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Growing up, I always had a cat. So did my wife. So it was only natural that we'd want to adopt a cat after we were married.

We had been married only a few months when Figaro found us. My wife's work was within walking distance of our house and my wife likes walking. Walking home from work one rainy evening, my wife found a kitten, crying and shivering, hiding under a bush in the median of a road. I wonder if Figaro remembers that night over five years ago?

The road was near the "by-pass," a heavily used road that circles the town. The "by-pass" is a popular road for dumping unwanted animals. I guess these uncaring people think the heavy traffic means more people will see the animal, increasing the animal's chance at being adopted. Instead it usually just causes the animal to get hit and killed. The town has a Humane Society for crying out loud! Since my wife found the kitten near the "by-pass," we were confident the kitty was a throw-away. Still: we tried to find out if anyone in that part of town was missing a kitten. Noone seemed to miss him so we adopted him. Four years later we found out that he was not a throw-away after all. He came from a house full of cats and kittens, including his mother and littermates. Either he ran away (or felt pushed away) or else he went for a walk and got lost. The people noticed his absence but weren't sad and didn't try to find him. Four years later, they were happy to learn the kitty was in a good home.

We had Figaro neutered as a kitten. He has all his shots and all his claws. The vet sees him once a year. Any medicine he needs he gets.

There is a perception that all cats are aloof. But people who have known many cats know that this is not completly true. Like a human, each cat has its own personality. My three cats have three totaly different personalities. Cats certainly vary in friendliness and aloofness.

Figaro is very aloof. He likes to be petted but only when he is in the mood. When he is not in the mood to be petted he may not allow himself to be petted. Or he may let you pet him while he lays motionless, with a grouchy expression on his face. Figaro communicates very effectively through facial expressions.

When he is in the mood he is a joy to pet. His face will take on a happy expression. You can almost see a smile! His purr is very very soft. Sometimes he rolls onto his back, asking you to stroke his tummy. Often he squeezes his eyes shut tight. He constantly "plays his piano," or "makes bread" opening and closing his paws in a kneading motion.

But even when he is in a petting mood, he still keeps his distance. He keeps the petter at arms length, expecting the person to reach. Figaro absolutely will not sit in a lap. You can pick him up easily and even carry him for a few seconds. But he quickly becomes squirmy and wants down.

As much as Figaro likes his space, he will never resort to violence to get it. Although he has all his claws and sharpens them daily, he never uses them. He is very very gentle and meek. When he is crowded he simply moves away. If he can't simply move away, he squirms and cries.

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