My uncle and his wife were foster parents, from the time their first child was born until they adopted the last foster child and saw him married, a span of maybe 40 years, providing an endless stream of short term and long term care for kids who had been put in foster care for varying lengths of time. The kids were treated as their own, disciplined and loved, fed and clothed. When one of the boys decided he was going to 'escape' and took his sister with him, down over the second story porch roof and out, my uncle said, "damn fool, we never lock the door from the inside, all he has to do is walk out." He never expected gratitude, and Im not sure he knew he should. Many people in that situation would have demanded it.
I think we tend to make that same mistake with the animals who live with us. We somehow expect gratitude because it's our choice to house and feed them, keep them warm and safe and give them the affection they so obviously need. It's asking a lot of an animal. Not all animals respond, nor should they. For whatever reason, partly in their makeup and partly in their past, they respond forever as slightly feral creatures, unable to lay down that fear of the human.
Sammy has taken to staying out all night. The cat door is on what we call 'single trap' which means "one way--in only" every night. It's been cold this week, down near 30. I worry about hypothermia, and critters. But he seems to be getting further and further from me, rather than closer. This is the second night he's spent out there somewhere, and Im afraid one night he won't be back.