Acquired: Other (stray, given cat by friend etc.)
Posted Nov 18, 2014
My American Shorthair tuxedo cat was "tailor-made" for me. He was a handsome stray, the charmer of the neighborhood, and hence, I thought someone did own him already. When I learned from my neighbor that he wasn't owned and that most people called him "Mustachio" (due to his Charlie Chaplin mustache), I became interested. As the weather started getting frosty, I let him sleep over occasionally, and well, the rest, as they say, is history. He became a one-owner cat, now acting aloof with the neighbors who had previously been kind but not chosen him. I made a pet-door opening in my back door and he could come and go as he pleased. He was very much an indoor-outdoor fellow. He always kept his tuxedo well pressed though even he was a scrappy cat and liked to defend his territory and often came home with war wounds above his eyes to prove it. He also could almost play "Fetch" and was even kind of protective at the door like a dog might be. He often wanted to go out at night though and would meew and meew and finally, as a light sleeper, I chased him downstairs and that became his new night quarters. Both he and I could sleep safe and sound with me knowing he was in the house and not roaming and causing raucus.
He tolerated dogs, barely, as he proved when my newly acquired husband at the time moved in with his white Doberman. Albert was actually tougher, more intelligent and independent than that dog, but pets often take on the characteristics of their owners, right? He would spend more nights out once he felt a bit displaced due to the dog. I remember hunting for him one night and catching him in a "flinch and hiss/howl" showdown with a cat. Albert would not back down nor did he appreciate my attempts to be the alpha-cat in attempting to break up the fight. His stray, survival days definitely couldn't be completely trained out of him. When the economy really tanked, I was already divorced and downsizing my life anyway, so I moved to an apartment. That bode poorly for Albert as he could no longer roam and as a result he acquired diabetes. I wish I'd known that when I first met Albert his weight was just right, but I kind of overfed him, and he became "Fat Albert" in a way, though I thought he always looked healthy and handsome. But one pound for a cat is a lot. But it was my inability to provide the diabetes medicine long-term, and his loss in appetite and then stopping eating that resulted in me having him put to sleep. It was hard, but I didn't think anyone would want a diabetic pet and I knew I could no longer provide the life he deserved and was used to. I hope I don't get kicked off this site for telling this truth. But overall, cats, and this hearty breed, can remain hardy if provided the right amount of food and exercise/play and if you truly adopt each other, which we had done. I was a one-cat owner just as he was a one-owner cat. I miss him.