Vantage is quite the character. Has always been. There are a number of stories about him.
Any cat owner can relate to those. He might not be all that special after all, because most of all he’s a typical cat. He thinks the entire world was created for his pleasure and is the happiest when he can annoy someone, and leave white hairs on their dark clothes.
He came to Portugal to retire (like everyone else from north Europe). Quickly changed his daily pattern from killing 2 or 3 little animals a day (squirrels, moles, mice, birds) to one or two a year. Quite a change. He now wants to be served soft food from a can. Never the same two days in a row, and not the cheap stuff. He’s got classy taste. He will let me know, in a very loud voice, if I get it wrong. He only sleeps in places where he can leave a heap of white hairs or preferably in someone elses favourite spot. So, absolutely never in a designated basket or something equally ridiculous.
Vantage is a pure bred Bengal. He and his brother Vanquish (who died a few years back) were once on the cover of the Aston Martin magazine, since they were named after these luxury cars, and had the attitude. Don’t all cats just love to relax on the hood of a clean, expensive car?
Since a few months back, he would honour us less with his presence. I haven’t worried to much about it, because I know that he is familiar with the kitchen entrance of the hotel next door. And I figured that he might also have convinced any of the holiday rentals in the area that he is homeless and starving (for food and cuddles). And he drops by often enough for me to know that he’s still alive and in good health. But he started skipping meals, and at one point I even dreaded that he went off to die. He is after all of advanced age, and has shown some small signs of early dementia onset. Then he’d show up, like nothing ever happened, complaining that I serve salmon instead of turkey, or whatever he had in mind, and just walk back out again.
So, like I said, I haven’t worried too much. Cats are indenpendant creatures. And he was Peter’s cat after all, and since Peter passed away, he knows that the dog is my favourite pet, and that doesn’t really work for him. No piedestal – no show.
Today, the bell at my gate rang (yes, the new bell is installed!) and outside was a young man, who told me he recently moved in next door. And was wondering if this specific cat was mine. This young man had the answers to so many of my questions. And I probably had the answer to some of his. Vantage had made his way into his home and found his new favourite place in the world. This guy was happy to have him and even took him to the vet to check for microchip in search of the owner. We never registered the chip with the authorities, so he didn’t get any leads on that. But the cat trained him well, and even had him install a cat-flap, serve dinner and give cuddles.
Vantage sure knows how to get around. I was so relieved to know where he spends all his time when he’s not at home. It seems my new neighbor and I have a shared custody situation of a cat with a mind of his own.