I think it was late spring or early summer. I was in the kitchen and saw something in our backyard out of the corner of my eye. I turned to look out the window and saw an unknown cat drinking water from the birdbath.
I am a sucker for a cat or dog in need—I’ll stop in my tracks to help. So I hurried to the cupboard for some cat food, opened the back door, and sat down on the stoop about 10 feet from the birdbath so I could get a better look. He was sitting by the birdbath, looked to be about 4 years old, very dirty grayish fur with black accents, long-haired with large mats that stuck out on his sides and chest. He didn’t run away, so he probably wasn’t feral, but he was scared.
I lobbed some dry food close to him, and he ate it. He moved toward me as I put food closer and closer to me. Then, in a bold move, I put some food on the stoop and kept my hand closeby. When he bent down to eat, I scratched under his chin, and he responded by leaning toward my hand, letting me know that he had known humans in his past. I put more food down, he ate, and then he left. The next day, he came by again, and I put food and water on the stoop for him.
You should know that we already had two indoor cats. I knew that my husband was not in favor of adding another cat to our household because we had taken in a stray from the neighborhood the year before and our two cats were getting along well. I told him that I wanted to take care of the new cat, but that I understood that he would be outdoor only.
The cat kept showing up, and I started calling him Charley because that seemed to fit. When I called his name, he would appear. To keep him safe at night, I started carrying him through the kitchen and into the garage. I set up a chair in the garage, and when I would sit down, he would jump onto my lap. Oh, yes, I was in heaven!
I don’t think my husband or I saw the handwriting on the wall, but Charley, whose name became Chucky as we got to know him, ended up in the house full-time soon thereafter. That was in 2001.
What a social, curious love bug Chucky turned out to be. Once inside the house full-time, his coat turned from gray to snowy white with lots of pink: pink paw pads, pink nose, and pink ears. He loved getting brushed/petted/scratched, sleeping on our bed all night, and snuggling with us on the couch. He was the greeter, always visiting with whomever came by the house, including dogs!
Yesterday was our last day with Chucky. We are feeling sad and feeling the loss, but we know that it was the right time. He spent a wonderful 11 years with us.
We miss you, Chucky.