When our sister left Yorkshire and returned to her own house it was to find, as Jim Perrin had told her in a telephone call, that one of her cats (the most timid) was still missing. It was only when she was back in Wales that he described to her the night on which this cat had disappeared — never to return.
Jim Perrin confessed that there had been the most terrible sound outside his caravan: really wild ‘screaming’ as of perhaps, a cat fight. We thought this unlikely as Jac’s cats generally lived in harmony — apart from the occasional short spat — and certainly fighting was not known among them; but we wondered, and said so to Jim Perrin, if ‘Moon-cat’ might have been carried off by a fox, so dreadful were the sounds that he had heard and described to us.
She never did re-appear and there was no physical evidence of a fight, such as tufts of fur in the grass: she was not inclined to roam and had never before stayed away. However, on reading the account in his book West of how he actively encouraged a fox by regularly feeding it (ref. p.220. ‘A fox walked up and sat outside the caravan door, waiting for scraps.’) we feel that our suspicions were well-founded.
The loss of ‘Moon-cat’ caused Jac real distress and her fear for the other cats preyed on her mind; we felt virtually certain that it was this fox that took ‘Moon-cat’ that night. Foxes are known to be the top predator of domestic cats and the quite thoughtless irresponsibility shown by Jim Perrin in encouraging this one when so many beloved pet cats in that household could be vulnerable had, we believe, as did Jac — tragic consequences.