He ran away from home in May and his owners leafleted the area and we were able to tell them that he was paying frequent visits to our garden. To get here, he had to cross a busy road and cut through the horses' field, then push his his way through brambles and nettles, but this didn't seem to deter him. We frequently found him with his head in the fox's dish.
His owners managed to lure him home but he soon absconded again. Apparently, he didn't get on with his feline mum, who also lived there. She bossed him around something terrible, and he, being a big, strong, three-year-old adult male (well, almost...), just wasn't going to put up with it. So he ran away for good this time and is living rough and his former owners are no longer responding to our text messages about him. From being utterly distraught, his 'mum' is now acting like a woman scorned.
He looks pretty well fed and we suspect he's sneaking through every cat flap in the neighbourhood and taking what he can get. But he is wearing a tight collar, the end of which dangles and must really annoy him, so my aim is to get the thing off him.
The last four nights, he has appeared just before 10pm and meowed outside the patio door, so I have been putting some food out for him, though he was so nervous that if he so much as saw me looking at him,. he would run away. I had to peep round the kitchen door and watch him covertly.
Then tonight, I had a major breakthrough. I put his food out, left the door open and crouched down. He buried his face in the food and I slowly extended my hand until I was actually stroking his head very gently. And he didn't run away. I think within a few nights I shall have that collar off him.
His human mum told us that he is supposed to be on a special diet as he has a kidney problem and crystals in his urine. We have seen no signs of distress or ill-health. His coat is glossy and he certainly isn't thin. I rather think he has designs on being household cat number two, if Flad will permit it. There has been the odd outbreak of hissing, but Charlie defers to Flad, backing off if Flad decides to eat Charlie's dinner as well as his own. Maybe they could be friends one day. I hope so.