I had seen him roaming the neighbourhood, a big grey cat with green eyes. One day he showed up at my doorstep following my own cat, Poem; he was scruffy, skinny and hungry. The kids fed him and after that he wouldn't go away. My husband checked the new cat's behind and said it was a big tom, hence we began calling him Tom.
Later, I learned he was a Russian Blue cat, that for some reason my neighbours didn't take along when they moved away; and true to his breed he was shy around strangers and took a long time and many scratches and bites to all the members of my family for him to finally get comfortable around us.
One day I was laying on the couch and Tom jumped to my abdomen and laid on me resting his head on my chest. He began purring and let me caress his back without biting or scratching my hand. And from that moment he decided I was HIS human. After some TLC and a constant supply of food he became a very handsome guy who liked to follow me around the house and sleep by my feet during the nights.
Sometime later another stray cat came to the house and we adopted him. It was another male and we called him White Socks. From the beginning Tom made it clear who was boss.
There are so many things that made my Tom special. The way we used to play pick-a-boo, and he would "hunt" the kitchen rag when I cleaned the table. And I will never forget the happy look on his face when running down the driveway to meet me after going for a walk. He would rub against the vacuum cleaner when I was using it to make me stop my work and vacuum his shiny grey-silvery fur. He developed a chubby and flabby belly that would swing at every step.
We always put away the cat food and let the cats eat three to four times a day, and every morning at around 5:00, Tom would climb on my bed and sit close to my face. If I didn't wake up, he would touch my cheek gently with his paw to let me know it was time to get up and feed them. And if my husband was still in bed, Tom would jump between our bodies and run out of the room after walking me up.
But Tom had a problem. He thought he was tough and strong, and was not afraid to go after the neighbour's dogs, a German Shepherd and a Rottweiler, making them run.
We live at the bottom of a hill covered by a forest, and sometimes wild animals come down to the neighbourhood: deer, raccoons, moose, coyotes and bears.
One warm summer night in August 2011, the three cats managed to get out of the house. It is not normal to let them stay outside but during the summer is very hard to keep them indoors and we had never had a problem. Until this particular morning of August 20th.
I got up in the morning to open the door for the cats, Poem and White Socks were waiting on the deck, but Tom wasn't there. I called him but he didn't come, not even after my son shook a bag of kitty treats. It didn't look right, so I went looking for him around the house. And I found him on the back yard, dead and missing not only his flabby belly but all of his entrails too. I cried and caressed his head and what was left of his body, and still cry every time I remember the sad last time I saw him. We buried him under a flower bed on the garden.
No need to say I had a terrible time, but something happened two days after he died. It was around five in the morning and I was still in bed, half asleep, and heard the sound of a cat running on the hallway and coming into my room to jump on my bed, three times along my left side and then over my body to sit at my right close to my head. I rolled over expecting to see one of the other cats, surprised that one of them was acting like Tom, but there was nothing there... Nada... And the door was still closed!
I discarded it like just a wishful thought and went back to sleep. A few days later I got up to the bathroom on the middle of the night, and when I was ready to lay my head on the pillow I smelled Tom's aroma. I couldn't believe my nose and began sniffing the pillow, the blanket, the mattress and my husband's face looking for the possible source of the aroma, but aware that this time I was wide awake.
Another day while napping, I felt a cat curling up by my feet and I opened my eyes just to find nothing there. And two more times I smelled Tom's aroma in the living room close to the couch and the entertainment centre. Those were some of his favourite spots to sleep.
I thought something was wrong with my head, but I knew it was not my imagination playing tricks with my heart, and began checking on Google for possible information about this experiences, and that's how I found this site. Reading the stories of other people whose pets came to say good-bye made me feel better.
So one day I told my children about Tom's visits and my son looked surprised and said "Mama, on three different days I was sitting on the couch and heard a cat purring, but none of the cats were around."
And then, one day I found one of Tom's long charcoal whiskers tangled on the living room carpet, perhaps it was only a proof of how bad a housekeeper I am, but that day was the third month of his passing and to me it looked like a sign that he is always with me.
I didn't think my story would be this long!
I hope you enjoyed reading it.