Speed was a stray runt missing a hind paw and covered in ringworm. No one thought he’d live. The vet suggested putting him to sleep, I insisted on medication. Eventually he improved and grew. And could run very fast. Surprisingly he ran using his stump, sounding like a car with a flat.

He was sweet and quirky. He’d sit “singing” where the acoustics rang. He was a peacekeeper. If another cat growled or hissed, he’d smack them on the head, “No growling!” earning the nickname “Officer McSpeed.” He loved all. Pets and humans alike received head-butts and grooming. He’d get upset when he couldn’t leap up to be with the other cats, crying until I picked him up to be with them.

We were inseparable. He had a particular cry when looking for me. The kitten no one thought would live stayed with me for 18 years. He developed diabetes and brain damage. The vet let me hold him for a long while. It was probably involuntary, but he gave me one more head-butt before he died.

I lost a piece of myself and miss him terribly. I haven’t been able to clone him but knowing it’s possible is comforting.