Pretzel had been with us for just over five years. I was heading to our Sunday market to buy a couple of pretzels for my dinner, when I saw something creeping around the bushes next to the road into town. Curious, I stopped and called. There he was, coming running towards me, complaining loudly about being hungry, lonely, and probably cold. Of course, I had to take him home, much to the disgust of our other cat, Mitzi. I took him to the vet, who declared him a girl (I hadn't looked, just a bit too intrusive on first acquaintance, I thought), and I called her Pretzel. We waited anxiously for a week to see if anyone claimed her, and then he was ours! I took Pretzel to our usual vet to have 'her' checked out, where it turned out that our Miss Pretzel was actually a Mr. Pretzel! He had settled in quite well with us, we both loved him to bits. He wasn't too impressed with Mitzi, or with any other cats for that matter. He tolerated Claude, who did his best to keep them from fighting, but occasionally, there was a hissy fit going on. He was very vocal, too, with a very distinctive, plaintive Siamese-type voice. We re-christened him Pretzel Pavarotti at one stage, whereby he would wander up to the bathroom, and start 'singing', loudly and for quite some time, before ending his 'performance' with a brief "meow". Not sure if he was lamenting his lost freedom, or how hard done by he was, but it sure amused us. Once Mitzi was no longer with us, the singing suddenly stopped.
I felt sorry for him not being an outdoor cat anymore, but we took him out on a lead several times a day (and night...), which he seemed to be used to and tolerated well. He loved wandering around the trees and shrubs, and I enjoyed letting him take me for a walk. He also had a large crate outside, where he could snooze in summer. In winter, he preferred to stay inside, even though he had a very swish velvet coat to go out in. He followed the sun, sleeping in one of his sun lounges, which we obligingly moved into the sun when it had moved. Pretzel loved nothing more than being cuddled, and sleeping on my legs. I had many episodes of "COLP" syndrome (Cat on Lap Paralysis). He had quite a few visiting cats look in, but snubbed them consistently. Even during his last days, he would greet the stalker cat with a halfhearted sniff and spit. While in good health, he had the appetite of a horse. That cat could EAT! But he was always on the lean side, for such a large cat. He took very good care of himself, cleaning himself all the time, and never really smelled 'catty'. He was very friendly to visitors, coming along to greet them and graciously let them pet him. Pretzel was also the best study buddy, helping me write my PhD while he gave some insightful comments from under the desk.
Pretzel was diagnosed with kidney disease earlier this year. He was pretty old, frail and arthritic by then, so when he didn't eat the special kidney diet, we decided not to push it, and let him enjoy his final months as much as possible. We gave him all his favourite foods, and pampered him as much as we could. He had a close call a couple of weeks ago, when he stopped eating, but he must have heard the vet talking about euthanasia, because once we were home, he rallied - ate, drank, and wanted to go outside! Sadly, it didn't last, but it gave us a little more time together.
Now I hope he's chasing clouds with all the other dogs and cats. Vale, Pretzel!