Meet Oliver.

Oliver bolting down some cat food we brought.

The last few times I’ve been to the Patch, this cat has run out from the woods to greet me. The first time I saw him, I’d just picked up our order of Amish food. I had a whole gallon of fresh, full-cream milk in my trunk and gave him some in a little plastic dish I found. I was surprised when he lapped it clean; he looked sleek enough, and was friendly enough, that I didn’t really think he was a stray.

I’m starting to wonder, though. He doesn’t have fleas that I could see, and he’s not super skinny, and his coat has a good gloss to it. But he’s definitely lean, and he’s not neutered, and he doesn’t have any kind of tag or ID. On top of that, he frantically bolts down any food we bring him with an urgency that denotes real hunger. Also, I think he may have a pretty bad case of worms (his tummy was hard and round).

I’ve decided to name him Oliver (as in the “please-sir-may-I-have-some-more” orphan Oliver Twist). He answers to it; well, at least as long as there’s food in your hand at the time. -laugh-

I don’t really know what to do with him; I’d like at least to take him to one of those $25 spay/neuter clinics that are sponsored by the County sometimes. But if he were owned… what would someone say to a guerilla-neutered pet? And if he were stray, it would be murder to inflict one of those cone collars on him. He’d get all tangled in the underbrush and starve to death (and then I guess it wouldn’t matter a bit if he were neutered or not).

He’s so friendly – really, such a love – that I can’t help wanting to take him home with me. He must have been with people from an early age, even if they later abandoned him. He never runs from me, comes when called, lets me roll him over and stroke his belly, lets me carry him around, and responds to such general abuse with big purrs. The other day he lay behind me as I weeded the irises for an hour, then I picked him up and carried him into the Patch and he napped in the potato patch while I planted beans next to him. Eventually he came over and started begging for attention. He stayed there until late in the evening, and was still around when I left.

I don’t know what to do with him. I suppose he’s happy where he is. If I knew for sure whether he were someone’s pet or not, I’d know better how to act. Since I don’t, perhaps I’ll just leave him be and keep taking care of him – I brought a big jar of cat food with me when I last came down – and then at least he may hang around long enough to catch some of the voles and squirrels that keep nibbling my peas.

At the very least, he’s already stayed long enough to give me a mild case of poison ivy. -grin-

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