I may be jumping to a whole bunch of assumptions in this narrative. But hey. It'll conclude at some point.
Unit 1 in this complex of 6 units has 3 cats.
Cat one plucks up the courage to visit us. At this point, we think he belongs to Unit 2, inhabited by a dying old woman and her 24/7 nursing service.
He's very skittish, and bolts at the drop of a piece of paper. Seriously.
We have a 'don't feed the neighbours' pets' policy. If they visit, it's cos they like us, not cos we're bribing them with food.
But we started noticing that Skippy (or Skanky as he'll be known when we catnap him when Jen and I move in together) was VERY thin. Kinda feline AIDS thin. Or starving to death thin. And we noticed that he was drinking LOTS of water when he visited.
We know his name cos he has a collar with a bell and a name tag. At least one of his 'owners' loves him.
So Jen and I discussed it, and decided that we would offer him food, and see what happened.
What happened is that he wolfed down the food. The same way a starving dog wolfs down food. And then he drank half a bowl of water. Gulping it down.
We fed him outside the gate of Unit 2. But the lady of Unit 1 came out and asked us what we were doing. I gave her my theory that the dying lady might not be feeding him, and that he was so thin.
And she said, 'Actually, he's my cat, and he's always been this thin. Since the day we got him.' And she scooped him up, and took him inside.
He visited us again. And ate and drank just as much.
Then last night when we got home, Skippy ran up to greet us. Followed by a little cute cat. Followed by a badly limping gray cat. All with bells.
Followed by the woman. Without bells.
A bit of neighbourly pleasantry, and then we all went about our evening business.
But Jennifer and I were both wondering why that third cat was limping. Because there's a fourth cat in the complex. Bart and Anna's little sweet thang... Moyo.
He's part of the puzzle in a horrible way. When Bart moved into the complex about a year ago, Moyo came with. And within a few weeks was at the vet. With a gash up his stomach. The vet thought it was probably a rabbit kick from another cat. Fair enough.
But then... One evening Bart and Anna got home and found Moyo on the sofa. Whining. Hissing. Took him to the vet. Spent R3000 on an operation to fix the broken femur. A break that the vet said could only have been caused by two things. A car hitting the cat. Or someone kicking the cat very hard. Against a wall.
Which brings us back to last night. And the limping grey cat. Why was she limping?
We don't have an answer to that question. Instead, we have a more intense, more disturbing question.
The little cat... Whose name we found on her collar... KC. She came to eat when we called Skippy for his meal supplement. And she came up to us for the first time.
We were sitting outside, out on the driveway. Jennifer was petting her. And suddenly Jennifer jumped a metre, and let out a small scream. She said, 'Roy, feel this cat's tummy.'
I felt the cat's tummy. And I couldn't feel anything. I was about to ask Jennifer what I was feeling for. When I felt it.
A very sharp, long, bony thing. Floating around under the ribcage. A broken rib. No. Not quite correct. A rib that had been broken off. And has since healed. And is floating around inside this cat's body.
So Jennifer and I went back inside. And I spent an hour or two pacing around, making sure that I was absolutely not allowing myself to go outside. Rip the motherfucker's gate off its hinges. Bash my way through the door. And kick that woman's husband's ass straight into hell.
Cos it's definitely him. If those cats were hurt in that house, he's the dude who did it. And probably as a way of abusing his wife.
So the upshot of this is that Bart called the Animal Anti Cruelty League. And I called Friends of the Cat, and the SPCA.
Anti Cruelty popped round this morning. Left a note on their gate warning them to contact them within twenty-four hours.
Tomorrow the SPCA comes. They'll be examining the little cat for its broken rib. That's where things stand.