My best friend, Widdle (4)

Between approximately 2007-2010, our family had a completely wild fox as a friend. When Widdle came to you like this, you knew that he had only one thought on his mind. Sausages!!

These are the brand he preferred. We used to buy them at a frozen food supermarket called Iceland. We wanted a cheap, but nourishing, sausage for our furry friend, so we looked round most of the butcher-type shops in our suburb of Nottingham and finally made the decision to buy at Iceland where the budget sausages were 42% meat, easily the highest percentage in the world for the budget sausage. Dog food was even more unbelievable. All of the cheaper ones I looked at were full of “ash”. I’d really like to know why!

And what type of ash was it, that was included in so many dogfoods? Surely not the ashes of former dog owners? :

Sometimes Widdle was extremely polite, putting a fore-paw on each knee, showing you his pale brown eyes, and staring with a mixture of wistfulness and plain hunger:

On other occasions, he was a lot more forthright, explaining with his pointy teeth, that he was pressed for time, so could you crack on with it, please? After all, we both know how it’s going to end:

I wasn’t the only person who could feed him, but that perfect lunge was always his favourite method. Keep still and you were perfectly safe:

On occasion he was over excited and perhaps got some sausage stuck on his teeth. He would always want to clean it off straightaway:

He made several trips back to “The Den” to feed the family. On his last trip, the sausage or sausages were always for him, and he would get over excited and lick his lips in anticipation:

He was happy enough to eat leftovers. Here he has the carcass of a chicken, I think it is. Just look how, in this view, the early stages of his moult are easily visible:

This next picture comes seconds after the previous one. It catches Widdle in a strange pose. He has just heard a noise behind him and looks over to where the noise has come from. The angle makes it look as if he is being aggressive and snarling. But he isn’t. In actual fact, I never heard him make any noise of any kind. That pointy, sharp tooth is there though:

The noise came from next door’s cat, an old bruiser called Yin-Yang.  He was taken, as far as I know, as a young kitten, from a feral cat’s nest and brought up in a normal home. People always seem to think that foxes eat cats but Widdle and Yin-Yang didn’t ever take any notice of each other. Foxes are always extremely wary of a cat’s claws and the possibility of losing an eye in any fight with one.

Anyway, here they are, both sharing the same bits of the same chicken. Yin-Yang lived to be around seventeen or eighteen years old. He died in my daughter’s arms after some macho hero deliberately drove his car over him in front of our house. Yin-Yang was deaf, so he didn’t hear the car horn.




Filed under Humour, Nottingham, Personal, Widdle, Wildlife and Nature

22 responses to “My best friend, Widdle (4)

  1. Thanks, John, for the photographs accompanying this post. I was saddened, though, to learn the cause of Yin-Yangs’ demise. I have never understood peoples’ cruelty to cats.

  2. GP

    I remember your story of Widdle. I have often made friends with wildlife and been called crazy because of it, but I’ve never been hurt.
    Too bad the cat’s murderer wasn’t punished for his sociopathic behavior!

    • I think that most wildlife will return to you the same behaviour that you show to it. Only certain breeds of dog created bu Man will be nasty, presumably because they are bred to fight.
      It was a pity that the person who killed Yin-Yang didn’t suffer any punushment.
      Even more worrying is the fact that according to psychological profilers, there is a well trodden path which frequently begins with cruelty to animals.
      So, a serious offender against women quite probably started off with cruelty to animals or other children, then minor sexual attacks on children or women, and then continues with a trail that can become extremely serious, ending up with rape or even murder.
      Obviously, not every person who kills a cat will become a murderer, but most rapists and murderers will have started out with that kind of pathetic activity.

  3. Chris Waller

    I am amazed that a wild animal would be so trusting of a human being. I daresay the lure of sausage may have something to do with it. I am even more amazed that he and the cat were quite comfortable in each other’s presence.

    • Hello Chris!
      Widdle did seem to be a special kind of animal. His vixen and his cubs would do nothing as stupid as mix with the nasty humans, but Widdle himself trusted people so long as he had no reason not to.
      We think that perhaps he had been taken into care by an animal hospital (or similar) at some point and that this was the reason for his atypical behaviour, but we will never know now.

  4. Oh, John. You got my heart completely captured with this post. Good question by the way regarding ash in dog food. The journey I’ve been on with food, GOOD food for my cats is still ongoing today. What is in pet food is absolutely disgusting and toxic!

    Thank you for befriending a fox. Amazing story, one I’m so glad you shared. These animals KNOW who they can trust. As for the cat, I can attest that our family fox has befriended one of the barn cats. And as for Yin-Yan’s demise, I felt tears in my eyes. Too many times I’ve picked up those who I love on the streets due to a careless driver. In my world, I consider that murder.

    • And I would agree with you, Amy. I would call it murder, too, whether it’s a pet, a wild animal or a human being.
      One idea I was once told about the ash in dog food was that it was included as a fibre substitute, because dogs should not be eating 100% meat. In the wild, they would eat their prey’s skin, fur and so on, but when their food comes in cans, they don’t have access to any fibre at all.
      Whether that is true or not I do not know, but it’s certainly a road that I personally do not really want to go down !!!

      • Honestly, I don’t believe much of what the “experts” say anymore. I rely on my discernment and when something feels off, I avoid it. It’s been a very long road finding good food for my pet family, one I’m still on.

  5. I enjoyed hearing more of Widdle’s story 🙂

    • I’m glad you liked it, Rosaliene. Widdle continues to fascinate people!
      Years ago, teaching French, I even used him to teach classes of younger pupils, asking them how many cubs did he have, or what colour he was, was he small or big etc. It certainly went down very well with the younger ones, who were well aware that Widdle was a real person, who even had his own Facebook page as “Widdle Fox”. It’s still there if you’re interested.

  6. What lovely photos John. It’s so nice to see a fox, but the moulting process makes them look so ‘scruffy’. Its delightful that he got on with (or at least tolerated) Yin-Yang, we humans could learn so much from nature’s beasts.

    • That is one of the great truths that most humans, I’m afraid, find almost laughable as an idea. The concept that an animal or bird may have things to teach us, us the wonderful humans, and that there may be some things where his knowledge exceeds our own.
      I feed the garden birds, all day and every day, and every time I go out, they seem to be waiting for me, and I’d swear that they even start telling me their gossip. What a pity that I don’t speak Robin or Blue Tit!!

  7. Amazing. I think you can buy some speciality cheese which contains a strip of ash. I tried it once. only once.

  8. Well what great posts and pictures. Many years ago my son was driving out west [in Australia] and stopped to let his dog out for a ‘widdle’ [sorry I had to say that] . Some hoon drove off the road to deliberately hit the dog. It was my son’s 21st birthday. We have rotten people here in Oz too.

    • What a dreadful thing to do. I really cannot imagine a worse thing to do than that. Why should anybody think that an animal, and clearly a pet, should not have the right to their life?

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