In May, 1999, I was sitting with my mother on her front porch in Atascadero, CA, having I believe Stein's Deli sandwiches for lunch. The day was warm and the Flynt's next door had their sprinkler on in their front yard. I started hearing this pitiful little squeal of a cry. After hearing it enough times to be certain it was actually "a thing" I got up out of my chair. I walked down mom's driveway to the street and turned right and walked down the street next door to the end of the Flynt's driveway as the sound seemed to come from that area. There was a juniper bush landscaping plant adjacent to both the driveway and the curb and the sprinkler was wetting it and the periodic cry was coming from within it. After poking inside and feeling around I became aware that a tiny, emaciated, wet, sticker-infused orange kitten was trying to avoid my grabbing. After some effort I grabbed it and it was terrified I was going to hurt it. I pet it and baby-talked it and it soon realized I was rescuing it. That moment of realization was obvious in the expression on the kitten's face and its body language as it seemed to suddenly perk up and get excited and stop trembling. Willy and I were bonded for life. Willy grew up to become Crazy Willy who used to run around like a fuzzy crazy man. We lost not a few cats to the street out front and we were sure he'd get hit by a car someday. Today, Willy died in my arms at the vet's office as he no longer could hold food or water and was wasting away pitifully. It broke my heart but it was indisputably the right thing to do. Mom and I hoped he would die in his sleep at home without need for intervention. Willy had too much life-force for that. Between his first day in our lives and his final nod into twilight today, his life was fully of energy and activity and love. He loved everybody having no cat foes or rivals. He functioned as the glue that held mom and my and later just mom's cat herd together. He always adopted the new kitten(s) in the house. He died the way he lived; enveloped in love. I will never forget you Willy.
*Note: when I can excavate a photo of Willie I shall post it with this memorial.