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It was 1999 and we had just moved to Eau Claire. I was seven years old. That December sixteenth, I was greeted with a surprise when I got home from school.

My parents had found an ad in the paper for kittens that were being given away. They had brought me the runt of the litter, a tiny silver tabby. He was small compared to his sister, a calico they had gotten for my own sister.

Andrew was a sweet kitten. When I carried him up the stairs, he would play with my hair. We grew up together. We did everything together. He would greet me at the door when I came home from school, lay with me while I watched TV or played games, I would share my dinner with him and we would go to sleep together. He would curl up under the blanket in the crook of my arm and purr into my ear as I was falling asleep. I move a lot when I sleep, even when I was a child, but he would be there when I woke up, laying on one corner of the bed or another.

Andrew was my best friend for many years. I was bullied as a child and he was always there to comfort me. He was my first cat, the one I spent my childhood with and he must have been an angel. He was very patient with me when I was young and he was always by my side as we got older.

It's been almost three years now since I had to put him down because of a stomach problem that made him too sick to save and I still miss him very much. It was especially hard the first year without him, because I ended up putting his sister down almost exactly a year after I lost him. I love you forever, Andrew.

Eau Claire, WI

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