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I moved into my first apartment and immediately needed a cat, as I'd never been without a pet. Went to animal control wanting to adopt an older cat, but none of them were available. The only feline in the place that was adoptable was a gray and white kitten, who stretched her paw through the cage and snagged my shirt. That's all it took for her to become mine.

Over the next 18 years, Tucker sometimes proved to be a difficult cat, but we loved her in spite of (or because of) her cantankerous attitude. She saw other cats come into our lives and loved all but one of them, and never forgave us for adopting a dog. After 10 years she still hissed at Izzie each time she walked by. Tucker had recurring urinary tract infections, which progressed to renal failure as she aged. The last 2 years of her life, we gave her twice weekly IV injections, regular B-12 shots, and daily heart medication. Her failing kidneys caused her to urinate outside the litter box, so we were doing clean-ups 3-4 times a day.

By age 18, Tucker was losing weight and growing increasingly lethargic. Thought some of this was attributed to her age (she was essentially an 85-year-old woman!), when she couldn't get herself to the litter box or food bowl, we knew it was time to let her go. This past June, Tucker took her last breath as my husband and I told her what a good girl she was and how much we loved her. We will mix her cremains into a stepping stone, which we'll place in our garden, next to her long-time buddy Frankie.

St. Louis, MO

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