Winter came to Home for Life® in the fall of 2011 from a small town not far from Home for Life®. He was a young cat, maybe a year or two old at the time, and until he came to Home for Life®, had lived his entire life outside. He'd been fed all this time by a kind elderly woman, and Winter (who received his name after arriving at HFL), made regular stops at her porch for food and water. In the fall of 2011, we were contacted by the woman's family after she was found dead in her home. The family noticed Winter would still come to the porch to be fed and as they had sold the house after their grandmother's death, they worried that no one would be able to continue to look after him. Cold weather had arrived and they didn't think that he would make it through the winter. Shelters and rescues everywhere were full or said they would take Winter and put him down for them. The family couldn't bear to abandon the young cat, and thought about how much their grandmother had cared about him. They asked Home for Life® to accept him in her memory and honor. Winter was unneutered when we took him in at HFL but was thankfully, negative for leukemia and FIV. He is not feral yet is quite shy as is typical with cats who have lived outdoors their whole lives and have been able to trust just one or two people who have fed them.
In the photo on the right, Winter is on the cat tree alongside his BFF (best feline friend), a black and white feral cat named Shady, a young male cat, whom we accidentally caught in a live trap when trying to locate Jonathan Houdini. Jonathan got to be friends with Shady when he was on the lam, after he'd mysteriously escaped within a day of arriving at HFL and Shady probably showed Jonathan the ropes of survival in Western Wisconsin. Though Shady is still extremely feral he loves Home for Life® and has gained weight and made many new cat friends in addition to his first friend Jonathan (who Is tame even though he lived in a cat colony in Florida for years before coming to HFL). Winter and Shady have been close friends since meeting at Home for Life®, and can be often found eating from the same dry cat bowl, side by side. I have always wondered if they knew each other from the neighborhood as kittens as both were found not far from Home for Life®: Winter in the town of Star Prairie and Shady in the woods that run along the Apple River near Home for Life®.