Andre and Rafael

by Kristi Van Dyk in

5 years ago I met a sweet, lovable, emaciated young cat. He was pure white with penetrating green eyes. He was clearly struggling as a"wild" cat. I couldn't bear the thought of the coming winter as I knew he'd end up at the shelter. I asked Steve's uncle to "trap him" the next time he came by (they had been feeding him). We picked him up a few afternoons later and took him to the vet. He was diagnosed with a very debilitating condition known as Feline Immunodeficiency Virus. The vet wanted to put him down immediately. We said we'd care for him through his immune system issues and promised that when it became too difficult for him to live that we would do the humane thing. The vet scoffed at us and said she'd probably see us sooner rather than later. We left heartbroken; this week we celebrated Andre's 5th year with us. Because we adopted Andre during Andre Agassi's last US Open before retirement, we found it fitting for our newly adopted kitty. We were the last station before this cat's life ended; our only indoor lifestyle - plenty of food and lots of mid-day naps seemed like our Andre was in his retirement too. I don't know if it was the US Open again, or Andre's 5th year with us, or as my husband and Bri Bri claim, my subconscious being unsettled  with 2 adults, 2 kids and 1 cat or what... but when my sister in law and her family were looking for a home for a 5 week old black kitten, I felt compelled to beg Steve to take him in. Steve, like he always does, gave me what I wanted. So now I'm snuggling Andre at my feet and this year's US Open champion, Rafael in the crook of my arm.

How's Andre taking it??? Like the champ he is...and in fact, much the same way he took us bringing home Kayleigh and Benjamin, a little miffed at mom, but largely indifferent to the newest thing disrupting his peace. It's almost as if he is choosing to say, "Yeah, I've been here longest; Mom always makes changes, but in the end, I know where I stand." What a good boy.

So, in a tribute to Andre's 5th birthday and Rafael's first night in our home... some pics of our furry babes.

[caption id="attachment_655" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="Andre - taking his turn on the ever popular "lap""][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_656" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="Rafael on his first night home"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_657" align="aligncenter" width="640" caption="My favorite from the photo shoot"][/caption]