He was a rescue cat that I named after my book character, overruling my husband's name choice of Discord. I truly believe his personality helped me write Indio's character in the Wynter Wild series.
Book-Indio in early drafts was an extroverted party animal. I soon realized a more sensitive soul would better suit this songwriter with a painful past. Cat-Indio was motherless almost from birth until we took him in at 4 months old. He was terrified and clumsy and hardly knew how to be a cat, let alone how to be around humans. Gradually we taught him to allow us near, and after many accidental scratches to play with his claws in.
He became as agile and curious as a cat should be. Unfortunately he was forever finding ways out of our cat-proofed yard. Standing on his hind legs he even learned to haul open the heavy sliding door to get outside. He was impossible to catch, but would come to us for petting at specific times of the day and demand attention by butting his head into our hands. Eventually he trusted us enough to roll onto his back for tummy rubs. The first photo shows him sleeping on his back beside me while I write.
Just like Book-Indio, it took a while to win his trust and get to know him, but it was worth it.
Indio died the day he went missing, as far as we can tell - one week ago. We finally found him in the nextdoor yard (an empty house). While there's some relief to know what became of him after a week of uncertainty, it's painful to have no idea how he died.
We adopted him with his foster sister Crystal - they'd shared a cage in the pound after all Indio's littermates were gone, and they were very close. She's at a loss to know what to make of his absence at the moment. We miss him so much.