Two or three years ago, I may have mentioned that we had been 'adopted' by a feral cat which first came to our attention when we discovered that it had been taking advantage of some of the food we put out for local wildlife during a particularly bad winter.
In time, it became obvious that it was visiting almost every day; sitting directly outside our kitchen window in an attempt to attract our attention. So we started to buy cat food and provided a dish for it (see below).
During the first couple of years - or so, although it seemed to recognise us, it would never approach us; in fact, more often than not, it would shy away from us - even if we were putting food out for it.
Clearly - or, so it would seem - it had been subjected to something awful at the hands of an (in)human being. More recently, although it still wouldn't come to us, there were signs that it was becoming slightly less wary; and I would go so far as to say that it looked forward to seeing us.
Sadly, over the past two or three weeks, we began to notice it was suffering from some form of mange. Despite that, however, it continued to turn up for its daily (sometimes twice daily) meal; but, it was sufficiently worrying for son #2, Adam, to invest in some antibiotics from the local vet and crushing the tablets and secreting the powder in the food seemed to be helping and there were encouraging signs that the wound was healing.
Unfortunately, however, our next-door neighbour had the misfortune to discover that our feline friend had died underneath their parked car, last night. There was no question (or evidence) that it had been run over and it was well-known that it often sought out the warmth of a recently used car engine.
Hardly surprisingly, we're all extremely upset; Adam in particular - not least because he had grown very fond of it and had to dig the resting place (little more than a yard from where the cat is shown in the photo) and my wife because of the cruel irony in the fact that it took the death of the cat for her to be able to hold it in her arms.
RIP Pussy Cat.
You will be sadly missed.