The Double Life of a Melville Cat

This guest post was inspired by the Blog of Otis.

Hello, I’m Squeak. I also have another name, but I’m keeping it a secret for now.

This is me, Squeak. (Photo courtesy of Joe.)

Heather asked me to write a post for her blog so I can tell you about my extraordinary achievement. Every cat gets nine lives, but we’re supposed to live them one at a time, not concurrently. Only the most charming, intelligent cats are able to live two lives at once. I am one of those cats.

Around this time last year, I was living a regular cat life at a house in Melville. I had a nice human, Ms. M, to care for me, and other cats and dogs to play with. I had food and a place to sleep. But I wanted more.

I discovered another house around the corner, with a beautiful garden and two new people in it. I liked that garden a lot so I started hanging around there. The people who live there are Joe and Heather. They didn’t pay much attention to me at first. One time I stuck my head in their window to have a look around. Heather took my picture but she didn’t invite me in. How rude.

Here I am, looking at Heather through the window.

There was another cat, Fruffy, who lived next door to the beautiful garden. He was bigger than me and always tried to chase me away. But I’m a brave cat and I wouldn’t back down.

As the months went on, I could see that Heather and Joe were growing to admire me. They let me sit on their porch when they had coffee or lunch outside. I sat under their chairs and sometimes they fed me chicken. They talked about me and wondered if I needed humans to take care of me. I don’t wear a collar so there was no way for them to know about my other house. They used big words like ‘commitment’ and ‘allergies’. I stayed quiet.

Heather and Joe love to take my photo. Here’s a picture of me enjoying the garden.

Winter arrived and it was cold outside. When I came to Joe and Heather’s window, they invited me in to sit on their heated rug. They gave me milk and tuna. They brought me a scratching block and some catnip. I love catnip.

I spent lots of time at Joe and Heather’s, but I still went back to my other house at night. Joe and Heather seemed a little confused about my habits but they were happy when I came to visit every day. They started calling me Squeak, because I squeak at them a lot.

Joe and Heather had learned to love me, and they knew nothing about my other life. I was getting twice the love and twice the food of a normal cat. I had achieved the impossible.

Heather went away for a while and I could see Joe was lonely. I decided to give him some extra attention. I followed him around the garden and helped him pull weeds.

Here I am helping Joe in the garden.

I found a favorite chair to sleep on, and began spending the night in Joe’s house.

Joe took this picture while I was trying to sleep.

Heather came back eventually, and found me living with Joe. I think she may have been a little jealous because a few days later, she made Joe put me in a cage and they took me to that scary place called the vet. At the vet’s office, as if things weren’t bad enough already, the doctor stuck her hand between my legs. How rude.

‘It’s a neutered male,’ the doctor said.

‘What? It’s a boy!’ Heather shouted.

Heather and Joe laughed and laughed. For all that time they had thought I was a girl. Ha ha. We all felt happy when we got back home.

The next day, when I was visiting Ms. M at my other house, Lucky showed up. Lucky lives with Heather and Joe. Lucky saw me and asked Ms. M if I belonged to her. Uh-oh. My cover was blown. Lucky told Ms. M about my life with Heather and Joe. Ms. M told Lucky that Heather and Joe musn’t feed me anymore!

I went back to Heather and Joe’s later, and I could tell they’d heard the news. They seemed sad and unsure about what to say to me. They didn’t take my food away at first. But a couple of days later, I heard Heather on the telephone. I realized she was talking with Ms. M. because she said Ms. M’s name. After Heather hung up, she was very sad. She went to the kitchen and put my food bowl away.

I’m feeling pretty confused now. Maybe living two lives at once was a bad idea.

I initially thought that living multiple lives was fun. But maybe I’ve made a mistake.

I’m not sure what will happen next. I will wait and see.

Read the next post from Squeak. And another post here, and here.

