Max in his new digs in the shop:
So now the question is--what to do with him? I will give him a week or two in the cage to catch up on his eating and sleeping and generally de-stress. Then we plan to introduce him into the shop addition--an area where he will have no rivals and lots of room to patrol. That was our original thought when we first let Max outside.: that he could have free run of the outdoors and have the shop addition for shelter and warmth. In the hope that Max would eventually return, Denny installed a pet flap last month in the wall beside the man-door. But I think we will keep the flap blocked off until Max has had the chance to adjust to his surroundings and the weather gets milder.
All that is in the future.
As to where he's been and what he's been doing, Max remains mum. I know he wasn't two-timing us with a second family because surely someone would have noticed his collar maladjustment and come to his aid. So he has been subsistence hunting since July, perhaps supplemented with the dry cat food I kept available in the shop addition. I know he and Amber's kitty, the fluffy red guy from across the block, disputed the ownership of our lot because we heard the sounds of cats squabbling in the night occasionally during August, then less frequently. Then all we ever saw was the red kitty.
Cold and hunger must have driven Max back to brave his rival. I had heard the sounds of a cat argument Monday morning but when I ran outside to the shop addition and called, no one came running. Still, I just had a feeling--or a hope--that Max would remember where he was sheltered last winter and come back to us.