Tag has been in my life for almost 13 year now. He was just 12 weeks when I saw him up for adoption at a local pet food store. After seeing this little footless ball of fur, I knew I had to find a way to get this guy a good home. I had five indoor cats at the time and couldn’t add in another. Especially a three legged kitten who would be fighting for territory with my five kitties. I called my parents who immediately said no. They were nearing retirement years and after 30 plus years of multiple cats in the home, they needed a break. Later that day I mentioned the three legged cat to a friend who promptly ran out to adopt him that night.
After a few days my friend realized that her allergies were unmanageable and she needed to find a place for this guy to live. Knowing he couldn’t live with me, I hit up the next best thing…my parents. Over the years my parents had a bit of a joke about me telling lies about animals I would bring home. As a child and teenager I would beg to keep stray kittens and cats, coming up with all kinds of stories about where these kitties came from. Sometimes I told the truth, other times I surely embellished. My parents would always initially say no to adding any new animals to our home. We always had at least one cat in our home growing up, but now my parents had a completely empty nest. I knew this would be a tough sell, but I had to try with my parents again.
When I told my mom about the cat, I made sure to mention that he was black and had long hair. She was always infatuated with long haired kitties, and her favorite cat Pooka, was a stray we found when he was also just about 12 weeks old. I was in 2nd grade back then, but I remember her love for Pooka. He was shy and loved to cuddle. He was floppy and easy to love with the sweetest personality I’ve ever seen in a cat. He was tolerant of everything and everyone. I hoped that bringing this up when I mentioned a footless cat would get this guy adopted. My dad was on board from day one, but my mom took a few days. She decided to think about it.
When I mentioned the kitty to my parents a few days later my mom said, “I think we’ll take him.” I was ecstatic that she agreed! He was just what they needed and I didn’t even need to beg! I brought this nameless guy over to them that evening and they were smitten. From the moment this cat came into my parents lives, he had them wrapped around his footless leg.
My parents couldn’t stick with a name for this kitty and kept changing their minds. My dad played and watched golf and so it was natural that he name his cat after a golfer. Thus, this kitty was named Tag. My dad went on to build ramps, scratching posts, window perches and sleeping areas for their handicapped cat. Tag has always had a spunky personality and is truly a curious cat. He was daring and determined cat who always got what he wanted in their home. My mom, who NEVER let our cats on tables or counters, would allow Tag to sit on the kitchen table while she drank her morning coffee and did the crosswords. They both fell completely and ridiculously in love with Tag.
Three months after Tag moved in, my mom was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. She received chemo and radiation over the next year, but passed away a year or so later in 2009. After my mom died, Tag became my dad’s support system. Although he also had human support, Tag and his spicy attitude kept my dad busy. He developed rituals for play and feeding time and they kept each other busy. I am so grateful that my mom said yes to letting this cat live in their home. My mom was always a little intuitive and I feel like she knew my dad needed Tag.
A few years later, in 2012, my dad was also diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. He went through chemo and radiation and ultimately passed away almost a year after his original diagnosis. My dad was concerned about my future and how he could provide for me after his death, but his next thought was always Tag. He was worried that Tag wouldn’t be comfortable living with me because at this point, I had 4 cats and 3 dogs. He even tried to convince me that I should find him a home where he could live as a solitary cat. Tag was always friends with my terrier mix Bruno. My parents would “babysit” Bruno, and he and Tag were good friends. Tag even met my larger two dogs and was only momentarily stunned by their size. After the initial shock, he was completely fine with being in their presence. In fact, he sought them out and even spooked them a little! Our dogs were used to living with cats and for them it was no big deal to see another cat. Even after showing my dad how well the dogs and Tag got along, he was so worried that Tag would be miserable and left out.
To make this already long story a little shorter, Tag got along with our cats and dogs just fine. We ended up moving into my parents house after my dad died and Tag was able to keep all of the things my dad built for him, including a rail on the basement steps so that he wouldn’t fall over the edge. Although Tag had to share his space, everyone was able to coexist in peace with only the occasional cat scuffle for territory.
Over the course of the last 7 years, we’ve lost a few of our sweet pets to old age. We now have a 13 year old Lab, a 9 year old yorkie mix, a 5 year old silver tabby kitty and soon to be 13 year old Tag. We moved out of the home Tag was used to and now live in a much smaller space in our fifth wheel camper. I think that Tag adjusted to the move much quicker than the other animals, but he’s always been able to easily adjust. He’s been through a lot in his short life, but he’s always lived his life with persistence, perseverance and passion. Add in a dash of serious personality and this kitty isn’t stopping anytime soon!
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