Well, I'd put out water right away on the front porch. But offhand, I don't see a way to know if anybody is drinking it. Just before dark, I put out a little cooked hamburger. I checked ~90 minutes later and it was gone. So I put a little on the back porch. It was still there at 4am (I happened to awake and so I went downstairs to look). But gone in the morning. There's an orange cat that's been around, too; that one stays away.
"It's likely (because he walked up to you so openly) that he has been watching you for a few days and has decided you are OK. Congratulations on passing muster!"
Really?!? That is too cool. There are lots of shrubs around that it could be under at any time.
"if the little one is truly thin"
I'll see if I can get a picture, prbly taken from above being the best angle.
"If you're in a neighborhood"
Yes, but with small patches of wild nearby.
"Cats can be fed up on a table"
Aha, now obvious in retrospect. Woodchucks can climb trees, but not jump up as far as I know.
"I've owned cats that would tear the doorjamb off in their desperation to get out at night, so they basically got to have what they wanted at the risk of their lives."
That sounds wise.
I made a Journal post to bookmark all of this, on the stray chance that I some day come across anybody who could use your valuable info:
More to the mix.
I was cutting hedges just now and looked to my left. About 30 feet away was the orange cat, staring at me, and it was poised as if stopped mid-stride. I thought the clattering of the hedge clippers might make it feel on edge. But only when I turned the electric clippers off and yet stood still, that's when the cat ran away. Go figure.
Twice in years past I'd bought dry cat food for different 'strays', but they hardly ever touched it. Once in winter I did set up a box with towels inside for warmth. I even fashioned a kind of flap door. But they never even tried to check it out. That's why I'm reluctant about those two things.
Thanks again. Yes, being recently abandoned might explain being not-skinny yet hungry, and also being parched. Or they are just ornery. I'll check to see if there's such a thing as Charm School for Cats.
But then, if they are both strays who need water but are otherwise getting fed, why do they not take the food overnight? That could be because they are really house cats who get let out to roam during the day. Then why would they need my water?
Well the plot thickens. I'll try to be brief.
An hour after I discovered the egg hadn't been eaten overnight, I saw it being eaten in real time - by an orange cat, not by 'my' 'stray' black cat.
Later, I actually went and bought some chicken for us all to have, but what I put out at dusk was still there in the morning. But then it disappeared shortly after.
The mailman saw the black cat again yesterday, and said it didn't look particularly skinny. As for the orange cat, it was not shiny; to me it looked rather well fed and muscular. (I'll note that it ate every bit of egg, then actually licked the plate repeatedly, then got the little bits that had fallen to the side. It ate like a dog does, but again it did not look starved at all.)
I also saw the orange cat drinking water from the bowl I'd put out. Not just a quick few laps, but what seemed like a lot of water to me.
So here's my current theory, which fits what you'd said.
"If a cat comes up and announces himself like that with many plaintive meows, he is not just being casual, he does want help."
I'm thinking they need water, but don't need food - while still eating it because it's there. Maybe some one or more persons are feeding them but don't put out water? In years past, when I'd put out food for strays, I didn't put out water because I didn't figure they'd need me to do that.
We do have a drought here now.
What do you think, Annie?
Surprisingly, the egg is still there.
This naming is difficult business. I'll have to let the cat give me a clue.
What does Agadashi mean? Sounds Japanese.
'But, "Lynyrd, come get dinnered!" works.'
Sure does. I missed that the first time, being distracted.
'No matter how one pronounces Lynard, around these parts, Lynyrd from the band rhymes with dinnered.) lol'
Yep. And it's catchy, too. You have bested me on the banter. That's stuck in my head now :)
The cat has not come for its egg platter yet.
"Was this a trick question? :-) "
Well, it didn't start out that way, but it somehow ended up that way :)
"Any chance Little Britches is hanging out under your porch?"
Ohhhhhhhhh, you are so smart. The evil woodchuck digs under the front porch, but the back steps have room underneath. That could be a way station. Since I'd met the cat at 2pm yesterday, do you think it splits its 6 hours of awake time into some at night and some in the afternoon.
I'll tell the cat your two name suggestions, and see if it lights up on any of them.
"Not familiar with Lynard, is it a first name? If so, leopard?"
Since you'd said you had lived in the country, I thought you might know of the band Lynyrd Skynard, especially the song "Simple Man". (It's Southern Rock, not Country per se.)
But I ruined it by misspelling as Lynard. Maybe you knew 'Lynyrd' and so didn't connect Lynard.
Oh boy, I wonder if this means I should name the cat Lynyrd. "Come here, Lynyrd. Get your rice and beef broth, I made enough for two." Nahhh, that name doesn't work.
"If you liked vertebra, you'd be pleased to hear me use datum."
Well now, try this: name a word that rhymes with "Lynard". :)
"Bring the hamburger in and give it the old heave ho if it's been out for a number of hours"
Too late, it disappeared. Now I have some egg out there. I'll check in 2 hours or so. It's fun solving this.
I talked to a cat owner up the street, she said that yesterday her cat went to the open door, took a sniff of the smoke and wouldn't go out. The news was ranting about how bad NYC was in its air quality index of 350, much worse than normal bad of 250. My little town had 405. I went for a stroll and it was no big deal for me.