On Monday, I was feeding Ivan at the carpark on behalf of btmao when there came a soft “meow” overhead. I looked up to see green eyes staring back through the railings on the second level. It was a face unfamiliar to us but Ivan was oblivious, and continued his gluttony as if nothing had happened. Of all days, this had to be the day I decided not to bring the camera along.
Throughout his meal, the green eyes stared and called. The kitty must be hungry. I decided to have a look as soon as Ivan was done and I’ve cleared his ‘table’.
The cat was a scaredy one, but hunger drove it to follow me. It looked to be an adult, and judging by its head, I believed it to be a she.
I tried luring her downstairs through the stairs, but the doors seem to scare her. Then I lured her down via the car entrances and exits but she still wouldn’t budge – so much for putting my life on the line. That she wouldn’t go beyond the exits seemed to indicate territorial boundaries, which means she’s been there for some time. Then the possibility of fouling occured to me.
Since I was exasperated and decided on a break, I went round the whole floor, checking for piss pools and poo pits. Rather relieved to find none, I concluded that despite her wariness about leaving the second floor, she does do her “business” on the grass patches downstairs.
I then found a quiet spot to feed her. Despite her wariness of people which helped keep a healthy 2m safe zone normally, she would tolerate proximity of 20cm just to eat. I had to be extremely still though, as she spooked easily. She was ravenous and thirsty, and made short work of the wet-food-and-water mulch. I also managed to confirm her gender.
Then I went home thinking about how to lure her to eat downstairs.
The second day, Tuesday, I went straight to her level, and stoppered the door of the staircase I was going to use. Then I turned around to find that the cat was already shadowing me.
She got excited upon hearing the sound of cans jostling in my bag. And she seemed to recognise the purpose of the spoon I was holding in my hand. So it seemed she’s not a newbie to being cared for.
It was quite a challenge to get her to follow me through the stoppered doorway, and go downstairs. In the end, I had to dig out bits from the already open can and lure her bite by bite. The sound of spoon against concrete seemed to be another food cue for her, as was the action of digging the spoon into the can. She approached the bites before they even touched ground. I had to back away slowly to avoid spooking her back to the other side of the doorway.
But at least it worked.
Once again, as soon as she’s eating, she’s able to tolerate close proximity.
She had almost finished her food when she decided that she had enough of me being so near it seemed. She ran out and off to the side of the staircase, entering the carpark. This was another sign that she knew the lay of the land, so to speak.
I was curious as to where she would go next, and if it was to return to the second level, how she was going to do it. I have a fair idea though – the circular entrances/exits of the carpark itself. The life-and-limb-risking way.
Just then, a familiar rang out. It spooked her so she immediately dived for cover.
I gave up tailing her and searched for Ivan… who stared down at me from railings on the second floor!
I went up and thought it was be an easy matter to lead him down by the same stairway. But no, like her, he stopped at the doorway and rubbed himself enthusiastically against it. Even the opened can and bits of food was not enough to get him to move. Frustrated, I took an incalculable risk: I scooped him up and balancing him by his forearmpits on one hand. I hauled him downstairs. The surprising thing was that he remained motionless, as if he was scruffed, and in fact he purred throughout the transit!
As soon as I put him down, he scrambled out to the grass. I thought he was spooked for sure and was going to miss his food, but then he preceded to follow me and the schedule wsa suddenly back to normal. He tucked into his food as if we never had our little adventure.
This morning, I lured the tortie downstairs for food the same way again. She didn’t finish her share as she was spooked by my phone’s ringing near the end. This time, she disappeared before I was able to follow her.
Then I served Ivan his food.
btmao sighted the tortie where Ivan usually hangs out earlier this morning, while on her way to work. So that confirms that she does know how to navigate the different carpark levels.
We’re quite surprised that we’ve not sighted the tortie before, given how familiar and settled she seemed. But at least her appearances have confirmed that we were not hallucinating during those occasions when we heard faint meows in the carpark while feeding Ivan.
The question is, is the tortie a savvy cat that has eluded Ivan’s territorila defence or a female he tolerates?
He had been best friends with Cassie and accepted her readily enough, otherwise she would not have been able to live in the carpark without problems from the first day of her stay. The tortie seemed to know her way about the carpark, indicating residency, but btmao had also witnessed last week, first-hand, Ivan chasing off a tabby-white female trying to beg for food from her.
In any case, we’ve decided to name the tortie, Carlie.