♦    ♦    ♦    ♦    ♦    ♦

Squeak’s story might sound humorous. But I’m actually devastated over the situation and so is Joe. I’m sure Ms. M is too. We’re going to meet up tonight to discuss things.

Five months ago I wrote a guest post for Notes From Africa about indoor-outdoor cats. I wrote about the pros and cons of letting house cats outside, and I even included my photo of Squeak looking through our window. When discussing the disadvantages of having an outdoor cat, I didn’t even consider the possibility that outdoor cats can decide to adopt two owners at once! Oh, the irony.

Squeak will keep you posted on any developments.

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36 Comments

  • Reply miadidthis September 22, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    Oh how sad (insert sad face here). Yet I love this story. Thank you Squeak, you cunning cat and Heather.

    • Reply 2summers September 22, 2011 at 2:29 pm

      He is cunning! I’ll pass along your thanks.

  • Reply Slowvelder September 22, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    Squeak you are a very beautiful boy. I can see you love helping in the garden :).

    Heather, I had the same thing happen with a dog when I was young – rips you apart a bit 🙁

    • Reply 2summers September 22, 2011 at 2:44 pm

      Thanks Jackie. I guess things will work out somehow and the kitty will wind up wherever he is supposed to be. It’s been nice having him around in the meanwhile, at any rate.

  • Reply lisa@notesfromafrica September 22, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    Squeak is such a beautiful boy and the photos of him are stunning! It sounds like he regards your home and garden as part of his territory – and you and Joe as his extended family. When Lucy was young, she often would be away from home for hours on end, and we always joked about “her other family”. I never dreamt that that could actually happen. Hope all works out okay for you all!

    (Thanks for mentioning my blog 🙂 )

    • Reply 2summers September 22, 2011 at 2:40 pm

      Thanks Lisa. I had to mention your blog — the connection between the two posts is quite remarkable!

    • Reply 2summers September 22, 2011 at 2:41 pm

      PS: I have a feeling there might be lots more cats out there with multiple families. Interesting phenomenon.

  • Reply laurenbarkume September 22, 2011 at 2:48 pm

    Cute cat, I can imagine how terrible that must feel! We have about 3 cats who regularly come through our yard, one who even slept on the bed for a while. I hope things turn out so you can keep him in your lives!

    • Reply 2summers September 22, 2011 at 2:55 pm

      Yes, we’ll see. I don’t know how to ‘share’ a cat with another home! Very difficult situation. I have a feeling Squeak will work this out himself somehow.

  • Reply Jen September 22, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    Oh, H. I know how much you love cats — and how sad you must be! Hope it works out. 🙁

    • Reply 2summers September 22, 2011 at 3:09 pm

      Thanks JMG, me too. Ms. M seems like a nice person so I’m hopeful we’ll be able to work something out.

  • Reply martinaloeb September 22, 2011 at 7:39 pm

    If I were Squeak and could get away with having 2 homes who love him then I definitely would! The situation is such a shame though, although I’m pretty sure that he won’t stop visiting as he likes you guys right back!

    You can always be an auntie to Midas and Lulu 😉 they love anyone who loves them. They are very cheap with their emotions……

    I just read your indoor/outdoor article which is well timed for me as the South African’s here cannot believe that Midas and Lulu don’t go out. They just couldn’t in London – they would have been run over or stolen – they are an expensive breed over there. Now we are here I really want to let them in the garden supervised as I know they will love it, but I’m worried about the electric fence. I know Lulu would definitely jump up there, and I think it would be all 9 lives gone in one go!

    • Reply 2summers September 22, 2011 at 8:52 pm

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Martina. I would love to meet Midas and Lulu. I want to see them do their business in the toilet!

      It’s funny…I do know one other couple in Melville who keep their cat inside all the time, but they are also American expats. Ha. I totally see both sides of the story. I don’t blame you for fearing the electric fences — I’ve often wondered how all the Jozi cats navigate them, but somehow they all seem to do it. Maybe it’s in their Jozi cat blood 🙂

  • Reply Kathryn McCullough September 22, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    Squeak, you’re a handsome, cunning boy!

