PHOTOGRAPHY   © mike connealy
  The Cats
Richard and Rio

The Outside Cats

Some of the kittens

Distant Kin

A Christmas Story (December 2010)

I never got a good picture of this stray cat we called Spot. Whenever I leaned down to his level with a camera in my hands he would run over and rub up against my leg. He was relentless in his declarations of friendship.

I tried chasing off Spot for about a year. Every time he showed up he looked worse for wear due to the many territorial fights he got into on a regular basis. He always had open wounds and matted hair; at one point he looked like he might have gotten hit by a car or mauled by a dog. Not long after that, someone in the neighborhood trapped Spot and took him to the free spay clinic in town. We knew what had happened because when he showed up again, finally, he had the tip of one ear missing, which is how the clinic provides an easy way to identify fixed, free-roaming cats.

Spot also looked completely different. His wounds were healed and his thick coat was clean and fluffy. His demeanor was a lot more mellow and he was even more determined to live in our yard. So, I started feeding him twice a day. He could usually be found sitting on the porch in the sun during the day, and our grand-daughter became very attached to him. Our inside cats felt quite differently, however, and there was no way we could let him in with them, regardless of how often he hinted that would be an excellent idea.

Spot was performing his doorman duties on a recent evening when some guests showed up for a holiday meal at our place. One woman took a special interest in the friendly white cat and, after hearing his story, she said she was interested in adopting him. The next day, I got out the cat carrier from the garage, padded the bottom with an old towel and tied open the door. When I put the carrier down in a corner of the porch, Spot walked right in like he had read the script.

We are told that Spot settled in at his new home as if he had always lived there.