Thursday, August 29, 2013

Vincent: Man of the House

Vincent, loving the view from his forever home.

Vincent was a neighborhood cat with long, light-orange fur, an I-Own-This-Town strut, and a proud tail. For years, we'd see him around: marching through the back yard (making our cats crazy), playing with neighborhood kids, on the prowl for mice at the edge of the woods.

Surely, we thought, such a beautiful cat has a home. But no one seemed to know just where he lived.  He never wore a collar. And when we started seeing him out at all hours of the night, and begging for food on the back porch, we began to worry. Maybe this gorgeous, friendly cat really didn't have anyone looking out for him.

Our animal-loving neighbors reported that Vincent was one of the outdoor cats they were feeding. He really wanted to be an indoor cat, but another male cat they'd rescued was his sworn enemy. Could we help?

It was February. There was snow on the ground. And there was Vincent: his long ginger fur dirty and matted, so thin that his ribs and backbone stood out, but still purring when we picked him up. As clearly as any words, his beautiful eyes said, "Pet me. Love me. Rescue me!"

Vincent with his come-hither eyes.

We decided to foster Vincent until we could find him a good home, but we knew it wouldn't be easy. He was an adult cat, not a cute little kitten. His origins were unknown. He didn't get along with other cats. Worst of all, a visit to the vet revealed that Vincent tested positive for FIV, or feline immunodeficiency virus. While cats with the virus can often live long and healthy lives, they can be vulnerable to infection, and the virus can be transmitted to other cats through bites. It looked like Vincent would need a home without other cats.

Vincent had a few strikes against him, but he also had some things in his favor. He was an incredibly sweet, friendly, loving guy who loved nothing more than to be brushed and petted for hours. He had problems keeping food down at first, but as he got used to good food and regular meals, Vincent put on weight and gained energy, becoming more playful, and his fur grew even thicker, longer, glossier, and more luxuriant.

Vincent was posted on Petfinder and Maine Coon Rescue, and we put up posters of our "adoptable mini-lion," hoping to find just the right home for him. Then came the call that would change Vincent's life. Linda, a 92-year-old widow from Nantucket, had lost her beloved cat Snacker a few months ago, and she missed having an animal companion in her life. She had seen Vincent's picture, and something about him called to her. Could she meet him?

Vincent in "his" bed (but he does allow his person to share it).
After weeks of phone conversations, we made arrangements for Linda to bring Vincent back to Nantucket. It would be a long journey by car and ferry, but we knew that Vincent had found the perfect home, and a person who would give him all the love and attention he had gone so long without and so deserved.

It's always hard to say goodbye to a foster kitty, and it was especially hard to let Vincent go, but we had a good feeling about his new home, and we were so right!

Linda, Vincent's loving new mom, keeps us up on all his doings. Vincent has explored every room of her Nantucket home and made it his own. He loves smelling the window boxes from his sunny window perch, lounging on the porch, greeting every visitor at the door, and curling up for a nap in a comfy pile of pillows on the bed. Now a fluffy 15 pounds, Vincent rules the roost, and Linda couldn't be happier. "Thank you for restoring my lifeline with the world," she writes. "He makes it all worth living. What a joy he is!"

It looks like the joy is mutual. Linda, thank you for opening your heart and your home to Vincent.  We think he's found his purr-fect match!

Linda and the "Man of the House."

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