Max & Manx

Max, surveying his territory

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Maxwell is a 12-year-old, grey striped tabby whose territories include my small acreage and the fields of several neighbors. He came to me about 10 years ago soon after showing up at a friend’s barn and deciding to stay there. She gave him to a couple who took him to their home as a barn cat. A couple of days later, Max showed up in my friend’s barn, and she thought the folks she’d given him to had decided to return him. But, nope, he’d done it on his own–covered a return distance of five miles. I liked this fellow and brought him home, sequestering him in my barn for weeks before allowing freedom. He’s been with me since.

For years, Max was outside-0nly. He looked for mice in the barn, played with and let them go–a so-so mouser, and much better at preying on critters I didn’t want him bothering. He’s a sweet guy, happy to see me, and often follows like a puppy. One evening, seeing his face swollen, I took him to a vet. “Looks like he’s had a cat bite,” he said, “he’ll need antibiotics, and in a couple of months testing for kitty aids.”

I didn’t known Max to be a fighter, but in case he was, it made sense to keep him inside until his face healed and he was retested; for if that bite did infect him with kitty aids, he could spread that disease. The eventual upshot was that Max retested clean. Also, he had become accustomed to “insider’s comforts”, with safety, warmth, and food-begging opportunities. He became an inside-outside cat.

Fast-forward, to a week ago, when I glanced outside at a small deck where Max hangs out, and saw a strange gray cat sneaking around, sniffing everything, and paying special attention to the dog house, inside which Max has a bed. That very beefy cat didn’t have a tail, a Manx! He looked over, spotted me and stared. His surprising face looked like one that had been dipped in milk. So much dark grey, with the sudden white, and such light eyes! In another moment, he slipped away.

Manx (stock photo)

I texted a neighbor who’s a “cat person” asking if she knew that Manx, but she’d never seen him. I figured that was the end of it, until earlier this week when he again appeared on my small deck, sniffed around, hung out a few minutes exchanging looks through the glass door with Max, who was inside. And yesterday, there was the Manx, asleep on my small deck and for all the world looking as if he belonged there. Max wasn’t to be seen anywhere, and luckily so far, no squabbles.

In all Maxwell’s years here, it’s been his place. Now so interesting, this intruder. I’ll look for him hoping to get a photo of that beautiful kitty. If there’s such a thing as luck, Manx might find my barn, and those mice that Maxwell ignores. Word has it that Manx are great hunters.

Dear Friends, Have a lovely day. Diana

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