We like pets in our house but we don't have any because we can't commit to looking after them properly. But the last few weeks, someone else's cat has worked its way into our family. It is a lithe, beautiful medium-brown/stone coloured female maybe one or two years old with alternate light/dark paws and a white-tipped tail. It has a great, slightly timid, friendly-but-not-pushy personality. The kids love it, mrs rocket feeds it scraps of roast chicken and it stands between me and the bike when I am kneeling down to lube the chain, its face level with mine. It's there, looking up at me like the cat in Shrek, when I open the door in the morning and it prowls around our garden in the evening; it sits on the window sill and watches us watching TV.
At the moment it is all the good without the bad - a free pedigree pet (kindof), no visits to the vet, no cattery bills - but I know what we are doing is wrong and the cat belongs to someone else.
So my question is, do cats have any sense being 'owned'? Is the cat simply using us to supplement its already comfortable lifestyle or is it looking for a new home?