His name was Payne and he lived next door to us at our previous home. I can’t say for sure, but I’m betting this picture was probably taken in ’94ish. Funny little guy, Payne.
His owners brought he and his brother (Weber) home and as the cats grew older, they began to roam a bit. Not far, I don’t think, just house-to-house, exploring things and learning the lay of the land. Back then, I used to get up ~4:30 most days and either head off for a bike ride or rollerblade in the dark – helmet / light on my head and off I went. Being an indoor / outdoor cat, I’d often see Payne as I headed out and when I returned home… usually waiting by the garage door, apparently waiting to say “hi” while I was coming or going.
Then one day when I was at the grocery store picking up dog goodies for Daphne (her regular food + treats), I broke down and bought a pack of cat treats FOR THE NEIGHBOR’S CAT – what was I thinking, I’m not a cat guy! So the next time I saw Payne, out came the goodies and we were both hooked. From that point forward, Payne was “my special friend”.
He’d greet me each morning, have a goodie and watch me ride off into the darkness. When I returned home, then showered and readied for work, Payne would patiently wait out on the sidewalk (where you see him here) and before I knew it, he was getting two rounds of goodies in the morning. And then he started showing up when I returned home from work each day – “Hey, the lunch wagon just pulled in!” – in fact, sometimes as I drove up, he’d come running down the sidewalk at full speed to make sure I knew he was my new best friend. Yup, we were special buds 😉
Then one day, probably a Saturday or Sunday when I was around for more than a minute or two after giving him his morning goodies (“Hal, Payne’s out front waiting for his treats”), I noticed that not long after he ate the goodies I gave him, he headed over to Bob and Mary’s and waited on their doorstep. After they’d fed him, he ambled (too full to run, I guess) over to Al’s and Al would repeat the process. At the end of each day, as each homeowner returned home from work, Payne repeated the process and called it a day. Four houses and three of us were feeding him morning, noon and night.
What a pimp!
But he was our pimp and we loved him for being him 🙂 As I remember Payne, he wasn’t really a vocal cat, but he was friendly and liked being conversed with. I can’t recall him ever setting in my lap and he only came in to our house on a couple of occasions… Daphne was cautious of him and it was pretty clear I didn’t like cats… yeah, that was clear 😉
Unfortunately, there was a neighborhood raccoon that was eating Payne and Weber’s food in their garage. Apparently one night there was a confrontation with the raccoon, Weber was seriously injured and Payne was never seen again. I always surmised that Payne was injured and crawled away somewhere and died. A very sad ending for a wonderful little guy — the very reason our cats have always been housecats: indoor / outdoor cats have a significantly shorter and more violence & injury-prone lives than indoor-only cats.
It’s been many years since we’ve seen Payne, so it’s with great pleasure that I discovered this photo and share it with you.