It's a funny story how I met Salem. I could see the outdoor patio from my office when I worked in Compton, CA for a few years. One day I looked out the window and saw a semi-circle of girls from the office around a bush on the patio. I walked outside to see what it was, and it was this little black kitten that looked like he was barely old enough to be away from its mother. I took this kitten into the company library with a little water and a blanket, where I was going to wait until the end of the day.
The ex-Marine Colonel I worked for came to my desk and said "Someone complained to the president. The kitten can't be in the building." I said "Way to show compassion, Colonel." and he said "I am showing compassion. Jim said take the rest of the day off with your kitten." and I drove him home to our house in Anaheim, where he was our kitty until about a year ago.
4 dogs and 2 cats wasn't an ideal situation for having no house. My sister, who I pretty much owe everything to, claimed the cats and wouldn't hear anything of it. Johnny and Salem were a bonded pair, which made the situation more complicated. But she took them both in, the saint that she is.
It turns out it was a virus that he could have been vaccinated against. No excuses there. My life at the time we got him was so crazy hectic with kids and cats, dogs, hamsters. I was working full time and consulting part time. It was a crazy time, and it doesn't surprised me that we both missed something like that.
Johnny gets vaccinated tomorrow just in case he needs it. He was another rescue, the last surviving member of the litter himself. My step daughter's friend's mom said "we heard you take cats so take these kittens or we are going to have them euthanized." We couldn't take any more, but after watching this person have one killed every day like some sick movie plot, we took the surviving three.
More sad stories, but at some point there's a certain defiance that says I'm going to live my life like a half-way caring human being and life can throw whatever the fuck it wants at me. So, I could have done better, but I did my best, and Salem lived to be like 85 in cat years.
He was a good cat, and we were good friends. Johnny will miss him, and so will a few humans.