When Frank and I moved to another apartment in the same complex, we made the acquaintence of a big tabby tom cat who prowled the area. Whenever we would sit outside, along he'd come, rubbing against us and jumping on any vacant lap.

At first, we had no intention of taking in BJ, as we named him, or keeping him. However, we fed him on the porch for several weeks. Eventually we let him in and he would stay for a few hours before asking to go out (see photo).

He went missing for a few days and we thought he was gone for good, but he showed up at the usual time one night, so we let him in. When he didn't ask to go back out again that night, we didn't think much of it. But when he still didn't want to go out the following night I got concerned. I also noticed he had hardly moved since he'd been in and when I picked him up he yowled and also felt like he was burning up. So we took a trip to the animal emergency room, where they administered IV fluids, antibiotics and determined that they didn't really know what was wrong, but that he may have been bumped by a car. $460 later, we drove home with BJ and decided that, whether he liked it or not, he was now our cat and he was going to be an indoor cat from now on.

We planned to get BJ and Chloe fixed as soon as possible, but unfortunately, we weren't quick enough. About three weeks before Choe's appointment, I noticed she was getting rather round and sure enough, one morning we woke up to discover she had had kittens.

Sadly, BJ passed away in the summer of 2009. Thankfully, Eric was home when he became ill -- he was paralyzed in his back legs, had labored breathing and was very distressed. Eric rushed him to the vet where they immediately diagnosed a thrombotic embollism. The prognosis was not good, and we made the decision to let him go. I cried, of course, and still do when I think about him, but I know we did the best thing for him. He was getting on in years and had had a good life. I know he'll be waiting for me at the Rainbow Bridge.


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