I have seen Big Ginger again, and he is definitely Ginger's big brother. A taller, sleeker, more stripedy-tailed version of Ginger. I saw them together, hanging around one morning just recently (he's had a low profile recently), and realised my mistake.
Bagpuss is fluffy and has a cute fat face, and he has many stripes. Like Bagpuss.
Big Ginger is ... Ginger's Big Brother. Truly, he's not really interested in my house, or me. Fair enough. I think he likes to check out what his little brother is doing from time to time. As I said earlier, he has deigned to let me stroke him once or twice. But otherwise, he's not really bothered. He is curious enough to have a look, though.
That's him. He's quite elusive, and I've never managed to get a good shot of him. You could easily mistake him for Ginger, if you didn't see them together. The tail is a give away (more stripes), and the fact that if I see him out there, and he doesn't come running up to me with a big old meow asking for love, well then, that's Big Brother. Or if I see him out there, wandering around, and I know Ginger is inside, most likely asleep on the bed, I know it's BG, otherwise I might mistake them.
Let me start from the beginning. Back in February, one evening, we were sitting watching a film. The back door was open, as it was more temperate that month. I glanced down the hallway from my chair, and nearly fell out of it when I saw two ginger cats. By the time I got up to investigate he had bolted, the other one, but I'm certain now that was BG. I know his "profile".
Fast forward to a time a few weeks later, when we had this situation.
At this point we assumed this was BG, and that not having many close-ups with him, I mistook him from afar as being more sleek. You can see the difference in the fur; Ginger is silky smooth, and Bagpuss is kind of ruffly. I also assumed because Ginger wasn't minding, too much, that this other cat is eating his food, well, it must be his brother.
Wrong. And I still don't know where Bagpuss comes from.
Bagpuss is a complete opportunist and has been around several times since.
One morning, however, when he had come in and scarfed all the food in the dish (Ginger's leavings, to be honest - he has become a bit finicky about his food and goes through phases of liking and not liking) he went further inside, and - horror! - he sprayed. This is another reason I thought he was BG, because that one goes around spraying in the garden left right and centre, like it's his territory, when of course really it belongs to Ginger. No, actually it belongs to us! Well, as much as it can with a bunch of cats around.
Now this was well out of order. This is completely unacceptable in the house! It smelled, too - Ginger has tried it a couple of times himself since, re-staking his claim I guess. I have come to learn that cats, and their spray, smell differently. Thankfully Ginger is not quite as stinky as Bagpuss, although I seriously try to discourage Ginger from doing so, as much as I can. If I raise my voice he runs out and I don't want him to feel unwelcome, so it's a fine line.
The upshot of this situation is, we were relieved when I realised Bagpuss was not Big Ginger, because we didn't want to steal both of their cats! But in the meantime, I have let Ginger deal with the Bagpuss situation, as I feel it's only right - this is, after all, Ginger's (other) house, and it's up to him who comes in or not. Ginger has chased Bagpuss out on several occasions now, and I don't feel obliged to interfere. Also I've learned to shut the door a bit more often (but what about the summer? What if we install that cat flap?). Still, Bagpuss was in tonight, chowing down again. Am I a cat magnet, or do I just give good food?
Cats raise questions ...
But who can resist them?