To those of you who have lost your beloved kitties, you have my deepest sympathies.
All of these stories remind me of how we got Petey. Mr. Bottlecaps, not long after we first started dating
, were walking home one night. It was pretty cold and rainy, and out of someone's yard came a small, black kitten, about six to eight weeks old. He had a flea collar on that was too tight (signaling, to me anyway, that he had been out and about on his own for at least long enough for the collar to become too tight). I had seen him before from a distance but I thought he belonged to someone in that neighborhood. Apparently he didn't though, because I thought, "Who on Earth would let a small kitten stay outside on a night like this?"
I picked him up and pet him, then set him back down. I felt so guilty, but I thought about the fact that I could be risking taking someone's pet (even though it was pretty obvious by the collar being too tight and his size that he probably wasn't being well-cared for, not to mention the fact he was stuck outside on a cold, rainy night).
Then he started to follow us.
We got to the bridge just a little ways down the street, and I said, "Mr. Bottlecaps, we can't just leave him out in the cold like this." So I picked him up, wrapped him into my coat against my chest, and carried him home. We put a post on Facebook (it's a very small town) with his picture asking if anyone knew him or his owner. I secretly didn't want to find his owners though, since as I said before, I don't think he was being well cared for. But I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt, thinking that maybe he had run off on them (although there were no posters or anything for him, either). Luckily though, no takers. A few people said they'd seen him around that area though for a good couple of weeks, so my suspicion was right. He had been on his own all that time.
Originally Mr. Bottlecaps didn't want to keep a cat, so we rehomed him to some good friends of ours, then a month later they found out they couldn't keep him so we took him back, and he's been with us ever since.
I think he still remembers that experience being out in the cold. Every once in a great while he'll express a desire to go outside, but that's only if he sees another cat invading on his turf. Other than that, he's perfectly content inside where he's well fed and gets plenty of love.
I think the next time she brings it up, I'm just going to firmly but politely say, "Eh, letting him look outside is easier than teaching him to use the computer for entertainment. And besides, his safety comes above all else. I want him with me for a long, long time."