Mittens was always, and remains, the love of my life.
He has to have been the most loving cat I've ever had. And any extra minutes we had, we spent together. He would leave whatever he was doing to run to me, and have me hold him. He used to suck on my fingers and loved to lay on his back in my arms and I'd stroke his tummy fur and we'd gaze into each other's eyes. He would purr as I told him everything that was bothering me, or exciting news I had. He was the best friend I've ever had.
Mittens was an unplanned adoption. I was staying with my best friend and we went to visit her Great Aunt. I was a shy child, so I wasn't looking forward to this visit at all. But it didn't turn out as bad as I'd imagined. We mostly stayed outdoors and were climbing the trees in her front yard when I spotted a cat with kittens lurking around under an old storage shed in the yard. My friend and I immediately went over to see the kittens and play with them. The mother cat was very friendly, and brought them all out to us.
I was falling for a sweet little calico cat when a black and white "tuxedo" kitten suddenly ran past and tried to get under the shed again. My friend pulled him out by his back paw and he cried in fear. I immediately fell in love with him and we played with him the rest of the afternoon. Her Great Aunt told me to take him with me, and so I called my mom to see if I could.
It was a very long phone call full of begging pleading and long silences where neither of us said anything. But in the end she said ok. More to get off the phone than an aquiesance I think, but anyway I got my kitten!
As I was staying with my friend, he spent the first couple of days with us there, but after the first sleepless night, he was quite content and we became very attached to one another. He loved doing anything as long as he was with me. He even rode peacefully in the car, never meowing, just purring in my lap. We took him on our vacation once, and he was always fine as long as I was with him.
After he got older, he had to move outside, and I was quite nervous about him, but I was diligent in his care so that he would never feel he had to run away. I later learned that he visited several different houses that fed him, but he never let anyone touch him. They all thought he was a wild cat I guess, because he would hiss and scratch if they tried. If I was holding him, however, anyone could come and pet, cuddle, and kiss him.
One winter it got very cold and we kept him indoors in the evenings, but he went outside in the day, and his ears got frostbitten. They swelled up, and the tips of his ears turned white. From then on, they always grew white fur.
We had a lot of adventures, and games, and he used to join quite willingly into whatever game we were up to escpecially during the summer. He loved to ride in my bike basket, and travel with me wherever I went. He only drew the line at sledding with me. Maybe because of all that snow flying at us, and the potential of wreck was greater, I don't know. One of his favorite games was to hide in our tree row and spring out to race us as we ran past. He never came close to scratching anyone, but he pretended to be a wild cat springing at his prey.
He didn't mind dressing up with me as long as I didn't leave the doll clothes on him for too long. And no, I will NOT post that particular picture. Too embarrassing *g* Anyway, he was game for pretty much everything our overactive imaginations could come up with. Some of our best moments however, were quiet moments. I love the summer time and I used to go out to read in the evening hours. I would sit on the swing with a good book, and he would sit purring on my lap. Sometimes I actually read the book, other times we just sat quietly enjoying the summer evening sounds and sights, and we always watched the beautiful sunsets. The sky would turn spectacular colors of light blue to lilac, then deepen to a soft pink bordering on red and then orange followed by a burst of gold. The trees looked as if they were sprouting molten gold, and the windows on the house looked afire. Then the gold softened into a deeper orange and down to a purple-blue. Then a navy and finally the blue deepened to black as the stars came out one by one twinkling and blinking.
Mittens was always very loving toward other cats and he soon befriended a wild cat, and brought her home to meet me. We tried to shoo her off and get rid of her, but he was insistent that she stay. No matter how small of a helping I gave him, he would eat exactly half and save the rest for her. Finally I gave up and started feeding her too, and named her Melanie. They lived happily together for the rest of their lives. He would chase off all the other Tom cats around and she stayed quite peacefully in our yard.
Mittens disappeared one day, and I never saw him again. I spent hours every day staring at the surrounding hill, fields and yards. I searched and called for weeks. I absolutely hated The Incredible Journey because I knew that my baby wouldn't be coming over the hill. I cried for months. I mourned for years.