Cyril has returned. We encountered him down the lane, not far from where I first found him. He cried out and came running over to us when we called him. We were delighted. In the back of our minds was the fear that he had been injured in a fight with the local feral cats or even worse. We walked together back towards the house, Cyril trotting along the lane in fits and starts. When we got near to the house he seemed to suddenly recognise where he was and ran ahead. He was waiting by the front door when we arrived.
As usual he tucked in to several bowlfuls of milk and food. He looked like he had been sleeping rough, his fur was a bit muddy and his ears were flecked with specks of dried blood. He licked himself all over and then went to sleep on the bed for some hours. Later on he got up and fed again, returning to bed after. That evening he went out into the darkness. As we closed the front door, we wondered if we would ever see him again.
But the next morning Cyril was back for a hearty breakfast. On the front doorstep was a piece of grey rabbit fur with a slice of flesh attached to the inside skin: a cat gift to reaffirm the bond. Afterwards I went to the local Post Office to remove the missing cat poster.
‘Did the cat come back on its own?’ said the postmistress.
I explained and thanked her.
‘Is it a boy?’ she said.
‘They do wander,’ she said, shaking her head.
Cyril had been away for the best part of two weeks. We had looked everywhere for him, especially down the lane where I first found him. Near the disused railway line was an old barn with bales of straw in it. I had pushed apart the brambles to reveal a cat sized hole in the straw in the corner. We called and called but there was no Cyril to be found anywhere.
We had given up hope of seeing him again and had feared the worst. But wee Cyril has proved himself to be self-sufficient, in spite of our townland being full of wild creatures: feral cats, badgers and foxes.
His little purring presence and big personality have made a real difference to our house. He’s been with us all this week. We hope Cyril stays for a good long while before his next wander.