Since September (when this photo was taken), he'd become much handsomer & happier, with a swing in his step, and an "I'm almost one of the family" air about him, poor little guy. We tried to coax him inside, but he'd only come sometimes, and only curl up in the cushy dog bed when he thought no one was watching.
I console myself with the thought he at least had a few happy months before his untimely end.
Yesterday he was discovered in the lane next to the house, mutilated & eviscerated, along with a nameless white and grey kitten (who had lost its head and front legs). I covered them both with fabric and waited for Tony to come home. He dug a grave out back, where we are sadly running out of room, and we buried them together. Gimpy was a very friendly fellow, headbutting every cat he met, so I guess it was fitting that he have a little resting mate in the grave.
Fortunately, all other cats have been accounted for, though they seemed to be lying low most of the morning - was it the especially cold weather, or the knowledge that something fierce and deadly stalks the neighborhood? Who knows.
I have spied a pair of large black dogs roaming free, and am now compelled to dust off the bb gun and have it at the ready in case they wander round these parts again.
RIP Gimpy and your little pal.