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My mother has never owned a cat in her life, despite my attempts to pawn a rescue or two off on her over the years. But she would have none of it! "No cats in my house! Ever!" Famous last words.

In September of 2014, I was at mom's helping her with some fall plantings when I saw him slink through the back alley and behind the neighbor's garage. He was so scrawny you could literally see his spine, so shaggy looking I was sure he had all kinds of bugs and diseases, and so scared he wouldn't come within 20 feet of me. So what's a girl to do? Well, I started feeding him, of course. Much to my mother's dismay. "Don't feed him here or he's never going to leave!" Famous last words.

For several weeks, I parked my car up the street, snuck into the alley behind my mom's house without her knowledge, and put out food and fresh water for him. Pretty soon and without my encouragement, he started showing up in my mom's backyard. And then he'd hang out on her sidewalk. And then I would see him sitting on her step at the back door, looking in the window. What on earth was going on?

Oh yeah! Turns out mom was feeding him, too! And playing with him! And lovin' on him! Without my knowledge, of course. And the day she told me to go find a box to put him up in the garage on a particularly cold November night, I came back less than 20 minutes later and she had already brought him in the house.

He's been there ever since.

Mom dotes on him. She's rearranged her entire life for him. If we go out shopping for the day, we have to cut it short because she's in such a hurry to get home to Riley. Yes, the woman who never wanted a cat in or around her house now says she doesn't know what she would ever do without her beautiful Riley. Famous last words.

Lori Matzke
Arlington, MN

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