A new family moved into the house at the very North end of the alley that runs behind Roseholme Cottage. They brought at least three cats, of the outdoors-sometimes variety, who have been camped out in the fenced back yard and, occasionally, outside it: a longhaired tortie (marked a bit like Rannie, but with bigger patches of white), a sleek all-back shorthair, and a very pretty gray-and-white longhair.
They seem to be fitting in well with the other neighborhood cats. Last night, after retuning from an appointment to get my taxes done (my withholding was pretty close, I don't owe the Feds or State and will get a little back), I walked up to meet them.
All three exhibited the behavior that I'm told made cats domestic: skittish, but determined to find out if this stranger might have something of interest. They started to bolt as I walked up, then the bravest (gray-and-white) came up to the fence while the other two watched nearby. All three are "talkers" and eventually, they were all mewing at me while the lead cat smoothed on the fence. Nice kitties!
I'm told housecats can do something a lot of critters can't: calm themselves. Supposedly, that's how they ended up hanging around with us as pets instead of simple mousecatchers: some adults were able to stand being around us giant bipeds long enough to have kittens and from there, well, who doesn't like playing with kittens? Next thing you know, the little critters have associated you with their mommy and you've got a genuine housecat. True or not (LabRat has likely got the skinny on it), it's interesting to see 'em make up their mind about someone -- and flattering when they decide you might be trustworthy.
5 weeks ago