When I was 15 years old, we had a cat named Elliot. We'd had him nearly all my life, he was pushing 12 or 13 at this time. He'd been a constant companion, and while I wasn't particularly close to him, he was definitely family. We used to call him King Elliot because it was clear he ruled our neighborhood and nobody ever had to worry about rats while he was around. He disappeared a few times over the years and we had a few scares but ultimately he always came home safe.
One day Elliot came home, laid down on the couch, and refused to get up again. On closer inspection it was clear he was feeling very ill. We took him to the vet immediately, and I can't remember how it was determined but I remember that the vet told us point blank that the cat had very advanced cancer and that there was no way he would live. It was pretty clear he was suffering so at that time we made the sad decision to euthanize him. I remember that while it was sad for me, my mother was a wreck. She was holding him so tightly that the medication could not get through the IV and the vet had to ask her to set him down on the table.
We went home and buried him in the backyard, it was a sad day. He was a great cat and we loved him, and we talked about him for a while and how tough he was that we never noticed he was sick.
The next morning my mother and me got up and made coffee. It was a beautiful summer day and the sunlight was shining through the window curtains. I got up to open the curtains further so we could get a nice view of the front porch and the sunlight, but when I opened the curtains I screamed in shock and surprise. My mother nearly dropped her coffee cup and said "What's wrong!?!" I said "Mom Elliot's on the front porch!"
Sitting on the front porch was a beautiful grey cat that looked exactly like Elliot, except it was Elliot in his prime, healthy and beautiful. We sort of exchanged looks and then ran outside to see this cat.
When we got out there, the cat waited for us. It didn't disappear and it didn't run away. We pet it and talked to it and it acknowledged us the way cats do. We even fed it. We obviously knew this wasn't Elliot, it couldn't be, but the resemblance was truly uncanny.
The cat returned the following two mornings, but after that it never came back again. We often wondered what became of it, and honestly it just seemed so strange that we couldn't help but think Elliot had sent some relation of his to let us know he was okay.
Regardless of what it may have been, it brought us all some comfort. It is to date the strangest thing that has ever happened to me and as far as I can remember the only truly unusual experience I've ever had. Whatever reason that cat had for being there, I'm glad it chose to stop by. He really gave us hope.