Mr. Peabody came into our lives two years ago when he showed up at the doorstep, asking loudly for a piece of salmon that he could smell cooking in the kitchen. We had just lost our outdoor cat, so we considered his presence a gift from the one we lost. He was skinny, but very friendly, so we started feeding him, named him Mr. Peabody, and he started hanging out at our place most of the time.
Come to find out later that he actually belonged to the neighbors across the street, but they pretty much let him fend for himself. They called him Stormy, and he was the neighborhood welcoming committee -- the only reason he hadn't been over before was because our outdoor cat had been running him off.
Stormy's owners didn't know exactly how old he was, but knew he was at least 20. He was in great shape for 20. He would catch doves, eat the best part, and leave the rest on our back patio for us to share. Whenever I was in the kitchen cooking fish or chicken, he would be at the kitchen door, loudly proclaiming that it was our turn to share with him. Whenever it was too hot to heat up the kitchen and we decided to grill dinner, he would sit patiently by the grill, knowing that he would receive a piece of whatever it was as soon as it was cool enough to handle.
This last summer was hard on Mr. P. The neighbors took him in so he didn't suffer in the heat, but when he came back to our house in the fall, he was skinnier than ever. We started feeding him again to try and put weight back on him, but he never regained what he had lost, and he spent a lot of time sleeping on a bed we made up for him on an old couch we had in the carport. We knew our time with him was coming to an end, so I loved on him as much as I could, and brought him chicken whenever I cooked it. The last few nights were cold enough that we brought him inside, though we set him up in a spare room away from the other cats, just in case.
Mr. P passed on to the Summerlands yesterday. I missed his yowl for breakfast at the door this morning, as I will miss him purring against my ear when I picked him up and put him on my shoulder. He wasn't even our cat, but just waltzed into our lives and welcomed himself to whatever we were willing to give -- and gave of himself in return. Farewell, Mr. P. You are loved, and you will be missed.