    Heather, I’m sorry you are having to manage this. How disappointing. But I would love to hear more from Squeak. Good luck!

    Kathy

    • Reply 2summers September 22, 2011 at 8:43 pm

      Thanks Kathy. You’ll definitely be hearing more from Squeak, who also goes by the name Smokey, we learned today. SmokeySqueak!

  • Reply KatiesCameraBlog September 22, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    What a wonderful and horrible story. I am so sorry for this situation. I hope things can be worked out.Squeak is indeed a truly beautiful cat, and your photos of him are simply wonderful. I hope it ends well for all of you. Squeak obviously loves you and Joe so much. Take care.

    • Reply 2summers September 22, 2011 at 8:42 pm

      Thanks Katie, that’s very sweet of you to say. We met Squeak’s owner this afternoon and I think we’re all feeling much more peaceful about things now. More to come! Thanks very much for reading and commenting! Your photography looks beautiful too.

  • Reply Lu September 23, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    Aww…
    Squeak/Smokey is beautiful – or should I rather say, Handsome!
    I firmly believe that cats adopt humans, and never the other way around. I don’t have the luxury of being able to own a pet, but I invariably get adopted by cats when I am away from home.. I even got adopted by a cat whilst on a long-weekend stay at Loskop Dam!…Maybe it was just that particular chalet was part of his territory 🙂

    • Reply 2summers September 23, 2011 at 7:34 pm

      You certainly seem to be right about cats adopting humans. Especially here in South Africa, and in rural parts of the US (like where I grew up). Cats were always adopting themselves into my parents’ and grandparents’ households when I was growing up.

  • Reply Tenney September 23, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    I’m pretty sure BeeBee has two lives. Lisa Marie, the animal control lady, concurs.

    • Reply 2summers September 23, 2011 at 7:31 pm

      I do think there are lots of cats out there living dual lives. Makes perfect sense for an intelligent cat to do that.

  • Reply amblerangel September 24, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    I know you feel terrible but if it makes yiunfeel better- it’s very common…..cats are smart that way I guess.

  • Reply amblerangel September 24, 2011 at 2:09 pm

    That would be “you” not the back woods version “yuin”

    • Reply 2summers September 24, 2011 at 4:46 pm

      Thanks. I thought ‘yuin’ was maybe a Japanese word for ‘you’.

  • Reply Sophia September 25, 2011 at 3:54 am

    You can’t really stop a cat from going where it wishes. Cats move on if they want to. Cats in multiple pet homes often tend to leave them for homes where they will be a single pet. They want more from life, like peace and quiet and personal attention, especially when they get older. They don’t want to be picked on. Cats also don’t want to be outdoor cats. Outdoors is not safe place.

    Truth is, if the cat moved in with you, he’d probably still go back to the other house regularly, at least for a few months. But if he didn’t like the other place, he probably wouldn’t go back. That you have to withhold food to get him to return to his owner means you are having to force him back to a place he doesn’t want to be. It’s not a bad place, this other home, but it’s not right for him.

    I know lots of people who share a cat. The cat comes around for a few months, then disappears for a bit. Or maybe it just hang with one family weekends and the other week days. It’s the cat’s choice. My brother’s had a cat like this for years. No idea where it’s “real” family is. But it doesn’t matter. He puts food out. When she doesn’t show up for a week, he takes it in. When she turns up again, he puts it out.

    If a cat doesn’t go back, because he finally makes his choice, you gotta live with that. I know people whose cats have “left them.” The cats got tired of the “drama” and the other pets always being brought in and just left. They didn’t feel wanted. Their needs weren’t being met. Maybe they weren’t getting enough food. Who knows. Were my friends upset when they were “dumped” by their cat? Yeah. But I totally understood the cat’s point of view.

