RAFER THE TOM was one of that strange, gray, nondescript, unpublicized breed of cat that just appears in a neighborhood. Everyone assumes he belongs to someone else--some new neighbor somewhere. Probably.
The truth about this aggressive tom was just the opposite. Rafer was a free-lance cat. He belonged to no one. He made his living by raiding the food bowls of cats who were owned--soft cats, cats grown fat and pusillanimous from the kept life--and he ruled the realm with 30 gleaming teeth and 18 nasty claws. He yowled louder, fought harder, sprayed farther and reigned longer than any other cat in memory hereabouts. But the reason was not size, nor skill nor coordination, because he was ordinary in all ways except one: innate temperament. The determination of the tomcat is relentless.
This became clear from the way Rafer whipped old Zero, the previous lord of the territory, and drove him into exile. Those first few fights were actually draws; Zero, in fact, probably had the best of it. But Rafer got up and came back. Once, twice, three times--he just wouldn't give up. The battles raged for several months. It could be early morning, late afternoon, midnight, noon--and Rafer kept coming. His only reason for being was to follow Zero, hound him, dog him (the foulest things one cat could do to another), make him dread the sight of his foe.