A few days later she sat on a plastic chair in her yard, sipping her tea and watching the cats finishing their breakfast. The bowls were scooting back and forth across the flags as the younger, more boisterous felines licked the last juices from the china. Jenny’s forehead was creased into frowning lines. She counted on her fingers Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday that was five days since she had seen the old tom. It wasn’t unusual for him to miss a day or two but for the last six years, since she had first made his acquaintance, he had never been missing for so long. She sighed and turned back to the house, leaving the kittens playing in the sunshine and the older cats curling into sun-kissed cushions or setting out on business that had been interrupted by their stop off at Jenny’s cat café. He was a wise old moggy; he had probably lived on the streets for years and was surely able to look after himself. She couldn’t care for them all. She did what was possible and sensible but had always resisted the temptation to take any of them into her home, no, that would be a slippery slope. There was no way to choose between them and so they all remained visitors. Of course there was no doubt that many of them had perfectly good homes already and were just taking advantage of a free meal. That was fine with Jenny the more the merrier, but all that said she did have an extra soft spot for the old boy. She had christened him Rags when they first became acquainted, because of his chewed ear and she had enjoyed their mutual respect for each other.
He would allow her to tickle him and stroke his ginger fur, made harsh by life and age but still thick and springy under her fingers. In his turn he would sit on the wall and stare with eyes the colour of Tiger Eye gems. She saw friendship in the eyes and respect but there was independence there as well, he was his own boss.
She was worried about him though. She was going down to the greengrocers later and so would take her bicycle and have a little ride around and see if she could find him or, heaven forbid, his body if he had been in a road accident. It was always a risk and it had happened more than once. She had retrieved the poor damaged corpses and carried them to the little park and buried them in amongst the trees. She knew she shouldn’t, knew that it was a serious offence to be digging in the public park but she was careful and never left any mess. It couldn’t be wrong surely to give the poor little things a quiet place to sleep away eternity, who could fault her for that. Her eyes moistened at the thought that she may be having to take Rags to the park and she gave herself a mental shake. Now, come on there’s no need to jump to conclusions. The old sod has probably found someone with better biccies. She would have a look but then would have to accept that he would come or not depending on his own mood and that was it and all about it.
Decision made she went about her morning chores and looked forward to a little trip in the afternoon with the hope that she’d see him drowsing in a sunny corner somewhere or tormenting Mr Jones’ pigeons, she grinned at the thought. It was only one of the old cat’s sins and it made him even more loveable in her eyes.
My latest – still at the introductory offer price.