To give a bit of context, my community as a whole has had issues for years with a feral cat population. They never bothered me, they lived in the common areas of the community and were just part of the character of the neighborhood. One of my nice neighbors actually made it her mission to collect as many of the feral kittens as she could, civilize them, spay/neuter, and find them homes. She did this on her own time and her own dime, and it was a noble effort. Until one day when all the cats abruptly disappeared. Some heartless asshole from my condo community called county animal control, and in a few days all the cats were rounded up and, most likely, euthanized. That was a year or two ago, and we haven't had cats since.
Until the last few weeks, when a skinny young black and white cat appeared, mostly black with a white blaze chest and white paws. A handsome cat, though scrawny and skittish. I saw it around the building at the end of the block, but thought it was someone's pet. No collar, but that means nothing with cats, of course. So I didn't think anything of it, I just said "Hi Kitty!" and other pleasantries when we passed.
About a week ago, it was across the street in the neighbor's yard while I walked Sophie. I said the usual "Hi kitty!" and it looked at me with great interest, so I made the universal cat sound: I made kissy noises. The cat moved a bit closer but stayed well on the other side of the street. I said "Goodnight kitty!" and Sophie and I went up the stairs. My condo building is six units around a center courtyard. My stairs are behind the garage, which faces the street, and they curve up around a landing to a deep front balcony with a stucco wall. To get to my front door you walk down a sidewalk to the central courtyard, turn, and climb the stairs, my door doesn't face directly at the street. I opened the door, Sophie and I went inside, and as I turned to shut the door I saw a little black face peeking at me around the top of the stairs. He'd followed us up the stairs. Feral cat? I don't think so.
I put Sophie inside and went out again alone, and the cat panicked and ran - but not too far. He retreated down the stairs to the courtyard. I offered him a few bites of Sophie's cooked chicken, and he wouldn't come near me to eat it, but did approach after I went back up the stairs. Then he followed me up the stairs again, staying at the edge of the balcony. I said goodnight.
I didn't see him again for a few days when, late the other afternoon and again while I was walking Sophie, he came shooting out of the neighbors' courtyard a few buildings up the street, followed by one of my retiree neighbors. She thought he was feral and was chasing him away. I said I'd never seen a feral cat that came running to a kissy noise, and her tone changed immediately to sympathy for the cat. It appears that this cat was left behind when someone moved, or something! So I'm hoping she will put the word out among the neighbors that the cat should be pitied, not chased with a broom, because it may take me a while to do anything about this situation.
This situation, as I am calling it, came to a head last night, when I walked Sophie again around 11 pm, and the cat this time followed us home as if he lives here. I fed him a snack again, this time on the front balcony, but didn't do anything else to make him comfortable, because I really am not trying to adopt him. I'm not a cat person. I like cats, I don't dislike them in any way, but I don't really have any urge to have one. I'm also not sure Sophie would tolerate it, and not sure how the cat would act around a dog, and...no, I just don't need this! So I gave him a few bites of food out of kindness, and peeked out a minute later to see he was sleeping on the door mat. He was there again this morning. He retreated when I took Sophie out (and she was very excited to see him, but not in a crazed, aggressive way) and watched her from about 15 feet away, then followed us right back up the stairs. He has assumed the breadloaf position on the front balcony as I type this, patiently waiting for me to open the door again. It appears that I have a cat. I have no idea what to do about it yet.