Back when he was a few pounds heavier.
He always looks a little stoned to me, which is appropriate with how I got him.
I named him Audrey, but now we just call him Papa Bear.
I got him back when I lived in a pretty shit neighborhood. This girl I knew growing up lived around the corner from me with her drug-dealing boyfriend. One night, in the middle of the night, their neighbors just up and left. Were skipping out on the rent or some such thing. After three days, my friend hears this cat crying, all these terrible cat noises, from the garage of her old neighbor. This goes on and on for a few days and finally they can't take it anymore and her boyfriend busts in a garage window to save the cat. It was a momma and it had given birth to some babies. Sadly, the momma and all the kittens had died - save for one.
They took him in and had him about three weeks, but he kept peeing on the plants. And by plants, I mean the drug-dealing boyfriends livelihood. So she brings this kitten to my door one day and begs me to take it, worried that her boyfriend might just throw him out if he pees on the plants one more time.
He was so young, that I still couldn't tell if he was a boy or a girl, and since growing up all my cats had been girls, my brain immediately went to naming him a girl's name - Audrey. When I realized he was a boy, I started calling him 'Drey instead.
When he was not quite two, we moved in with my mom, who had a female cat - (Zippo, the one my sister lost last October) - and neither of the cats were fixed. My boy lasted until I had carried about half my boxes into the house before he was on her. A few months later - babies. (my other two are from this litter).
The mama cat didn't want anything to do with the babies - she tolerated feeding them, but Audrey did everything else for them. Taught them to eat real food, taught them to groom themselves, taught them to use the litter, taught them to "hunt". Hence why he got the name "Papa Bear". Even a few summers ago, when my sister brought home the stray kittens, he groomed them and cared for them like they were his own.
The last year he has gotten really cranky and we just found out that he has serious arthritis in his hind legs and has lost a ton of muscle there. He seems perfectly happy, just seems like he has more trouble walking, especially on stairs. But more and more, he seems kind of confused. He has had IBS (bowel issues) for the last 6 years or so, but they just treat him with steroid shots for that, though they stepped up the dosage when they diagnosed the arthritis. He is only 13, he shouldn't have so many problems yet.
He is really sick tonight with "uncontrollable bathroom issues". And some dry-heaving. I'm going to have to take him to the vet tomorrow and see what they say is going on. I know most cats don't live to be 24 like my mom's last cat did - but 13 seems too young for all this.
I just feel very sad and anxious about it all right now. He is locked in a dog crate in my room at the moment, to keep him from going to the bathroom around the house, which he was doing earlier - so I'm going to get into bed and turn off the lights and hope that helps him settle down.
I know a good Mama isn't suppose to have favorites - but Papa Bear is mine.