Updated May 4, 2017.
We weren't planning to adopt another cat. Having rescued our number one, black cat, Shara, a couple of years earlier, we were happy being a one-cat family. Little kitten, Shara, who had spent several weeks in a small cage at the shelter, was quite pleased with being a single indoor cat.
Things took a change of direction when a persistent tabby appeared in our carport. My husband and I started to notice that whenever either one of us was in the yard, there she would be following us around with loud meows. We would talk to her and be friendly and wondered if she had a home. With her collar and well-rounded build, she didn't look homeless. Over the weeks we talked to a couple of neighbors who confirmed that this was a neighborhood cat but couldn't say if she actually belonged to anyone. One woman had even fastened a note on the collar, but had no luck with finding the owner. The second neighbor volunteered that she had been putting food out for the cat.
Although we weren't feeding her, the tabby cat took up residence in the planter by our front porch. It seemed whenever I went out there, I had no sooner sat down on the front steps than she was right beside me. She started showing up on the back porch when I was cooking supper. Through the jalousie glass door I could see her out there looking in. Her interest was duly noted, but we didn't consider her “our cat.”
Then, the weather started to turn cold and that was the reason I gave myself for saying I had to do something about “the cat.” We discussed it and set up an appointment with the vet. Now cat number two needed a name. Going up and down the alphabet and thinking of different word associations, we finally agreed she was a “Bonnie.” Not “Lonnie” or “LM” for “Loud Mouth”—the way she first impressed herself on us. From then on she was Bonnie—our little tabby. Bonnie checked out fine and we had now officially taken in a second cat.
Of course, we hoped the cats would get along. They didn't. From the get-go, our house became totally territorial, with each cat having separate facilities. We thought of finding another home for Bonnie Cat but that didn't seem likely, plus we had gotten attached to our new kitty, so we got used to the arrangement.
Sometime after that I finally met the neighbor our Bonnie Cat previously “belonged” to. She came by one day walking a big dog. When “Bonnie” came up in the conversation, the neighbor volunteered that she had found “Shenzi” hanging out in the parking lot behind the bank downtown. The story was that the cat left her new home because kids and dogs weren't to her liking.
With that mystery solved, we understood that this cat was ours for the long haul. I loved both of my “children” and was sorry they didn't particularly like each other. Affectionate and playful with us, they delighted in hissing, chasing, batting, or mostly avoiding each other.
A while later we relocated, taking both cats with us. In the new house each cat got an equal start. Separate facilities discontinued, they learned to fend for themselves. One might stake out a chair, the other a spot on the sofa, etc. They might even tolerate being on the same sofa, maintaining reasonable distance. This was working fairly well with the occasional unfriendly encounter. I still loved both my cats.
Eventually, Bonnie’s health began to fail. Always the pudgy one, she was getting thinner. We found out she had heart and thyroid problems. We tried medication and different food choices, giving her special care, but nothing could turn it around. A little over a year ago, Bonnie died peacefully in the night.
We felt the loss. Shara, howling, seemed to miss her. A one-cat family . . . for now, we've got our memories of Bonnie Cat.