On a brutally cold, snowy night during the winter of 2008 I happened to glance a black and white cat running across my lawn. It was Vince, but he was yet to be named. Others would come to have their name for him.
Vince was born the previous spring under my neighbor’s shed. I began to feed him that snowy night. Soon other cats appeared, as they do. I thought Vince had been in a fight because of his ear. I soon began TNR’ing the cats who appeared on Vince’s coattails. The first two I caught (Vince was not one of them) had their ears clipped, a standard TNR procedure to let others know a cat had already been caught. Vince wasn’t in a fight. He had already been caught by someone in my neighborhood. Oh, Vince’s name? It was a reference to Vincent van Gogh.
Vince had that special something. He was as cool a cat as they come. My neighbor regularly gave him treats. He would come close but never let me touch him. He was a true feral cat after all. I would talk to him when he was around and blink at him. He even spent a winter in my garage under heat lamps along with his clowder buddies. What a magnificent pet he would have made.
Time had finally taken its toll. I was able to catch him a few weeks ago. It was his trust that allowed me the opportunity to approach his shelter. Years ago I found the woman who originally trapped Vince and had him fixed. She also found Vince a special soul and volunteered to keep him in a spare bathroom. We hoped we could nurse him back to health but there was little we or the vet could do.
The first time I ever touched him was today. I stroked his head and talked to him as he quietly slipped away.