I look out my bedroom window at Barry's jewelry studio, and I can tell that he is busy making his art. It's not that there is smoke coming from a chimney – there is no chimney and no smoke in his art. (Not much, anyway. Vapors from the pickling solution, but not real smoke.)
The black and white cat on the step – his name is Tom Cat. He more or less adopted us last year. I thought he was feral and we decided to have him fixed when Emancipet was in town with their Mobile Clinic. On the day scheduled we hadn't trapped him, so I thought I might be able to catch him or lure him into the carrier with food. As it turns out, all I had to do was bend down, pet him on the head and pick him up. This cat was not feral. Clearly he used to belong to somebody, but whoever that is he clearly has chosen not to be there any more. Who am I to judge that relationship?
After the operation, and after the healing time, I let him out of the carrier. We have ferals neutered and spayed regularly with the trap-and-release program through the local SPCA. Once we release, they usually stay away for a day or two before returning to where they know there is food to be found. Not Tom Cat. I can't say he was thrilled, but he strutted around and rubbed against my leg. He had made up his mind where his home was and a small thing like this wasn't going to change it.
Originally, I tried to feed him on the other side of the property to keep from having fights with the cats in our yard. But, Barry moved him into the yard when it got cold and he needed a warm place to be. Our house is pier and beam and cats keep warm under it, plus we (Barry) put out insulated boxes for him and another stray who has planted himself here.
I don't want to say that Tom Cat like either one of us better than the other, but when Barry is working in the jewelry studio, Tom Cat is waiting against the door for him. When Barry is working in the tile studio, Tom Cat is waiting against that door for him. I think he instinctively knows which one of us is the bigger push-over.