Twelve years ago, one of my sisters had several stray cats living outside her country home. Soon, there were many kittens. While visiting, my two young daughters fell in love with all of them. Several times, they asked if we could take just one home. Several times, I stressed the responsibility involved with pets and the expense.

"But Dad, they are free; they are cute; they need a good home; and, we will take care of them!"

Before I knew it, we were on our way home with a kitten for each daughter, Princess Ta and a brother, Prince Joey. I worked on a special place under the steps where they were to stay most of the time and purchased all kinds of different types of fun pieces for them as well as a pet carrier, a litter box, and food. Then, there were the visits to the veterinarian.

Our budget definitely changed and a new yearly line was added. It wasn't long before they were allowed to go all over the house and stay wherever. Often, they were together. Princess Ta and Prince Joey were the best of friends and became a part of our family as we all grew older together.

As somewhat predicted, I ended up taking care of their litter box, food, water, and even cleaning up their occasional accidents. Even though I was looking after them day after day, they seemingly liked me the least. It may have had something to do with me being the one to shut the door of their private room after they had been out playing with the girls!

Princess Ta would approach me when in need of food and/or water. She also would hang really close when I was on the couch even though I was never to touch. Her no-touch policy was made quite clear as any attempt would mean a different position for her. Prince Joey would seem to stay in his own world but would often allow Princess Ta to be an important part of it.

It seemed as if our cats would outlive me. Then, Princess Ta fell off the top of the couch one evening. My wife and I thought it would be her last night while doing some research on the web. We were both crying while saying our goodbyes as she stayed somewhat motionless for 15 minutes.

Somehow, she fought through it and started moving around again. However, Princess Ta was not well as it became more obvious with each hour of observation.

We took her to the Hope vets hoping there might be a way to take care of her problem(s). Despite the best of their efforts, it was not to be. Our younger daughter, the only one Princess Ta would allow to pick her up, came home from college and was able to hold and pet her one last time. As she cried, we all cried.

With Princess Ta no longer around, Prince Joey has become quite friendly. He sits on the couch by me and will even allow me to rub his fur. We have become the best of friends! Frequently, I think about Princess Ta. I am not an expert on the memories of cats but suspect Prince Joey does the same.

Do I have any regrets about my decision twelve years ago? No, none whatsoever!