will continue to feed him (and who ever else shows up at the door).
One change: I went down to pull the sheets out of the dryer and Spook was curled up quietly in his cozy bed. For a change he did not run for the dark recesses of the old coal room when I stepped off the stairs but he did keep his eye on me. That's an improvement. He comes upstairs to eat every night when we are in bed and the house is dark.