This is Zuzu. When my father retired to Arizona and bought a house way out in the country, he inherited the resident feral cat. That cat, later named Matilda, was the mother of Zuzu as well as her brothers, Socks and Scooter. The rest of the family have all gone on leaving Zuzu to continue. She is now well over 18 years old. As we speak, she is declining very rapidly and we don't expect her to be with us much longer.
When my father was moving from the country into town, he said he would either have to put Zuzu to sleep or leave her with the house to fend for herself. She was about four or five at that time and was truly an outdoor cat, spending days at a time out hunting in the fields around Dad's place. Now, I have to admit that Dad did know what strings to pull me around with as somehow Socks, Scooter, and Matilda had all eventually ended up with us. So I said "What's one more?" (Infamous last words) With that Dad scooped her up, put her in a carrier and she yowled the whole four hour drive home.
She spent the first two years acting like an incarcerated felon, hiding under blankets until no one looked and snuck out at night for food and water. Then one day, I was making a pork roast for dinner and lo and behold! She came into the kitchen, begging for some pork. From then on she spent her evenings with us in the living room. And she was well mannered except if we were having any type of "pig meat" - ham, bacon, or roast - she loved pork! And Fritos. Dad had "trained" her with Fritos Corn chips. I never did find out what he had "trained" her to do, except beg for corn chips.
All in all, she's been a really nice cat. Independent, you bet. But she still likes to snuggle under the blankets and sit on sunny windowsills. And she's very much the lady. I know that very soon, I will have a space she's left behind.
And as it is every time I lose an animal friend, the space may become filled, but it won't be the same. And I will miss her.