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A month before I turned 19, I moved out of my parent's house to live with a friend in New Hampshire, leaving behind my first cat because I couldn't take her with me. The pain of being separated from her was eased by my friend's family having several cats, but not having one to call my own was still hard. One day, my friend's dad came home with this little tiny black fluff-ball and handed him to me. He had been a stray that my friend's dad had found on his way home; clearly malnourished, and horribly flea-ridden. Much to the tiny ball of fluff's dismay, this meant immediate bath time in the sink, and a trip to the pet store and the vet the next morning. Immediately he bonded with me (and I with him), and I named him Kyouya (Kyo for short). As time went by and my friend and I went our separate ways, Kyo was the one constant in my life that I had to comfort me. I was in the midst of my battle with depression (several suicide attempts), and he always seemed to be able to tell when I needed that extra affection. He was with me through all my ups and downs, abusive relationships, and moving around...and he was always happiest curled up right on my chest, with his head next to mine. I never thought I would have a bond with a cat as strong as ours, but he literally follows me around the house, will paw at me to get my attention, and once I turn to see what he wants, he headbutts me straight in the mouth. He recently turned 5, and now has a brother, Mihawk, whom I rescued from animal hoarders. Last year he helped me through the loss of my first cat who I had left with my parents (she was 18); and with the recent passing of my grandfather, he once again has stepped up to the challenge of keeping my spirits high. I didn't rescue him, he rescued me...and I know he saved my life.

Bowie, MD

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