I've had Patch for close to 12 years, got her as a stray picked up by some officers in the middle of the night. Actually, SHE picked THEM up - she was winding around their feet while they were trying to conduct a traffic stop on a very rural road. They picked her up and took her "back" to the only house in the area with a porch light on, but nobody answered. They placed her on the porch and she beat them back to their patrol car. So they picked her up and drove away, calling the Dispatch Center on the phone to see if anybody wanted a "kitten." I was on duty, night supervisor... and known as a soft touch. She was filty, flea-ridden, and very very hungry. But my vet said she was a "Turkish Van," about 8 months old, and had been on her own for quite a while, with a couple healed wounds. We treated her for everything. She became a wonderful cat, even became a sculptor - made lovely artistic things out of toilet paper on the roll. Vet wanted to breed her, but I declined that opportunity and had Patch spayed. For almost two years she refused to go outside except to sun herself on the porch. Hey, I didn't blame her, she'd lived outside already and didn't like it. Eventually, she made the transition to hunting in my very small yard where we lived. She, 3 other cats and two dogs moved with me in 2007 when I transfered here. Patch took to the outside world and became an excellent mouser. She would STILL run inside to use the litter box, though - she was, after all, a lady. She lost her "housebound pounds" and became a sleek huntress. Getting chickens was very interesting indeed, until one pecked her on the nose through the run fence. After that, she left 'em alone, and would spend time sleeping in the run on a sunny spot, waiting for mice to make a run for chicken feed in the feeder. In the past few months, I'd noticed she was getting scrawny looking, and she had a small lump on one flank just behind the spot where her "elbow" moved back. Vet diagnosed cancer, what did I want to do about it? Well, she was NOT in pain and was very active, still. So I changed from a grocery store cat food brand to a better one (for everybody) and just appreciated her more when she settled on my chest to purr at night. The bantam chickens were a little chary of her, but she never hunted them, either. She WOULD hunt the sparrows in the run. She's been looking for places to sleep, hidden ones, inside the house and outside on the porch or patio. But she always came to settle with me in the recliner late at night. When I got home from work last night, I found her sleeping in a low-edged, plastic Coca-Cola crate filled with leaves, which I left near the front door under a bench for one of my "outside" cats to use if she wanted. But when I reached down to pet her, Patch wasn't in her body any more. She was curled up, in perfect kitty sleeping position, but cold and stiff. I'm glad she didn't go away to die, and that she went peacefully. But I'm saddened by her loss.