The other day on sunny afternoon I walked past the kitty’s room and did a double take. Nothing amiss. Domino napping in his favorite wicker chair. The same ones I’d place on the porch (his former home) every summer. It suddenly occurred to me how far he’d come in under a year.
I have no photos of his arrival on the porch in 2006 but found this one from 2008, before he lost part of his left ear. I’d forgotten how light his coat was.
This is as kittenish as Domino ever was. I can’t imagine the horrors of his early kittenhood when he showed up, a huge head on a body of bones. I intuitively knew there was a woman with a broom who shooed him away as a gawky teen. Even now, when I move about too quickly in the house or raise my voice in anger (never at the cats), he bolts.
Cats unlike dogs don’t come licking and wagging their trusting tails when they’ve been kicked in the teeth. Our first order of business was to put meat on his bones and provide a place to lay them. Before long, Domino adjusted to the life of enjoying the perks of indoor kitty life while refusing to come indoors.
The reality of living outdoors on even the most comfortable porch was the weather. Domino had an electric heating pad under a blanket and shearling coat nest, but still there were many miserable days and nights.
We’d try everything to trap him and get him neutered but he eluded every trick. The sheer stamina and will to live on his own terms brought nothing but respect and awe. It took one too many battles to finally catch him and our Mobile vet Dr. G. did the nip and tuck. It helped but he still wasn’t ready to come in!
Domino endured many bloody battles. Note his missing ear tip. Had he not received antibiotics on numerous occasions he’d have met the fate of most ferals: a brutal short life of misery.
He almost came in three years ago but the call of the wild was louder.
Gradually Domino became friends with Merlin. Coco never warmed up to him. But then, Coco died, Odin and Gris Gris arrived and new friendships flourished. I credit Odin with having the greatest influence for coming indoors. Domino used to wander in the the garden meowing a mournful meow to no one. Finally with Odin he found the pal and playmate he’d hungered for all those lonely years.
An extreme abcess in Domino’s leg was the tipping point last summer. He kept looking inside the window, checking out the potential of indoor life. Somehow he knew he was getting too old to battle another winter and came in last fall.
I posted a photo of three of the boys but hubby snapped all four yesterday on my sweater in the guest room bed. Domino finally has the complete cat and human family he went without for seven long years. Happy at last.