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During my first visit to the MSPCA when we picked out Rusty, April and Jasper, there was another cat very eager to be noticed. As I walked from cage to cage, suddenly an arm shot out. The next thing I knew, claws had snagged my coat and I was being drawn towards the bars. Here was a big old tom cat with the most wonderful markings... stripes and spots!

Over the next several weeks while I was taking pictures for the shelter, I featured Chester as one of the cats of the week several times. Still the weeks went on and on and he remained in his cage.

Finally one day a staff member informed me that they were going to have to put him down. He had now been in a cage for close to 5 weeks and was beginning to get Cage Crazy. He had even reached out and scratched me once but I didn't tell anyone.

I couldn't bear it. There was something about this cat. Not really pretty, not a lap cat type but something about him made him special. A short talk with my husband and Chester came home with me.

Up until now the Old Cat had been the boss of our cat family. But, with his advancing years, he was spending less and less time interacting with the other cats. Chester seem to know that the Old Cat was failing and never once challenged his authority. Still, in his quiet way, he was becoming the dominant male in the house.

One by one the other cats learned that Chester was in charged. Big and strong but gentle and kind. I've never seen him hurt any of the other cats.

Getting Chester that day in 1998 has given us a wonderful pet. The Old Cat is gone but in his place we've found a kind and affectionate replacement.


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