Once upon a time, in a pretty green garden in Barcelona, a little ginger kitten named Arthur had chosen his brand new home, at just 3 months old. His brother watched on, not trusting the human or house Arthur had chosen. The little kitten sat and called for Arthur every now and then. Arthur would run out, happily greeting his brother and ready to play. Every now and then turned into once every few months and then the little kitten, growing into a big ginger tom cat, had other things to do. For two years Arthur Cat didn't see his brother.
One day, two years later, there was a very distinct meow called in the garden, Arthur ran out and found his brother. Jumping around, playing with him and cleaning him Arthur was very happy to see his long lost friend - something which is very unusual for two tom cats. Arthur's adopted sisters Katie Cat and Tina Cat, soon got used to seeing Arthur's brother hanging around, and began playing with him too. His brother still didn't trust the young lady who had given Arthur a home. For some reason she kept trying to get close to him.
On a Spring afternoon, Arthur's brother was feeling very poorly, he had lost a lot of weight and had no where else to go. He had an incling that his brother was being fed by the young lady he had found a home with, as he really was rather chubby, so he slowly walked his tired legs and scraggly body up the drive way. When the young lady saw the scruffy, withdrawn, poorly looking ginger tom, she turned away and went back inside. His little heart fell, he wasn't going to find anything to eat here.
Just a minute or so later, the young lady very quietly and gently came towards Albert with something in her hand. She carefully laid a plate on the gravel next to him, he could smell something delicious and, once the coast was clear, the young lady having tiptoed away, just within sight, he gobbled up the plate of cat food.
"Goodness me, you are hungry, little one. Let me get you some more." She whispered as she tentatively moved to collect the plate. She returned again with more food and the ginger tom ate it all up until his tummy was full. He snoozed on a palm tree stump in the afternoon sun. Each day he walked up the drive meowing, hoping for a little food. Each day he was given food by the young lady, and grew stronger and stronger.
As Spring became Summer, and Summer dissolved into Autumn, the ginger tom and started to trust the young lady a little more. He had enough courage to go to the front door and meow, demanding food. He was happy to gobble up his own plate full and venture into the ground floor flat, to finish off the other cat's leftovers.
One morning the young lady opened the door to find the ginger tom asleep on the door mat. "Arthur, your brother is here again" she said as the ginger tom pushed past, ready for his breakfast. "I guess we'd better give you a name little one. I think you look like an Albert, are you hungry Albert Cat?"
Autmn moved into Winter, the nights were getting colder and the young lady placed a bed outside for the ginger tom, sheltered from the wind and rain under a big stone table on her patio. The young lady had tried to keep Albert inside, warm next to the fire. But he panicked when he saw the door and windows closed. She tried various times, but he wanted to roam the great outdoors, on great adventures. Sometimes Albert wouldn't call for weeks on end, the young lady worrying as to where he had got to.
One cold Sunday morning, after a longer stint of not seeing Albert, the young lady heard his meow at the front door. She rushed to the front door, barefoot in her pyjamas, a fluffy dressing gown pulled on haphazzardly, inside out. "Goodness me Albert, you've been gone a while!" As she knelt down to carefully scratch his little head as a hello and good morning, she noticed his tail was injured badly. A rapid emergency visit to the vets ensued, and sadly Albert's tail had to be amputated. With a bad infection in his blood, the young lady was told to go home for a few days and give Albert medication, once the infection had gone down, they'd be able to re-assess the damage. Unfortunately, a couple of days later, the news wasn't good. Albert's tail had to be amputated further up a second time. More tests showed he had various diseases and illnesses. He was really rather a poorly chap.
"His tail is healing, but he's still very ill, as well as his medication and injections, he'll need plenty of love and care, he'll have to be looked after and kept in twenty four hours a day. You'll have to continue hand feeding him, it'll be tough." The vet told the young lady. "I think we can manage that" she replied.
It took two months for Albert to recover, the bad days were difficult - there was a week of sleepless nights for all five members of the family - the young lady and four cats. Injections, a cone of shame for 6 weeks and countless medication left Albert feeling very unwell and sorry for himself. During the hardest moments, in the early hours of the morning, the young lady would sit with albert, gently stroking his head, whispering promises that it would all be okay. He'd be better soon and running around just like before.
As Albert's strength and overall wellness improved, the bad days dawned less and less. Moments of utter delight, warmth, love and joy flooded his little cat life. He learned how to play games with balls, toy mice, a cat jungle gym and a whole box full of other toys. He learned that the young lady only wanted to help him, she hand fed him all of the time, and constantly checked up on him. He quickly caught on that when she said "Albert" she gave him food, he later realised this must be his special name. He found a new love for bathrooms and baths in particular, enjoying the bubbles the young lady blew from her bath for him to catch. He enjoyed playing with his brother Arthur again, chasing the brush and mop around the flat and discovering something called catnip, which in Alberts mind, is the best thing in the whole wide world.
Today, on the 7th of April 2018, the young lady... let's call her Peta ;) , picked Albert up in her arms, giving him a huge hug, as she had started doing a few weeks a go. He purred in response, something he had only started doing a few days ago. "Today's the day Alb, you're well enough to go outside again. I want you to know that I love you so much, I really don't want you to run away. I really want you to stay with us, you have a home here and a family who loves you more than you can ever imagine. You have taught me, that even when you feel like your life is full to the brim of souls to love, that loving any more would just be impossible, there is always more love. We're going to go out on the patio now, and I'm going to pop you on the ground. If you run away, don't worry I won't chase you, but if you don't, if you stay, I promise you I'll give you the very best home I can."
Albert was placed on the cool red tiles of the patio, given a little stroke for good luck. He sniffed here and there, new smells, new places to rub against to mark as his. He rolled around in the gravel with his brother, he jumped on the stone table and then onto the BBQ where he snoozed in the sun. He lazily looked up when he was checked on very very frequently. He jumped off the BBQ and ventured inside for a spot to eat, walking back out for another game with Arthur. As the sun went down, Albert yawned and padded inside for dinner. He ate what he wanted, no longer gobbling it all up as quickly as he could, and settled on his usual chair for a snooze.
"Welcome to the family Albert Cat, thank you for choosing us." she whispered as she gently kissed the top of his head.