Sam and I have had a cat for seventeen years. His name was Spook and I had given him to Sam as a kitten when we were dating. Seventeen years ago I was known for bringing home strays. I was still living at home and so mom had threatened that I'd be living in the doghouse if I brought home another animal. I left one afternoon to pick up my brother John from his friend's house. When I got there, he and his friend were busy disassembling a stonewall, within in which, there was a kitten. I (stupidly) left the engine running while waiting for him and soon ran out of gas. The parents of the friend offered to put gas in my tank if I took the kitten. I took the gas and the kitten.
I am not sure that Sam was very much thrilled with my gift. But very soon he and Spook were best buddies. He named him Spook because his eye teeth were long and hung below his jaw, and he had about ten hairs on his black chin that were lighter in color and longer than all the others. He appeared to have a natural goatee. He looked like a feline version of Vincent Price. He also had white markings on his chest that looked like a ghost when he sat.
About six months ago we noticed that Spook was losing weight and we realized that he couldn't eat the dry cat food anymore. We began buying canned food for him. An extravagance no ordinary Smith cat would receive. Yup, Spook was special. We began to feed him in our mudroom, since the other cats would steal his food. He would be faithfully waiting by the door every morning. A few days ago Spook stopped coming to the door. We haven't seen him for about a week now and have presumed that he went off somewhere to die. That would be just like Spook: no drama, no fuss.
Two days ago Miss Terry dropped off a new friend: a calico female kitten. We have named her Patches as she has a "soul patch" marking on her chin. While Patches certainly won't replace Spook, she will make a nice addition to our family.