My wife and I adopted Slugger in 1999. I did it mainly to cheer her up after a round of the blues.
At the animal shelter we were looking at the many kittens and I was hoping to find a male as we already had 2 females.
..And there he was sitting on the top of one of those little scratching posts. There could only be one there at a time and of course he was the one we made eye contact and I knew.
Never really a pet person but use to cats I did not think much of the implications as I was 12 years younger at 36 than I am now at 48. Who would know we would have him 12 years. At first he would get on my nerves at nuzzling on my wife's ears in the bed and moving about and I would just grab his little body and gently drop him off the side of the bed. I remember when he was little I would be sitting in the chair and he would be up on the arm and I would be petting him and he would look so proud and happy but I would have to be careful not to knock him over while petting him because he was so small. The female cats did not take to him but he didn't care just like me he willed his way into their hearts. He would tackle them and jump over them and just be a general nuisance.
He did not stay little long he grew to be a very strong active 13# cat. A year after we got him we had bought a house and we beleive in letting them outside. He would tightrope his way around the rails on the privacy fence and he would get out of the yard and I would fuss at him but he would not let me stay mad. He loved to play "string" especially on the living room floor. He would get so excited and get to going so fast he would chase it around in a circle and when I stopped he would pick it and proudly carry it off like he had defeated it.
Over the years I fell in love with that cat I bought him the best food wet and dry and I learned to let him be who is was. I told my wife it was like we were on the same wave length. We were very tight. To set with him on the patio on a lazy summer day was almost a spiritual experience. I would be mowing the grass out back and I would say "watch out Slugger" and he would move or "its okay buddy" and he would stay where he was at.
He would sit on my lap alot when I was watching a game and he eventually got where he would sleep with us almost every night. As a matter of fact my wife Leslie would kiss his paws at night and he got where he would put his paws on her face and she called it playing "patty face" and they did it almost every night. It seemed we had all grown much closer in the last year or two.
Slugger had had few problems over the years. A paw laceration, surgery for benign cysts on his back and he had a kidney removed about 5-6 years ago. Threw it all he was still a pretty healthy sturdy cat.
I always had a collar on him that had the jingle bell on it and over the years I loved to hear those jingle bells.
Ironically Christmas night was the last time I heard those bells. We started treating him on 12/13. Our vet thought he might have a parasitic infection over the next couple of weeks and a couple of different meds he was not improving. Ultrasounds showed nothing (no masses) but an increased spleen, we also knew he had a UTI and he was slightly anemic. On 12/13 I thought we would get him treated and he would be fine but by Christmas eve he could hardly stand up and after getting home on after getting home from my mom's Christmas night he was still in the basket we had left him in that morning and he was meowing loudly. We went straight to the animal hospital and as soon as we got there he was in respiratory distress. We had to make the decision and the vet was going to let us a have a few minutes with him but the next thing we knew he had a seizure and she had to put him to sleep. It was awful
It almost seems unreal I cannot believe he is gone. I miss him so. I have been very depressed but know I have to let him go. I found this site just so I could share with people who understand. I will remember him everyday for the rest of my life and I have faith that we will meet again one day. I told Leslie that I now feel honored to have him as a cat and to have him love me like he did.
I will never have another cat with a jingle bell on the collar.