Andrew Ilg

A Furry Guest That Never Left

About 16 years ago, my family was blessed with this four-legged furry creature. She showed up in our backyard one afternoon, and little did we know, she had chosen us to be her parents and primary care provider for all of her 9 lives. 

We started out playing all day in the backyard, letting her go home to her actual “family”. She kept coming back week after week and we started to get concerned, so we attached a note to her collar and asked if this cat had a home. She returned the next day with a handwritten “yes” and a phone number on the note. We called the number many times but no one ever answered. Weeks turned into months, months turned into years, and she kept coming back. As time went on, we would allow her inside our house but released her every night to wander back “home”. 


After about 3 or 4 years, she was here to stay. Her collar was no longer attached and appeared to be set free (probably by her own choice). We let her in, staying overnight and having free roam whenever she pleased. We got her food bowls and fancy treats. We considered her ours.

As the years went on, she became part of our family and we took full responsibility for her. She became ill at one point where we had to take her to the vet and gladly accepted all the fees that came with it.

You're probably wondering what her name is, but that's the interesting part -- she has no name. Since there was never an official moment declaring her ours, she never received a proper name. That may seem odd but I think it makes for a very unique relationship. I sometimes call her “bub” when we have our daily after dinner discussions, however, the vet knows her as “Poppy”, an alias we created for her.

She’s been with me through it all; elementary school, middle school, high school, and college. I have many fond memories with her and is hands-down the best cat to ever exist. She’s very respectful, outgoing, and independent (except when it comes to food). She’s a retired rodent and bird hunter and current food enthusiast. She’ll like you, but not as much as she likes me.

A few years ago, she was diagnosed with a thyroid issue that we have seemed to manage by medication. In November of last year, she became gravely ill but pulled through and was diagnosed with kidney disease -- the vet gave her three to six months to live. We’ve changed her diet substantially and she requires medication orally every 12 hours. Here we are on month 11 and going strong.

As she strolls through her golden years, I reflect back on the moments we’ve shared and cherish them. I will never forget the times she kept my feet warm in my sleep, the workouts I got from chasing her throughout the house, and the amount of sleep I lost feeding her at 4am most nights. I would gladly do it all again.


Keep up the good fight, Bub. Here’s to another 9 lives.

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