Twenty years ago this month I was teaching at a rural school. One day a student came into my room asking me if I could help her save the lives of two of the kittens she had with her. She said that if she couldn't find an owner that her father would drown the kittens. Of course this went right to my heart and I said I would take them both. A few days later I saw her father and asked him about the kittens and he said he was happy that I would have them because they would have a good home. I asked him about the 'drowning' comment and he lets out this huge laugh. Then he told me that every spring when the barn cat has kittens, that she tells the same sad story to anyone with a soft heart so that she could find a home for the kitties. I was totally played but not angry.
For the first ten years the two brothers lived together happily until one day I found Stretchie dead. The autopsy confirmed what the vet thought all along, that his heart was always too small for his body and he was a huge cat so that made his heart work extra hard.
I once lost Fluffy for 21 days when he got lost in the neighborhood. In actuality he was living down the street with some kids who had taken him in. I was upset at first that they never checked his ear for a tattoo to find the owner but then grateful that they cared for him until he could find his way home. Hearing his meow out the window was one of the sweetest sounds I had ever heard. I now have all that extra time with my boy that I never thought I would get.
He is the most mellow cat you have ever met. He has his routines but loves to sit with me when I am watching TV and can't wait for bedtime because he likes the warm snuggles and purring into my ear until I fall asleep. He vocalizes when he has needs and I can tell after all these years how to deal with his demands. Sure he doesn't see as well as he used to but he will chase that ball of tinfoil around the hallway like a kitten.