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Levi Levi Strauss
computer buddy, cuddlebug

You would have never known it from what a big, beautiful cat Levi grew up to be, but when I found him, he was a tiny, scrawny, sickly little kitten. I remember coming home to my grandparents one day to visit... I had moved away by then to go to school... and going out to the garage. Tillie, my German Shepard, seemed quite involved with something under one of the cars. At first I thought Buttons, the little mutt, got tired of Tillie's play and went under the car for a rest. But I looked under, and what did I see, but a tiny grey Tabby/Siamese kitten. It was love at first sight, and I took him home with me that night.

Levi was so malnurished that his paws splayed out. Within a few days we were at the vet's with me vastly worried... the poor little guy had such terrible diareah I was afraid for him. The vet gave me some vitamin paste, and although he was sick for at least a couple weeks altogether, he finally got through it, put on weight, and grew into a very large, very solid cat. More than one person had refered to him as my mountain lion.

Finding strays where I grew up was no new occurance. My grandparent's house was out in the fields, and ignorant people, thinking cats can survive on their own, or just not caring, would dump off their unwanted pets and litters all the time (spay and neuter, please... if you want another animal, go to the shelters... in fact if you want your pet to have a litter, go visit the shelters. As you look at all those animals, most destined to be destroyed, realize that even if you find a home for every one of those offspring, you will be taking a home from another animal). Some of them we kept, but there was no way we could keep them all. Sylvester is typical of the type of cat we found... timid, especially around strangers, doesn't like to be held, wants to be pet, but only if he knows you well, doesn't like other animals.

Levi, of course, was never typical. From the first he was very demanding of attention. He wanted to be held and pet and talked to and cuddled. And he wasn't content just to be picked up: his favorite place to be was right up on your chest, with his head under your chin. Nothing else was close enough. That's something he never grew out of, which was great except this usually involved him clinging to you with his claws also. But his great wonderful purr of contentment was worth it. He got along great with Lonesome and Ebony also. At first they didn't want to have a thing to do with this stranger I brought uninvited to them, but he wouldn't put up with that. He had the idea that he was everybody's best friend, and that included the two great big furry black hissing things. How I loved to watch the three of them curled up together, purring and grooming each other. Ebony eventually went to a friend's mother, where she was happier without the boys getting rough... she was always more timid. But Lonesome and Levi were always together. Lonesome really is now... he wanders around crying, wondering where Levi went.

Levi loved to talk. If he had an opinion, he let you know it. And he had an opinion on everything. Could have been the Siamese in him, but he never stopped. Sometimes enough to drive me up the wall, but I'll miss that meow.

Levi, I love you and I will always miss you. It was a such a senseless way for you to lose your life. I am so sorry I didn't get back into my own place soon enough for you to come back inside where you belonged. I still cannot believe that I will never again have sitting with me at the computer, and finally pushing your way by to demand your rightful place atop the monitor. I can only hang on and believe that one day I will find you waiting for me. You were truly special to me. My little pest, what am I going to do without you to keep me in line? Even now I keep thinking I hear your meow at the window, telling me it's time to come out and cuddle you. I wish I had that chance once more.

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