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Alone for 7 years

Walking through my townhouse complex one evening, I saw a young girl feeding two kittens that looked to be about 8 weeks old. I asked her if they were her kittens and she told me that they were, but her sister was allergic to them so she asked her classmates if anyone wanted the kittens. When no one took them her mother just put them outside. I tried to get the kittens to bring them home, but they kept running from me. Scared that they would run into the nearby street, I aborted the mission for that night. I went back each day to try to find the kittens again but I couldn't find them and I didn't know exactly where that little girl lived. After a while of not seeing the kittens, I hoped that the mother had a change of heart and took them back inside or at least found a new home for them. About 6 months later, on the way to the trash, I saw the unique markings of one of the 8-week-old kittens on a now-grown-up cat. I couldn't believe it. I approached him but for every one step I took towards him he took two steps back. I ran home to get some food but by the time I got back, he was gone. Once again, every night I tried to find this gray cat with white feet and chest. Over the next several months, I would see him on someone's patio roof, by someone's car, on someone's porch. He was in a different area every night so it was hard to set out a trap for him. My "Grapes" sightings went on for years. Every time I found him I would baby talk to him and tell him how much I wished he would just come to me. One night I was walking in the parking lot. I felt a push on my leg and realized that he chased me and "tagged" me! I was finally making progress. I started talking to him in a silly voice, and this made him flop and roll. But he still would run when I came near him. He finally realized where I lived and would eat on my porch but I couldn't get him to come inside. A few months later, my husband and I bought a bigger house a few miles away. But every night I went back to where Grapes was, determined to bring him home. He would walk all around the trap but never go inside. One night, by crazy luck, I was able to sneak up on him and scruff him. Finally, after 7 years, this cat - who was thrown out like garbage and forced to survive all on his own - had a forever home.

Stacy Gold