I had to have my lovely cat put to sleep two years ago on New Year's Eve, a week after my brother died (good Christmas that one!).
She had FIV. We have no idea how she contracted it, or how long she had it. She was eleven, and showed almost no symptoms until about two weeks before she died. (Looking back, there had been an absess the previous year that had been slow to heal, and her fur was not quite as plush as before, but nothing to cause concern.)
She went downhill extremely quickly with a massive infection, and despite hospitalisation the vet could do little.
About three weeks later I started visiting local cat rescues. I didn't really think I would ever love another animal as much (silly me!) but thought I could at least provide a good home to an abandoned cat that needed one.
That very day, a neighbour told me of a cat that had been sleeping in their greenhouse. Ravenous and covered in fleas. Not chipped, not neutered. As far as we were able to piece together the timeline, it was most likely dumped in the local car park over Christmas (its sadly a popular place for scumbags to dump animals).
To cut a long story short, she is of course now my cat. A delightful little animal, she is terrifed of strangers, most men, and being shut in. Even two years later she has to be coaxed into the house if a visitor is there, even if she knows them.
I found out many many months after her arrival that my adorable boyfriend had put down a deposit on a kitten he was due to collect the week after the stray arrived, and quietly dropped the plan and said nothing when I decided to keep it.
You can imagine how terrible I felt when I found out ………..
However, I'm not sorry I took the stray in, and intend now only to adopt abandoned animals. There are so many needing homes, and a kitten (and a puppy) is only that way for a few very short weeks, adorable as they are …..
Poster child for 'Adopt an abandoned kitten' :-)