When Stephanie Perfect moved into her neighborhood, she noticed a shy cat peeking out from the trees across the street.
The cat kept coming back.
Stephanie never expected that her life was about to change when she moved into her new home six years ago. A neighborhood stray showed up near her house, looking for food. "I asked the neighbors about him, and I was told he had been left behind by his previous owners about four years before I moved in," Stephanie told Love Meow.
The neighbors would put food out for him every now and then. Once Stephanie started feeding him, he would visit her house every day.
At first, he would not eat until Stephanie went back inside. He crept up to her porch, scarfed down the food and ran as soon as he was finished. This routine went on for about a year.
"Gradually he stayed longer as long as I did not go outside. I made a house for him out of a Rubbermaid container and some warm blankets. He eventually learned that it was a safe place for him to go on cold and stormy nights," Stephanie said.
"As he started trusting me more, he would lay on top of it during the day and just hang out and enjoy his new 'home'."
As the year went by, the kitty would move closer and closer to the porch when he knew it was time to be fed. "I would talk to him and he got to know my voice."
One morning, Stephanie woke up and was surprised to find her Buddy on her porch, looking right at her. She tried to keep in her excitement as she had to stay very quiet and move slowly so as not to startle him.
"I slowly bent down, and gently started to pet his head, then his ears. He rolled over onto his back and let me rub his belly," Stephanie told Love Meow. "From that day forward, he was my Buddy."
Once she gained his trust a little more, she was able to take him to the vet, and get him all checked out. Buddy was tested positive for FIV, however, cats with FIV can live a long and healthy life, as long as they are well taken care of.
"Eventually, he started coming inside and sleeping in the house on cold or stormy nights. He slowly got more and more used to being indoors.
"After he learned to trust me and let me pet him, I introduced him to his first feather toy and he went crazy, jumping and flipping all around to catch it."
Buddy would sit high on his window perch and watch the birds and squirrels in the back yard.
"The very first time he let me hold him in my arms, he melted into me and started purring," Stephanie said.
"Buddy is loving, affectionate, purrs really loud with a 'sigh' sound. Now that he doesn't have to scrounge for his food, he is the pickiest eater. He will only eat canned food in lots of gravy and he usually just licks around the chunks of food to gobble up the gravy.
"It was a lot of fun to watch him blossom from timid and scared, to such a fun and playful, loving boy! And needless to say, he is well fed."
Last year, Buddy decided that he no longer wanted to be an outdoor cat. "He has become a totally 100% indoor kitty," Stephanie said.
"He lives like a King now."
"I have now had him for six years and I can say, I'm not sure who rescued who. He fills my heart with so much joy. I'm so lucky he chose me as his person to trust."
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