Tomcats

My neighbor's been trying to rehabilitate a feral cat. Francis, or Francis, named for the saint, this skinny cat arrived a few weeks back, white with pale marmalade patches. No one could get close enough to determine the gender, hence, a name that would serve in either eventuality.
She was able to trap Francis, as he turned out to be, and take him to the vet for vaccinations and neutering. He complained loudly from the screened porch that afternoon, his usual interrogatives turned to outrage.
The main character in Blood Clay, Tracey, is engaged in rehabilitating a passel of cats abandoned by earlier occupants of her farmhouse. It's not an easy task, and I'll leave it to the novel to show how well she does in it. But I will say that Garland, who has the largest "walk-on" part from the cat world, is modeled closely on a great old tomcat from my youth.
I had some wonderful cat friends - Heckle and Jeckle, Goldie, Tiger. Boogie was special, though. He was a big black-and-white cat, very affectionate, who seemed to roll more than run, and had a white "towel" that sashayed across his backside when he walked.  
The day I left home for college, he disappeared. Did he die of old age? Get killed in the road? Fall sick, or fall prey?
Many months later, when I was home for a while, I was standing outside talking with my parents when I heard a familiar yowl. I called back.
The yowls moved closer, and then Boogie - complaining all the while - came out of the meadow and made his way to the house. He didn't run. He walked with dignity and affronted pride. I was allowed to greet him, but there was a coldness there that would never go away. He became my sister's cat, and lived for many more years.
My abandonment, and his image, returned as I worked on the novel.
Pace, Boogie.

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