In June of 2014, I saw a post on our local neighborhood Facebook page, and my heartstrings were tugged. A litter of wild kittens had been born in the forest at the end of our street (that's right, Rocky is a true East Nashville 37206 original, just like my baby Todd). One of neighbors around the corner had taken them in, had them fixed, given them shots, and was looking for families to take them for free.
I grew up in a cat family, with some of the world's most temperamental felines. (They are now buried in a cat graveyard outside my stepdad's office window . . . long story. Actually not really I think I just told you the whole story.) Also, I hated the idea of a cat box in my tiny house with my tiny children. I had always thought, "If I could have a cat that was like a dog - a cat that would only go to the bathroom outside - that would be ideal."
I showed Vicki the pictures of the kittens and asked if she wanted one. That sealed the deal. We went and picked out Rocky the next afternoon. He is all gray, but his tail is very faintly striped, so he was named after Rocky Raccoon (we came home and listened to the White Album on vinyl, so they could be familiar with the song).
Rocky is, quite simply, the best cat ever. He is gentle with the kids, great with the dog, guards the chickens carefully, and . . . only uses the bathroom outside!! In two and a half years of keeping him, he has not once used the litter box.
He is also the favorite indoor/outdoor cat on the block. Turns out every family has a name for him, so he also goes by: Smokey, Shadow, and Gus. I'm sure he is being fed by at least five different houses. There are neighborhood toddlers who make it a point to walk by our house so that they can spot Rocky. And I can understand why.