I am delighted to report that Daisy is back home!
The bizarre thing is that she neither left nor came back of her own accord. She was effectively abducted and then returned.
After searching everywhere and calling for her we were beginning to think we would never see her again. There was however the possibility that she might have wandered down the lane to the neighbour’s house and been trapped in a barn or shed. He lives by himself, being mentally and physically disabled, and has a daily visit from a carer. We decided to have a word with her and ask if she had seen the cat on his property so waited at the end of the lane for her car to pass by.
She told us a lot about our neighbour, much of which we already knew, and she came across as a really nice, caring, dependable person, thoroughly concerned for his welfare. He should really be in a care home but refuses to go, hence the visits from the carer and daily meal deliveries.
As the conversation drew to a close I asked about the cat. I said we had lost our cat and wondered if she had seen one around his house and that I was worried that she might have accidentally been shut in a barn. She said “she’s on his bed”.
He had told her that he “found the cat” outside our house and took her home. The carer, having no idea there were new neighbours next door, concluded that he had picked up an abandoned cat and thought no more about it. He had kept her indoors and not let her outside at all.
At first I thought she was not going to help us to get Daisy back - she said he would be very upset if the cat went away. I said “but she’s our cat”. We must have both looked distraught as she seemed to suddenly change her mind and said she would bring the cat back to us the next day. She would tell him that the cat had disappeared. She even reached into the back of the car and gave us a box of cat food she had bought for her.
She was true to her word and Daisy arrived the next day, bewildered and confused, with chronic diarrhoea and riddled with fleas. Luckily she still remembered how to use a litter tray.
It took Lulu a few hours to get used to Daisy again but now they get along fine. The fleas are gone, the upset tummy has settled down and Daisy is back to her usual self, following us everywhere and meowing constantly, getting into mischief. I have rediscovered the joy of having a kitten climbing up your trouser leg as you try to peel potatoes!
So Daisy has gone from being a full-time outdoor cat to a full-time indoor cat for the time being. We will keep her indoors for a few days then let her out and see what happens – we are very worried that if the neighbour spots her he will simply take her again. Even if she is allowed outdoors we will certainly shut her in when we go out, just in case he walks by and she goes to him.
Nothing is ever easy, is it? We just wanted a cat to deal with the mice……