Updated: Feb 5
Dave and Darcy have decided to get a yard cat to help control the amount of mice in the field and to keep Dave company.
There is an animal shelter in the town just beyond their village that they raised money for last year, so they decide to visit one weekend. They call to arrange an appointment for a couple of weeks’ time.
When they get there, a friendly man comes over to say hello and show them around. They explain what they’re looking for and the man takes them to the cat pens. He briefly shows them the house cats before they get to the cats that are suitable for a yard.
“Most of these cats are feral, which means they wouldn’t live in your house. They are perfect for horse yards and farms, as they’re friendly but also very good at hunting. As long as you can give them a bit of food each day and a warm place to sleep, they’ll be happy.”
“There’s a little store room on the side of Dave’s shelter where a cat could sleep. We could put in a little cat flap so it can come and go,” Darcy suggests.
“That sounds perfect,” the man replies. “Would you like to meet some of them?”
“Yes please!” they both say.
There are three cats in the first pen. One of them is very nervous and hides in the back, but the other two are friendly and come to say hello.
“Aww look at this one, Dave, it has a little heart-shaped mark in its fur. And that one has three white socks like you!”
They continue looking at all the cats, cuddling and petting them.
“How are we going to choose, Dave? They’re all so cute!” Darcy asks.
“Why don’t we go for the one that has been here the longest?” Dave replies.
“That’s a great idea, Dave. Let’s go and ask the man.”
The man comes over and the pair tell him they’d like to give a home to the cat that has been in the shelter the longest. He smiles and walks over to the last pen on the right.
He points to a small black cat curled up at the back and says, “this is Bandit. He has been with us for 10 months and sadly not many people have been interested in adopting him.”
“Why does nobody want him?” Dave asks.
“Some people are superstitious and think black cats bring bad luck, and others don’t like the scar on his face. Feral cats often get into fights and Bandit had a nasty cut across his face when he came to us. It’s fully healed now but has left a rather large scar.”
“I think that’s silly,” Darcy says. “A cat can’t be bad luck just because of the colour of its fur. I think we should take him!”
“Me too!” Dave grins.
After spending some time with Bandit, they fill in an application form and arrange for someone to do a home visit to make sure they’re happy with Dave’s field.
A lady visits them 10 days later and approves the field, so they return to the shelter the next weekend to pick up Bandit. They get a bag of biscuits for him and a couple of bowls for his food and water.
When they get to the field, they put the cat basket on the grass and gently open the door. Bandit is a bit unsure, so he stays in the basket. Dave and Darcy walk away and give him space, then he finally tiptoes out.
They leave him to get used to his new home for a few hours.
When Dave and Darcy come back later, they check in the store room to see where Bandit is. His food bowl is empty but Bandit is nowhere to be seen.
They start calling him and looking around the field, but they can’t find him. They’re about to give up when Dave decides to look in his shelter. There, curled up in a ball in the back corner in Dave’s pile of hay, is little Bandit.
He hears them as they walk over and lifts his head to meow “hello”. Darcy gives him a scratch behind his ears and says she’ll see him in the morning.
“No partying tonight, boys!” she teases as she turns to walk across the field towards home.
When she wanders back round in the morning, she finds Dave led down in his shelter with Bandit curled up on his back snoring gently.
“I think he’s going to be very happy here,” Darcy whispers to herself and smiles.
If you liked this story, you’ll love the Dave and Darcy picture book series, which you can purchase here.