I was all set to leave a comment over on MattG's post about his family's cat, but instead wound up writing my own post.
When I was a young boy, probably about five years old, or so, my father brought home a cat for my mother, she was a gray tabby that somehow managed to get named Tabitha, Princess of Fuzzballs. Once she became acclimated to the house she promptly became my cat. Not my mother's cat, not my sisters' cat, certainly not my fathers, but mine. She would climb up onto my lap when I sat at the table doing homework where she would eventually climb up and sit across my shoulders. She would also do this if I failed to securely close the door before sitting on the toilet. She would make her way into my bedroom at night and I would wake up to find her either sitting on my pillow licking my hair, or lying on my chest licking the tip of my nose. I couldn't do anything without this cat following me.
A couple of years after she came to live with us I was in the yard one summer day and there was a group of kids waiting for the summer rec program bus and one of them was holding my cat. As the bus approached I asked this kid what he was doing with my cat and he let her go only for her to go sit on the porch. When I finally made my way to the porch I found that it wasn't my cat after all, but it was another gray tabby. Younger than my Tabitha but with tufted ears and without the extra digits on both of her front paws. My sisters and I searched for her owner but had no luck and so she came to live with us. This one, because we put a pink collar on her came to be named Pink.
Pink and Tabby did not get along. Pink was young and energetic and Tabby wanted nothing to do with her enthusiasm and so they tolerated one anothers existence. Tabby remained my cat and would curl up on my lap whenever possible while Pink would immediately bolt whenever someone attempted to pick her up or pet her against her will. This living arrangement went on for years. At the time I was dispatching for the local police department and a neighbor up the street, a cranky woman who hated cats, would call the police department and request the animal control officer any time a cat wandered into her yard. She irritated me, but I thought little of her. One day, my beloved Tabby went missing. She failed to return home and after a couple of days it finally dawned upon me that the woman up the street may have had something to do with her disappearance. I called the animal control officer and lo and behold he had my Tabby in a crate at his house just waiting until he had time to take her to the shelter.
I brought my Tabby home and she was ill, she was weak, she hadn't been fed or watered in days before the ACO took custody of her. By this time we she had been a part of our familiy for 15 years, the vet estimated that she was about five years old when we got her and so, now in her 20th year after having spent a couple of days being neglected she wasn't doing well. I knew that she wasn't going to last long and I laid out a towel on her spot on the living room floor and I spent the night lying next to her and petting her when she cried. She had been my companion for fifteen years and so I insisted that I accompany my father to the vet the next day because I couldn't stand the thought of not being with her. I called out sick to work and sat silently in the truck. I couldn't speak and when it came time I sobbed like a little child as I kissed her on the head one more time and handed her over to the veterinarian.
I don't think I said anything on the way home as my father drove. I'm quite certain that I was simply doing my best not to bawl my eyes out. I was certainly in no mood to interact with anyone and so when I got home I went straight to my bedroom. As I lie on the bed crying with my eyes closed I felt something. Pink, the cat who had always hated to be touched or petted, who now herself was at least 17 years old, jumped up on my bed and sat on my chest and allowed me to pet her. She remained there until after I fell asleep. I woke up a couple of hours later to find her sitting on my bed still. When I got up and walked out to sit down to dinner with my parents she followed me and sat on the chair next to mine.
When she became a part of our family she was my father's cat, she would sit on his chair, but from that day forward she became my cat and she would sleep on my bed and sit on my lap. In some way, I thought that she too would live forever. One day she would do nothing but lounge around the house looking horrible and the next she would deliver a freshly killed mouse to the front door. Pink remained with us until I was done paramedic school and I recall that it was my father who took her on her final trip to the vet when she became very ill. I recall being sad, but also thankful, that when my Tabby was gone, Pink moved in to comfort me. It's probably been ten years since Pink left us and I haven't had a cat since then, but some day soon I hope to have another one. I just hope that whatever new cat I end up with will be as wonderful as Pink and Tabby were.