I had a lot of pets and farm animals growing up, but Zorro was the first one that was truly mine. My now-Mother-In-Law already had three cats, but a friendly cat appeared on her doorsteps, and after posting many fliers looking for his owner, she asked if I’d like him.
She booked him his own pet cargo ticket on a United flight, and he flew by himself from CLE to SFO. We drove up from Mountain View to pick him up at the “odd-size baggage” counter.
We couldn’t even see him in the carrier at first — he had hidden himself thoroughly inside a towel, and only the weight of the carrier reassured me that he was actually in there at all.
He was so skinny, having been malnourished as a stray. He was always affectionate with people, and I’m not sure where he came from before he was out in the wild. He wasn’t feral. He quickly doubled his weight from 6 to 12 pounds, and his fur grew out.
I used to walk him almost daily between our apartments which were in the same complex, a big fluffy black-and-white cat slung over my shoulder. Years later, I saw someone walking around the suburbs carrying a cat and realized how absurd I had probably looked.