Apr. 2012 - 02 Jan. 2015
Fingolfin's mother was a local stray, a regular at my stray feeder. She was very wild; I'd never gotten a good look at her except through the window, since she would run if she caught a glimpse of me. However, in late spring of 2002 she started bringing her latest litter of three kittens to the feeder. Two were tabby-and-white, one black-and-white. I called the black-and-white one Fëanor, and the other two Fingolfin and Finarfin.
I tried to coax the kittens into trusting me, with only very limited success. Fëanor was always the wildest of the three, and as he grew up he only visited the feeder occasionally and didn't stay long. Finarfin remained shy until one day he suddenly -- literally overnight -- decided to be friendly. After that he was very sweet, fond of being petted, and he even let me pick him up. He still didn't spend a lot of time in the garage, only visiting for a while in the evenings. His sudden conversion to friendliness and the very sleek look his coat was taking on made me think that someone else was also paying attention to him, and he was dividing his time between his two "homes".
Fingolfin was still very shy, but he spent almost all his time in my garage. I wanted to adopt both him and Finarfin, and I delayed taking Finarfin into the house because I hoped his friendly attitude would influence his brother. Unfortunately, Finarfin vanished suddenly in November. He disappeared on the same day that Beorn's mother did; since there were signs that Finarfin was getting attention from someone else, there is some hope that he -- and possibly Beorn's mother as well -- were adopted into a home, but I'll probably never know.
After his brother disappeared, though, Fingolfin finally decided to trust me to some extent. I was able to capture him, and finally around the beginning of December I took him inside. He settled in well, though he was always very skittish about being petted or handled.
Fingolfin never really got over being afraid of humans, and most of the time he didn't want me approaching or touching him. Every now and then, though, he would suddenly decide to be affectionate, coming over to me, squeaking (he was a big cat with a tiny voice), wanting his head rubbed, and purring loudly. (He had a wonderful purr, usually only directed at other cats.) I'm not sure what prompted those occasions, but I treasured them; it was good to know that somewhere down in his little cat-brain, he knew I was really a friend. He also loved to play, and would play chase-the-toy games with me quite happily.
In contrast to his spookiness with humans, Fin absolutely loved being with other cats. He always got along well with everyone, and nothing made him happier than to hang out on the bed with a bunch of friends around him. He adored Red, a big orange tabby, and after Red died he showed a similar affection for Mithras and Ratatosk, also orange cats. Getting along well with other cats is an excellent trait to have in my house, and he had a very happy life.
In the autumn of 2014 Fingolfin was diagnosed with advanced hypertrophic cardiomyopathy; fortunately, he responded to medication and did well for a while, though I knew he wouldn't have too much time left. In late December, during a routine recheck, we found that he had also developed a good-sized mass in his chest. It had grown up quickly (since the previous month's check), and there was nothing to be done except put him on prednisolone and see if that held it off for a little while. In this case I doubt whether it had much effect; he started having respiratory difficulties within a week, and on January 2nd I had to let him go. I miss the old guy; though he was shy, he was a nice, sweet-natured cat and good to have around.