My family has always been a dog family...that is, we've always had pet dogs. Its not that we hate cats, just never had an urge to own one.
When I was a junior in high school, something would happen that would change our lives for the next 9 years. The ladies in my mom's office occasionally got together for "psychic parties." They'd get together, drink margaritas, gossip, and get their fortunes told by a local psychic. It was during one of these parties when the psychic asked my mom if we had a cat yet. She said no, and that we had no plans on getting one in the future; we already had an elderly poodle. The psychic kinda smirked and told her that we would in fact be getting a cat...and that cat was being sent to protect us.
My mom laughed it off, but she wasn't laughing a few weeks later when a gray and black striped tabby showed up on our back porch, lol. We assumed that he belonged to a neighbor on the other side of the street, and gently put him back over the fence into what we presumed was his own yard. He jumped right back over. This continued for the rest of the day.
After getting sick of playing this game, we put him in the car, drove around the block, and dropped him off. By the time we pulled back around, he was already on the porch waiting for us.
Thinking he would just go away eventually, we ignored him. However, he continued to live on our back porch, sleeping on the kitchen window sill. Finally, we broke. It was mid-February and temperatures were to drop into the negative digits. Refusing to wake up to a frozen to death cat in the morning, my mom took pity and put the cat in our garage. She made him a little nest of blankets and towels, and gave him milk, water, and canned dog food, lol.
After that day, he was OUR cat. We named him Ambrosis, but continued throughout his life to just call him Cat. We always just had it in the back of our minds that he would wander away back to his real home.
Cat had lived with us for about 6 months when he disappeared for a week. He was basically an indoor/outdoor cat, and stayed out most of the night...but one day, he never came home. After a week, I was getting worried. Then, I came home from school, and while I was walking down the hall, I saw him come around the corner at me. I went to scoop him up, but my hand went right through him, and he disappeared. At that point, I was convinced that my cat had died, and had come home one last time to say goodbye. Miraculously, Cat came home that night. The pads on his paws were torn up and ragged, and he had lost weight...but he was home.
From then on, he wasn't just OUR cat...he became MY cat. He became very affectionate and clingy to me, and wouldn't let anyone near me. By all accounts, Cat was NOT a good cat, lol. He tried to kill my newt on multiple occasions, bit anyone who tried to touch him, and terrorized my dogs. Then, he started the spraying, lol. If I left dirty clothes on the bathroom floor, he'd spray them. If I came home late, he sprayed my room.
We had Cat for nearly nine years when he began to lose weight and hide in the closet. A trip to the vet confirmed the worst: he had feline leukemia, despite his vaccinations against it. We had to put him to sleep that day. I had just found out a week earlier that I was pregnant, and in some ways, I think Cat knew that cats weren't good for babies, and decided to make this his time. As I was holding him, waiting for the doctor, he nuzzled my neck, licked my cheek, and then snuggled up in my lap with his head and paws against my belly.
Almost immediately after Cat died...we started seeing the shape of a cat running around the house. My mom has seen him crawling into her bed, and just recently I pulled into my driveway, only to see him run off the front porch...there are no other cats in our neighborhood with his coloring.
The worst part is the smell, lol. We always know when Cat is around because for about ten seconds we'll catch a whiff of a cat spray extremely strong...and then it'll just disappear. Our dogs also seem to see him. My yellow lab will do the low gutteral growl towards a corner of the living room where Cat liked to sleep, and will sometimes reel back as if being smacked by an angry little cat paw.
The psychic told us Cat was sent to us for protection. We may never know what he was supposed to protect us against, but it seems like he's still committed to that cause, even in death.