one cat leads to another-hemingway-quote-cat wisdom 101

The sound you hear is our tails flicking with excitement. Today is an extra special Cat Saturday. Today is National Cat Day  AND our Gotcha Day for Odin and Gris Gris. Maybe Hemingway was right. Does one cat lead to another?

national cat day-cat wisdom 101
We can hardly believe it’s been a year (and thousands of photos later) since Odin and Gris Gris arrived as foster cats to cheer up a grieving Merlin. Boy, did they ever cheer him up. He’s never been happier and they’ve enriched our lives in unimaginable ways. We have more good news. I hope you’re sitting down. Some of you have been following the escapades of our feral porch cat Domino for three years. For seven years, we’ve tried to get him inside for the winter. He refused all bribes, offers and tricks. We knew the temperature was going to dip near freezing last night. The time had come.

It’s hard to believe it took seven years before he accepted petting. Now he can’t get enough of deep massage and brushing.

formerly feral-cat-massage

He ate his dinner in the entry hall as usual but this time we closed the door. For the first time he didn’t freak out. He accepted his favorite massage but hid under the dining room table. Odin was thrilled to have his playmate indoors. After a while, he sniffed around the first floor and I nearly fainted when I saw him gingerly creeping up the stairs. In seven years he’s never gone near them. After a brief inspection of the second floor, he lumbered back down and settled under the sofa table for the night.

During the night he cried. I got up to reassure him and in the morning we opened the door wide but he was nowhere to be seen. We expected him to make a mad dash outdoors but I found him near my desk in no hurry to leave. He eventually made his way outdoors but in relaxed fashion, playing with Odin. Today, he’s leery about coming in, and may not do a repeat performance tonight. But miracles do happen…

What a difference a year makes. I have no doubt that Domino’s friendship with the others helped him feel safer. If someone had told me that in one year my beloved cat Coco (Merlin’s sister) would die, six weeks later, two very unusual foster cats would change my life and Domino become formerly feral, I would have said, “Impossible!” The past year has shown anything is possible.

I wrote about how Odin and Gris Gris came to us a year ago http://blog.laylamorganwilde.com/2010/11/05/cat-saturday-foster-fun.aspx

Both Odin and Gris Gris made enormous strides in one year. I’ll be honest: it wasn’t love at first sight with these two, the way it was with Merlin. It took patience, work, trust and time and now our bond is like Crazy Glue. It didn’t take long to fall for these guys.

three cute cats-sleeping

Odin is a natural comic and makes me laugh every day. He also get’s into trouble every day so it even out.

funny-cat-pee-mail

Odin, always confident, grew from cute mischievous kitten to an athletic hunter and tree climber extraordinaire. Scary smart, he’s remains curious about everything and has new tricks up his sleeve every day. This is how he looked at the shelter at our first meeting.

cat assistance shelter-odin

cat assistance-shelter-rescue-cat wisdom 101

Gris Gris has made the biggest transformation. The photo above is from my first meeting with him at the shelter. It took endless patience before he allowed me to photograph his face. Looking back, it’s clear he was not only unsocialized but never loved. He eluded my camera and early shots allude to his haunted past.

cat wisdom 101-gris gris

His progress happened naturally and incrementally. It took daily love and communication for him to gain trust. He changed from a skittish cat who avoided eye contact and hated being touched or picked up to one who is relaxed and trusting to sleep near us, who loves being brushed and petted daily. He exudes mystery and grace and when I’m lucky, gives me kisses and goo goo eyes. His coat is now glossy and his demeanor proud and confident. He’s Merlin’s best pal and happy to be his seeing-eye cat assistant.

cat-gray-mysterious-gris-gris

cat wisdom 101-gris gris

The takeaway lesson from these cats is: Never underestimate a cat. Love heals. Trust takes time, and cats who are allowed to be themselves are pure joy.

 

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22 thoughts on “National Cat Day & Our Gotcha Day”

  1. Happy Gotcha Day to Odin and Gris Gris! Great news about Domino. What a year. Taffy is my rescue, who had apparently been abused. In the past year we are slowly growing to understand each other. How rewarding to gain the trust and love of a cat!

