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A small sound came from a storm drain. A cat had been moving her litter when a tiny male dropped from her grasp and through the grates of the drain. He was cold and wet, but still living, when someone managed to pull him out and take him to the animal shelter, where I had developed a reputation for being a sucker for kittens.

I remember when I bumped into the carrier under my desk, apparently stuffed only with towels. Looking more closely, however, there was the tiniest bundle of white fur I had ever seen. Maybe 10-days-old, he would not survive without a surrogate mother, and we had no nursing cats that day. Could anyone care for him until he was ready for adoption? Everyone looked at me.

Still not daring to name him, I remember him lying in my palm as he grasped a bottle with his tiny paws...crawling under the covers, nuzzling up to me, searching in vain for something I could not offer...how excited I was when he finally drank water from a bowl...his first tentative steps...and when he discovered running.

It wasn't all fun and games. He lost part of his tail because of a blood clot. I also had to teach him to eliminate. Being a long-haired white kitten, that meant a lot of baths.

That was almost 17 years ago, and Michael has grown to be one of the best friends I've ever had. He always seems to know if I'm troubled and need some love.

Michael and I have been through a lot together. I don't claim to understand the special bond between us, but I'm so glad I brought him home that day.

Steve Jones
Lafayette, IN

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