This is Rosemary.  She was living in the parking lot of a shopping center before a good Sam brought her to us. Looks contented here? She seemed to love her new home with us: greeted all comers, got along fine with the other cats, NO PROBLEMS! She is not a young cat, and stayed pretty much in the house in the yard, until she didn’t. Rosemary started leaving for a few days at a time, coming back, staying for a few weeks then…off again. She was found on the street above us, several times, no, many times, after her disappearances. Brought her back, stayed till next time.  After months of this, she growled when I came to get her, almost bit me, and left immediately after she got home. Well! Fortunately, the folks who had been looking out for her welcomed her, and long story short, she now lives at the corner of Felix and Bernhard. the family there has been coaxing her into the house, introducing her to their dogs…but still she stays out most of the time.  It is not for us to know.

And this is (or was) our man Marlowe! He was found as a little kitten on our street (unusual, most cats around our home are fixed).  Marlowe grew into the most handsome, perfectly formed, loving cat ON the planet.  We worshipped him, and believed that he worshipped us. He’s now with a couple on Bernhard, who won’t even let him into their house! At least the woman won’t; a cultural thing. But they do love him and care for him, and stay in touch. He has come back a few times, but not lately. Took us down a peg or two.

​Aaaand…Penelope! We got a call from a neighbor; the caller had our cat Penelope. Thank goodness for the chip! The woman had known that any vet will scan an animal for free…I’ve had several returned via the chip reading! She wasn’t far from our home, maybe 1.4 mile. She had been there for some time, while we searched for her. This was years back; I don’t remember if I brought her “home” or not. But she has been living happily with her new caretaker. The woman buys food from us, which makes me very happy. And will keep Penny healthy.

Not “our” Janey…
This little one came home with me from the shelter. Had gone to pick up another, and saw Janey in the window on my way in. I didn’t foresee anyone choosing her: she was older, her coat was bad, and she seemed depressed. Bless her heart!! She broke my heart. Took her ass HOME! Janey turned out to be a love, a quiet little woman, sweet and seemingly content. She kept to a very regular schedule, to the minute actually. 
We were surprised when she started staying across the street, more and more, with our friend Connie.  Connie was happy to have her, being a cat lady herself. Janey established a routine there too. One time she went missing, and I found her sitting on the sidewalk, on a busy street. I picked her up and took her back to Connie. Not long after, she left for the home of another neighbor, up the street! Also a friend, happily.  Janey stayed outdoors, under the steps (??) until she moved on from there. My friend thought that the dog bothered her.  She went back to Connie’s, and the next time she disappeared we could not find her.  Restless soul. I guess.
There are lots of stories like these.  There’s the one of a gathering (‘member those?) when five families at the party thought the cat there was “their cat”.

What I’m getting at is that, no news to some, cats have their own ideas about where and how they want to live. I think it’s rare that they would choose to be in one house for their whole life. I think too that they deserve to have the choice.

Read more on this topic