    I’d just put the food back out, it’s your yard you can do what you want. If the cat turns up, fine. If not, fine. The only reason I would stop feeding the cat or keep it out of the house was if there was a specific reason that would be bad for the cat, or any current pets you might have.

    You don’t want to lure a cat across a busy road, for instance. If the cat will be upsetting your current pets, it’s also a bad idea. But other than that, Ms M will just have to accept that she can’t give the cat all he needs all the time and be glad the cat found a good place to hang out.

    A cat is like a person. It goes where it wants. No one ever owns it. If Ms M thinks it won’t find someone else to go to, she’s mistaken. She at least knows who the cat is with! That’s a big plus.

    • Reply 2summers September 25, 2011 at 10:22 am

      Hi Sophia, thanks so much for the thoughtful comment. I think you’re right about many things here. The kitty’s other home is a multiple pet home and he seems to enjoy coming over here where he gets our undivided attention. Also, Joe and I both work from home so he can find us here any time of the day.

      It’s still very early to tell, but I think we MIGHT have worked out an arrangement that makes everyone happy. We just need to wait a few more days to see. Stay tuned for the next kitty post 🙂

  • Reply cult of otis September 26, 2011 at 12:07 am

    The Brothers and I are purring for a happy resolution to your difficult situation Squeak. Hang in there My feline brother.

    – Leader Otis

    • Reply 2summers September 26, 2011 at 8:51 am

      Thank you, Otis. I am honored to receive a comment, and purrs, from such a great leader of feline-kind.

      Regards,
      Smokey-Squeak

  • Reply cult of otis September 26, 2011 at 12:07 am

    The Brothers and I are purring for a happy resolution to your difficult situation Squeak. Hang in there My feline brother.

    – Leader Otis

    • Reply 2summers September 26, 2011 at 8:51 am

      Thank you, Otis. I am honored to receive a comment, and purrs, from such a great leader of feline-kind.

      Regards,
      Smokey-Squeak

  • Reply Caroline Hurry October 1, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    Heather, you should know that the choice is not yours, nor Mrs M’s. It is Squeak’s! A cat will ALWAYS make up its own mind where it wants to be and there is nothing “the owner” can do … Clearly this gorgeous kitty wants to be with YOU! I too have been adopted by a magnificent white cat who squared up to my three German Shepherds with a “make-my-day” expression! As I type she is still in my bed and it is lunchtime …. she had a busy night … caught a bird … my floor is covered in feathers. Like Squeak she has several names ….

    • Reply 2summers October 1, 2011 at 3:52 pm

      Thanks so much for the comment, Carrie. I think you’re right that Squeak wants to live here…so much so that he is peeing ALL OVER the house to ensure that no other animal attempts to invade his territory. We’re at our wits’ end! Stay tuned 🙁

  • Reply Caroline Hurry October 1, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    Heather, you should know that the choice is not yours, nor Mrs M’s. It is Squeak’s! A cat will ALWAYS make up its own mind where it wants to be and there is nothing “the owner” can do … Clearly this gorgeous kitty wants to be with YOU! I too have been adopted by a magnificent white cat who squared up to my three German Shepherds with a “make-my-day” expression! As I type she is still in my bed and it is lunchtime …. she had a busy night … caught a bird … my floor is covered in feathers. Like Squeak she has several names ….

    • Reply 2summers October 1, 2011 at 3:52 pm

      Thanks so much for the comment, Carrie. I think you’re right that Squeak wants to live here…so much so that he is peeing ALL OVER the house to ensure that no other animal attempts to invade his territory. We’re at our wits’ end! Stay tuned 🙁

  • Reply Kennedy April 17, 2017 at 10:53 am

    Awesome! Awesome! Well written article. Couldn’t stop reading it.

    • Reply 2summers April 18, 2017 at 3:44 am

      Thanks!

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