Thursday, 2 June 2011


Unlike some people I could mention, I have never gone out actively looking for animals to care for. The only one that I had in adult life seemed to come looking for me.

Widdy (as I called him) was an enormous, black Tom (no relation) who pretty much walked into my workshop (and life), when it was in the middle of town, and I don't know where he came from. He was obviously hungry and uncared for, so I started to feed him up. He was a gentle little giant - I have never known a cat with a better temperament.

I cut a hole in the wooden door and taught him how to go through it a couple of times, and made him a bed under a table, but I began to notice that he didn't use it at night, preferring a nearby timber-loft up a steep ladder. For the first few weeks, I hardly got any work done because he would lie on my lap and sleep in security, purring occasionally and catching up on the forty winks that he obviously didn't get at night. Then one day, I found out why.

I came to my workshop with H.I. one morning, and after I had unlocked the door and gone in, I saw Widdy staring at me from under the workshop table, looking nervous and frightened. Then I realised - it was not Widdy. It looked exactly like him - same size, same eyes, same small tuft of white fur on the chest - but it was not Widdy.

H.I. said 'of course it was him', but I knew it wasn't. Then - confirming my belief - the Widdy look-alike rushed past me and bolted through the door, colliding with H.I.'s legs on the way out. That convinced her.

Widdy had a twin brother who obviously made his life hell at night, and it was he who sprayed the inside of my workshop with a foul smell. I eternally regret blaming Widdy for that, poor little sod.

One day, Widdy arrived late in the morning, horribly scratched up and injured, so I brought in a vet and gave him anti-biotics. A few days later he disappeared all together and I never found out what happened to him, despite spending weeks searching for him everywhere, including by boat up the river, rowing along for about a mile in both directions and calling out his name.

For weeks afterwards, people would telephone me to say that they had seen him somewhere in town, and I would go there to find a black cat which was not him. I never did find out what happened.

Strangely, when Widdy disappeared, so did his twin brother. I never saw either of them again.


  1. I have a feeling I may have already done a Widdy post in the past - if so, sorry for repeating myself.

  2. I've had cats all my life. I like them; ungrateful as they are!

  3. Well, I would like to imagine that he found his owner and he lived his life happily despite not leaving his kind temporary guardian a note to spare the worry.

  4. beware Thomas..the American animal hoarders support group will be sending you hate mail again!

  5. Uninvited cats who need a home and a friend often come into our lives/hearts and stay. They are needy little buggers and we succumb so easily. Lost my 16 yr old guy recently to cancer, but I still find myself looking for him at the door when I come home. He looked a lot like Widdy.

  6. Cats are not daft, as I am sure you found out.
    This one had it made. He disappeared and I can't help thinking he came to a sticky end - they don't give up a soft touch easily. Sad not to know the outcome though Tom - I am a cat lover and know that they can twist one round their little claw making no effort at all.

  7. You've just reminded me of my turned-up-stray 'Scruffy Doris'. She came, she stayed, she left. The only difference was, SD was a dog.

  8. I`ve met Widdy before ! still enjoyed the post though !

  9. Yes, I think Widdy came a cropper as well. Anyway, he would be dead by now, but it would have been nice (nice?) to know what happened.

    You're right, Janet - I did do a Widdy post, so tomorrow I'll take this one down, but not before I've thanked you all for the comments.

  10. It doesn't matter that you've done a duplicate post, do leave it there. I just came back to read it again and I'm not even a cat person. I take in stray dogs :)

  11. OK, I'll leave it, Eileen. I suppose you would still get the cat picture even if I did take it down, but just an irritating message saying 'The post you are looking for no longer exists', which would be worse!