We got our handsome little Alfie at the end of June. We saw his photo on the Battersea site and it was love straight away.
We arrived at the centre and requested to see him. I think everyone was a little shocked that we had come specifically for the eighteen year old post surgery cat, who was still recovering from cat flu and had a shaved chest. But we were adamant - who could resist those huge rabbit feet - and we're so glad.
We brought him - and his little knitted mouse - home and he immediately darted under the bed. But after a few hours he started to come out and sit with us. First for short periods, and then gradually longer until he stopped going under the bed altogether. In fact, Alfie liked nothing better than sitting next to us (although he was far too refined to sit on your knee).
We were a little worried that the wooden floor was too uncomfortable for an OAP though, so we coaxed him on to the settee, and for the next three weeks he remained there (in my seat). If I was already sitting there, he would back into it until I moved. I had to spend a good week sitting on the floor until he finally allowed me to sneak on there with him.
Alfie spent his first few days sleeping, looked with disdain at all the cute, fluffy toys we bounced in front of him. We thought maybe he was too old for play, but when we bought a red laser and he went crazy for it, we realised he had just been unimpressed by our previously poor taste in cat toys. This old gent wasn't going to be seduced by just anything. He was an old cat but he was a kitten at heart. He jumped up on his climbing frame to watch the world go by, chased the laser through the house and constantly climbed on to the coffee table to drink water from the flower vase - despite having two water bowls elsewhere. (We gave up buying flowers in the end and instead filled the vase with clean water just for him. It was a goldfish bowl type vase and we did have nightmares about waking up and finding his head stuck in it).
And if you really wanted to see what he could do, you only had to shake a pack of Dreamies. Alfie had all the fun of a young cat and all the refinement of an older one. We hadn't even shown him where the litter tray was before he found it and used it, as elegantly as any cat I've seen.
Although he didn't like being picked up, he would purr constantly and would give you as many kisses as you wanted. Soon we couldn't imagine life without him.
Sadly however, after only three weeks, our little Alfie died from suspected heart failure and we were left heartbroken. Looking back, I don't think he ever fully recovered from being ill, and I think he was perhaps on a downward spiral. But do we regret it? Never.
I can't believe how deeply we fell in love with our boy and our only regret is that we didn't meet him sooner. However, we'll always be happy that he got to spend his final few weeks in his new home where we doted on him and he couldn't have doubted how much he was loved.
Alfie was the best cat ever and adopting him was the best thing we ever did. He was 88 in cat years, and he could still get his feet over his head. Any cat that can do that was always going to be pretty special, right?