In April 2019, a sweet, grey female cat started hanging out on our patio and in my garden. My two cats were mixed about the stranger, with Loki, my oldest, interested in this new cat and DiNozzo, my rescued black cat, unhappy that there was an invader. Our dog, Misha, a 45-pound Border Collie/Labrador mix, did not seem to care, aside from the excitement it created in the cats.
I went outside to meet this kitty and she eagerly came to me, wanting attention. She was small and fluffy, and she had the sweetest personality. She had no collar and was clearly hungry, so we gave her some food. I was upset and angry that someone had abandoned such a sweet cat, or that they did not care enough to look for her if she was lost. We guessed someone had moved out and left her, and she found us because of the smell of our pets.
The cat stayed near our apartment, basically living in my garden and chilling on our patio. I put extra bowls outside with water and food for her, but hoped she had a home and would return to it. We started calling her the “patio cat,” or sometimes the “garden cat.” I would come home from work and she was there waiting for me, excited to see me again. She did not like to be picked up, so I would just pet her and make sure she had food and water.
The garden kitty left once and I hoped she went home, but she returned, hungry again. I suspect she had gone off hunting in the park behind our townhome complex, or maybe she found another household who fed her. When the cat came back, my mom and I put an old towel in a box for her, placing it inside my mini greenhouse so the cat could have shelter from the rain. It was almost May, so the temperatures were mild, though we did have a few cold nights.
After we set up a little home for her in my greenhouse, she never left again. She waited on the patio for affection and kept guard over the garden. It was obvious this cat had already decided that this was her home and we were her people. After a few more days, I scooped her up and put her in our basement with her box and bowls and made an appointment with our vet. “Patio cat” had become “basement cat.”