When we walked into the animal shelter he made eye contact with me right away and, in spite of a terrible wound on his left rear leg, he climbed down from the pillow the volunteers had set up for him and came right to the front of his cage.
Right to me.
From that moment on I was his and he – well, if you read your Kipling you understand that cats belong to no one.
Amy said, “There’s your cat.”
A Maine coon with paws the size of steam shovels and big beautiful eyes.
Invictus’ first visit
He was hurt and I was hurt. His left leg had been so badly mauled that the shelter had given him slim chance of survival. I was still reeling over the death my cat Simca.
The two of us, cat and man, sat together in a visiting room. Each steeped in our own pain. After a bit I decided to fill out the adoption papers. As I was writing I was overcome with grief for dear old Simca and fear for this new desperately injured cat. I sat there with the clipboard in my hands and wept.
Suddenly a very large paw appeared on the clipboard, pulling gently it down until I was looking into the eyes of the as yet unnamed Maine coon.
We looked at each other for what seemed like a long while.
I dried my tears, stroked the big cat’s head for a while and finished the adoption papers.
On April 10, 2013 we brought him home and nothing has been the same.
Amy named him Invictus. I think it fits.
By William Ernest Henley
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
Invictus the cat comes to me when I am in pain.
He curls up next to me as I ride out migraines, and has no problem letting me bury my face into his fur so I can cry from the pain without waking up Amy.
He has his own spot on my desk and later in the spring I am going to plant a flower box full of stuff for him to tear up on the patio.
He was a throwaway. Almost lost forever, but the Manassas City Animal Shelter saved this amazing animal who has become such a huge part of our family.
We love you, Invictus.
I love you.
Patrick holding Invictus for the first time.