I walk down the hallway toward my bedroom and a baby-like bleating pipes up. I lean over the baby gate into my craft room and he meows again, more softly.
“Hello, Domino!” I call, and he meows again with such little volume it’s no more than his mouth opening and a whisker wiggle.
As I enter the room, the plaintive bleats pick up. He’s still curled up in a little kitty loaf, but his eyes widen with excitement. As I lift and unlock the latches on the large crate’s door, it swings open gently and Domino stretches his back legs as he steps out.
The meows are conversational, quizzical, and loving. The rumble of a purr is mixed with the trimble of a faint, light meow, just now on the tail-end of kittenhood’s high pitch, and as I sit on the floor, he presses his face against my knee, the closest he can reach at first.
Domino loves hands. As I reach for a can of wet food, he runs to follow, pressing his head against the side of my thumb. As I reach with my other hand for a plastic fork, he leaps forward, rubbing his cheeks against my fingers and the fork, purring loudly.
Where ever my hands go, Domino goes, chasing them not to play, but to procure pets. His light, sweet chirps continue as he rushes to where my hands go, reaching to straighten his towels, to pick up his food bowl, to toss an old tray into the trash.
His future family does not know this, but Domino loves them; he loves them as he loves hands, the laser pointer, a wand toy, expertly tossing litter from his pan, the taste of his kitten kibble. Domino loves life. It radiates from him in every excited bounce, in every pleading meow, in every conversational purr.
In my first few days with Domino, I made two happy observations. First, Domino is one of the nicest cats I’ve met. He has tough competition; Sirius is the nicest cat I’ve ever met. (Mango was a pretty strong contender, too. As is Meatball.) Domino, still yet to fully transition to adulthood, has the potential to be the nicest cat ever. There is a genuine, innocent sweetness that he radiates, reflected perfectly by the lush, downy softness of his coat.
Second, Domino is a talker! I’ve encountered a few chatty kitties in the past – again, I’m looking at you, Mango — but Domino has a response for everything and then some! Simply seeing a human is reason for him to speak. Interact with him and you’ll get the full array of his many peeps, purrs, chirps, coos…
I am blessed to have the capability to foster a kitten like Domino. With two weeks down and another week to go,* saying goodbye to him will be painful. I send him off to his future – and, as we all pray, forever – family in hopes that he will have the long and comfortable life he deserves.
To his future family, know that I have loved Domino these past weeks as if he is part of my own forever family, as if our parting date is not looming in the days to come. I have taught him to tolerate having his feet touched and nails clipped. I have worked with him on his fear of being held, taking him from struggling in a lap to being carried about like a baby. I have helped him get past the fear** that kept him from playing to letting him run and play to the full extend of his energy. I have loved Domino. His paw print will be on my heart for the rest of my life.
*As of the original penning of this post. Today, Domino is frolicking in the Kitten Room at Tabby’s Place, and just days away from heading to his forever home. Thank you for making this possible, Carrie!
**Domino did not play for several days at first. Every bit of movement in the room scared him; he would cower in place and bleat like a lost lamb. Although he has improved, I believe he will need a slow introduction to his new home to help him build confidence in his new surroundings.