Kevin and I bought our house in 1995. We went to the shelter to adopt one cat. We really liked Dolly, but realized that she was a timid little creature and that she'd do better if we adopted at least one of her two brothers, Archie & Smudge.
We also liked Mr. Moustache and his brother, Fella. Should we adopt Dolly and one of her brothers or Mr. Moustache and Fella? We eventually decided on Dolly and Archie bc one of the shelter volunteers was going to adopt Smudge if he wasn't adopted before the shelter moved to its new facility in the following month. When we got home we decided we didn't want to leave Smudge behind, so we called and asked if they would throw Smudgie into the deal. That's how we ended up with our first 3 cats, aka The Originals. (The linked picture is of the five of us -- the happy new family -- at the shelter just before we packed them up and took them home. I think the cats are terrified.)
We kept in casual touch w/the shelter, e.g., participating in fundraisers and the like. We heard that Fella was adopted out fairly soon after we adopted The Originals. Somehow we never heard about Mr. Moustache, but he was still there when we dropped into the shelter four years later in May, 1999. So we decided to bring Mr. Moustache into the fold.
True, Fella had been adopted, but another shelter cat, Clara, had moved in with Mr. Moustache. Not wanting to separate them, although I think Mr. Moustache would have been fine w/o Clara, we adopted the pair of them.
Dr. Slade examined Mr. Moustache or, as we took to calling him, Stashy, shortly after his arrival. He did exhibit panting, which isn't a positive thing in a cat, but that could've been due to the stress of the exam. Stashy, sweet as he was in every other way, did not like being picked up at all. Turns out, however, that Stashy was already sick with chronic kidney failure; he began showing symptoms 6 months after adoption.
Factoid: cats can lose 70% of their kidney function before they show symptoms of chronic kidney failure. Chronic kidney failure is terminal in cats unless a successful kidney transplant is performed. (Acute kidney failure from, say, antifreeze poisoning, is often fatal, but might be reversed if treated promptly.) Transplant recipients must undergo certain tests and meet certain criteria and part of the deal is that the recipient's owners must also adopt the donor cat.
Stashy's age was uncertain; if we knew how old he was, we would have known right off the bat that it was highly unlikely that he would be a transplant candidate. We didn't know his age, though, so we scheduled him for testing. He crashed a few days before his scheduled appointment, so we brought him in early. They ran tests while caring for him. I visited him on May 30, 2000. We chillaxed together, I gave him a smidgen of cream and some of his favorite crunchy treats (Whisker Lickins), I pet him, he sat down next to me...and then he lay down and died.
The test results came in a few days later, confirming that Stashy was older than anyone thought and that his general condition would have ruled him out as a transplant candidate. I'm glad that was the result bc I would've been really disappointed if he mighta coulda done it, but just didn't get that far.
It was very, very sad when he died. I didn't expect imminent death and was quite shocked. I cried and cried and then cried some more. We still miss our little guy -- he was small in stature, though large in dignity -- but those first few weeks after his death were really quite sad. So, okay, he didn't like to be picked up, but he was so, so lovable and sweet and cuddlable otherwise. Not a mean bone in his little body. He was with us just over a year, but we're glad we were able to give him a home for that last year and that he was able to spend his last year with us.
I'm sure I've said it before, but I'll say it again: Stashy had such a great attitude towards others: so welcoming, mellow, friendly. I only wish some people -- myself included -- were more like him. What a great place the world would be. Sure, it'd be lazy and snoozy as all get out, but it would be so friendly and happy and cozy, too. Stashy World sounds nice to me.