I had to put Bandit to sleep tonight and it was just so sad. She was never the easiest pet to have, but I loved her anyway. She truly belonged to me and wouldn't let anyone else hold her, or most of the time even get near her. I couldn't trim her claws, couldn't get her to the vet without tremendous difficulty, and she took off running whenever anyone came into the house, whether she knew them or not. Yet, she was completely devoted to me.......she adored me and I loved her in return.
Bandit and her two brother's appeared in our back yard on Long Island as little kittens. They would show up and sit at a distance, watching the kids play in the yard. You could tell right away that they were interested and curious. They were feral cats, born to a mother who I used to see skulking around, and who would take off the minute she saw anyone. I think that along with her looks Bandit inherited that trait from her too.
For a long time we had no idea what sex Bandit was and didn't find out for sure until we got them into a cat carrier and took them to the local animal shelter to have them neutered, which was when we found out that Bandit was a girl. Even though the three of them were still living outside we put them in our garage at night and made sure they had a warm place to sleep and food. Little by little we socialized them until they got over their fear and just wanted us to pet them and love them. We found a home for one of her brothers, and in the end, took her and her one remaining brother, Frankie in. Once they stepped through the back door they never went near it again. They were so happy to have a home.
Now the three of them are gone. It consoles me to think that we gave them much longer lives then they would ever have had if they had to remain outdoors, as so many feral cats do. We took care of them and loved them and they loved us back. Even Bandit, who could not help being a "fradie" cat.
I'm going to miss her dearly and already my home feels empty without her.