  2. We just love your final closing thoughts about this happily ever after GOTCHA story. WE just Love love love it! You are so right with the patience of love and care anyone can blossom. Happy GOTCHAs Gris Gris and Odin.
    purrs
    >^,,^<
    ♥Abby♥Boo♥Ping♥Jinx♥Grace♥

  3. Well we are really excited that Dom finally stayed in for a night. I think he will get more and more comfortable in the house especially when he sees how much warmer it is in there. My little feral kitty is doing great too. She lets me pat her all the time now and is very comfy in the house even with dogs in here. Yeah Dom. And Happy Gotcha day to Gris Gris and Odin. We knew you were going to work out just right. Take care.

  4. Layla this is such a beautiful post, it’s incredible what a difference a year can make… I can still not believe how much life has changed since we got our two cats, but it’s all for the better.
    And I’m SO happy to see the pictures of Domino enjoying a good cuddle, and I did the little happy dance at hearing that he stayed in all night – well done for giving all the patience and love to let him come out of his shell and learn to trust =^..^=

    1. Laura, thanks so much!
      @Carolyn, yes, anything can happen in a year.
      @Jan, and we look forward to the next year.
      @Fuzzy Tales, we are having a lovely day indoors since there’s a snowstorm outside.
      @Rumpy, we love dogs too 🙂

  5. The happiest of gotcha days to Odin and Gris Gris. We hope their day is fabulous.

    And the mom says yes, she’s glad she WAS sitting down when she read the great news about Dominio!

  6. Happy Gotcha Day Odin & Gris Gris! You are so lucky to live where you do! Cats have their own time table. I FINALLY got to cuddle with Mica Minnie Moo this week. Its taken 15 months to get to this point, and she didn’t purr, although she leaned into the scratches. I’m dreaming of the day I can bend down and scratch her. One day, one day……

  7. HAPPY GOTCHA DAY!!!! you definitely have the “magic touch” with the fur babies…((((hugs)))) for all that you do! Ugh I missed “National Cat Day?” I made it last year…will pull out my old crappy video lol

  8. I always enjoy learning about how a cat progresses to who they are as we know them today. Cats have an extraordinary range of emotion and personality, but feeling trust is at the top of the list in order for a cat to feel safe and secure. It is wonderful how your boys have all grown to love and trust one another – each in their own way, terms, and time. My heart is thrilled to hear that Domino appears to be heading to a new, much more domesticated chapter in his life. Have a great day and meows and purrs to all…

  9. Happy Gotcha Day! That is such a cute name for such a special day! The lessons that these spectacular creatures both teach us and help us learn are priceless. I have my little 1 yr old once feral girl on my lap as I type this and we had our Gotcha Day in early Oct. along with Gotcha Day for my now 6 year old abondened kitten. I love your stories about your fur family and I am so glad that all have come together in such a beautiful and loving way!

  10. Best Cat Saturday ever! Wow!

    Happy Gotcha Day to Odin and Gris Gris – I can’t believe it’s been a year. The transformation in both, but especially in Gris Gris, is amazing. And the fact that Domino finally spend the night inside – there just aren’t any words. I’m so happy! A true testament to the power of love. I know you’re supposed to get snow today – could this be his first snowy day spent inside in front of the fire?

    1. Ingrid, it’s nasty sleeting out but Domino refused to come inside for the night. We plugged in his electric heating pad and he was toasty, but he come in for breakfast , we closed the door. He’s in hiding in my office and unless he cries like a banshee, we’re not letting him out today.
      @Kathryn, yes cats are the gods of all.
      @MoMo, thanks, it’s a good time for kitty magic.
      @Kathy, thanks, and for sharing about your feral.
      @Deb, thanks, the page has turned.
      @Caren, thanks and (((hugs))).
      @Oui Oui, thanks.That’s great news!

  11. Yes it’s amazing the difference a year can bring! One never knows what is going to happen. The fact that Domino is so much more at peace now is a testament to your patience, Layla, and the gradual acceptance of the other cats.

  12. Gosh, gosh, gosh. This makes me cry from joy. Yes. Gris Gris is now loved and so happy about Dom Dom. Odin is such a happy boy and so are you. So profound. Everything you said. I am sure Emma lived to be 20 in part because she was so loved.

    Cats are the Gods of all.

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