For 12 years, I was passed to 3 different parents on a small island in the Bahamas. When the last “Mom” moved in with her boyfriend and a d-o-g, I’d had enough. I decided I’d rather live under the old house and take my chances. I did this for 3 long years. I survived the heat, cold, torrential rain–even hurricanes. And I’d get lonely and go out to the street looking for attention.
Everyone on the island knew who I was. Many would pass by. Some would even pet me, and I relied on the local “cat ladies” to feed me. But I got bored living under that house. So, I became the island cat from hell, or “devil cat” as some of the locals called me!
Dogs provided a distraction. I could chase the big ones and bite them in the butt, or I could ride the smaller ones home. One day I decided to pick a fight with two Jack Russell’s and a Golden Retriever. Silly dogs. I won. When I stopped at the church, covered in blood, that’s when my life changed. I was taken to the vet. I only had a small bite on one leg–the blood was not mine!
You both did not want an ORANGE cat, and–after the two mini rescued tortoiseshell girl cats you’d had–probably didn’t want a 25-pound giant male cat, either. But yet you agreed to take me, at least until the stitches healed. I think at first you were a bit intimidated by me, and I don’t blame you. After all, I was a big cat with a bad reputation and attitude!
I pulled the screen door to your apartment open, flopped on the floor, and soon worked my way into your hearts. And the best part of MY life began. You and “Dad” showed me love and spoiled me rotten. I got brushed every day. I got fresh fish treats in the afternoon, and I found a warm, safe place to sleep at night–next to you, under your arms.
When you moved away from the Bahamas, you brought me with you. My first boat ride, airplane ride, and then the beginning of car rides across the USA! How many of my Bahamian kitty buddies can say they’ve been thru 22 states? I loved the car rides!
Wasn’t I the best behaved? I knew to use the litter box before we started driving, I knew to eat and drink at rest stops, and I knew when to jump into my carry bag to go into the hotels. During the drives, I loved sitting on your lap the entire time. And I got to come back to the island twice more as a tourist!! How cool was that?
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The condo in Washington state was nice. I loved the rare sunny days on the back balcony, but the cool, rainy weather fired up my arthritis and hip dysplasia. You had accepted me even though I was old, but then you discovered I had diabetes and had to give me expensive shots twice a day. Still, you were willing to do anything to try to make me well. You even slimmed me down to 17 pounds. If I was still a Bahamian cat, I know I probably wouldn’t have survived very long.
When you took me to the desert (Palm Springs), I felt at home. Warm sunny days, dry air, I seemed almost healed. My favorite memories will always be sleeping on the sun lounge on the back deck, watching birds and lizards.
You understood when I howled to be lifted up because I could no longer jump. You bought me a ramp to get up to the bed. You gave me medicines and kept trying to find a cure for me. And kept giving me fresh fish and treats and love. And knowing how my life was made so much better because of the two of you, I became the most loving, sweetest, and the smartest cat you’d ever meet.
I would greet you at the door when you’d been away. I’d come out and meet your friends. I would follow you around to be next to you, touching you, and sleeping between you guys at night, as close to you both as I could get. I couldn’t have been happier. You knew that, though. My purrs were so loud I’d wake you sometimes.
And when things got harder for me, you still loved me through my pain and accidents. But finally, you knew it was time. You had both done everything you could, and you cried a lot making the decision, but we all knew it was for the best. I went in peace, surrounded by love. I know I will always be in your hearts, and you will stay forever in mine.
Thank you for taking in an older stray. You made the last 6 years of my life the best ever, and I love you for it.
Love, Tommy (from Hope Town, Abaco; Vancouver, WA; and Rancho Mirage, CA.)
Story submitted by Amy Brubaker, from Vancouver, WA.
Tommy’s story was originally shared on The Animal Rescue Site. Share your very own rescue story here!
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