Thomas T. Cat was born in October, 1989, along with three cat-sisters: Janie, Charlotte and Emily. Their mother, Missy, had showed up, grown great with child, fetched me to witness their birth, raised them, weaned them and lit out for the far country as soon as she could.
Janie stayed with me along with her brother and had a long, full life until lung disease took her in 2004. C & E each had litters of kittens (four per) when they were almost a year old, found temporary employment as Rodent Control Technicians at Skunk Works North Campus and were eventually successfully outplaced along with all but one of their kittens. That one, the very tiniest and wildest, a miniature ocelot all in black but for tiny spots at throat and belly, seemed like an impossible adoption. Nearly wild, she would pitch a huge fit when caught, thrashing, howling, clawing and biting. She ran low to the ground like a ferret and had been nicknamed The Slinker. I left her for last, a pretty cat but who would take her?
When the day came that Slink was the last kit left, I put on heavy gloves, caught her (she shrieked and bit me on the thumb!) and shut her up in a storeroom for a day with food, water and a litterbox while I worked. I don't know what mental processes went on but at the end of the day, The Slinker had decided indoors was better than outdoors, even if she did have to make up with A People. She remained shy for many years thereafter and fought running, half-mock, half-serious battles with Janie until Janie started to slow down as her lungs failed. As Janie became sedentary, Slinky spent more time next to her and both of them spent more and more time at my side.
Tommy and Slinky are dozing on my desk as I type. It's a large desk, perhaps five feet by a little under a yard and the hutch that once accommodated an old-fashioned CRT (atop which Janie loved to sleep) now leaves plenty of room behind the flatscreen monitor sitting on the desktop for two old cats to curl up companionably -- or, as is presently the case, space for one to sprawl while the other curls up, purring, just past the edge of my mouse pad.
These two cats have been with me through thick and thin, through times happy and lonely, through sharing a house with Janie-the-cat and my ex's departed Neko, through setting up my library (a/k/a cat gymnasium) again after it had been boxed up for years, through my broken knee recovery, through their own illnesses, through "porch panther" summer days on the screened porch of my old house; they are like children to me, dear little furry friends and I hope they stay around just as long as they care to. Tommy, once a burly tomcat, has gone thin with age and moves with caution -- but will still leap from the desk to the floor as lightly as hawk. Slinky, never more than half-grown, is greying around her muzzle and has become more affectionate with every year. She's quite a snuggler now, who purrs and relaxes when picked up, a far cry from the little hellion who once terrorized voles and suspiciously watched people from shadowed corners though a sunlit summer.
I'm thankful to have shared so many years with them. I hope they are as content and happy as they appear.