At some point I accepted that I'd been abandoned. There were people around but I was afraid of them. Sometimes they'd talk to me. I always ran away - usually into the storm drain. I heard one of the neighborhood ladies call me the "sewer cat". I guess that's easier to say than "storm drain cat".
I'm a good hunter. There was a man in the neighborhood that really admired my hunting skills. And he is a big-game hunter himself. He's even hunted in Africa! He said he loved to watch me from his window while I hunted for chip monks and lizards. But I would have rather he fed me. I did find food at one house pretty often. There was a dog there named Daisy. She had a food bowl outside. I would go see if there was anything in there when she was in the house. She didn't like seeing me eat her food. I heard her barking and whining while I ate. I think the lady of the house knew I was there. Maybe she didn't mind.
One day I noticed a new puppy at one of the houses in the neighborhood. She reminded me of a puppy I once knew. I started hanging around that house so I could see her. Her owner tried to get me to come to her, but I was afraid. I did let the puppy near me, though. I liked her. We became friends and the people in the house started feeding me. First they would throw me something from the grill or bring leftovers out from dinner. Then they started leaving food out on the deck for me. Sometimes the raccoons would come and eat it. I was scared of those things so I stayed out of the way.
One day the lady of the house caught me and took me to the vet. She told me it was for my own good and the good of Ginger (the puppy). You see, Alabama has a problem with rabies in the raccoons. And I saw those creatures every night! So I got my shots, learned I'd already been neutered (thank goodness I don't remember that day!), and officially became part of the family. I still stayed outside. I hung out with Ginger on the deck, kept the squirrel and lizard populations down, and started to trust the people in the house - a little.
Everything was going along well when the family got another dog. She was not as calm about me as Ginger and I was a little afraid of her. Then the lady of the house caught me again and put me in the bathroom! That was strange. Next thing I knew, everything in the house got loaded up on a truck, I got put in a kennel in the car, and we drove for 8 or more hours to a place called Illinois.
I spent about a year in the basement of my new house. The people tried to get me to come out. They were very patient. They came down and visited with me and tried to coax me out. One day I got brave enough to go upstairs. I found a great spot under a bed in the master bedroom. That's where I spend most of my time now. I still like to go down to the basement. And I've found that when the kids are gone during the day, I can sit on the steps and look out the front windows.
And now I sleep in the bed. Barb (that's the lady of the house) doesn't mind, although she'd rather I not wake her up during the night. As soon as the man gets out of the bed, Ginger will join us.