Slick PaullJohn's story wouldn't be complete without his cat, Slick. John didn't plan to be a cat owner. He found a tiny kitten who had been thrown out into an ice storm in January, in a plastic bag, left to die. He brought him inside, and put him in a shoebox. He wasn't in good shape, with ear mites and his eyes closed. He fed him with an eye dropper and nursed him back to health.

John wasn't a cat guy, but he soon fell in love this this tiny grey fluff ball.

We were not cat people, either. So we were skeptical when our Mom came home from visiting John, raving about this cat. When John moved to Maryland a few months later, my brother & I were not happy about Slick coming to stay at the house for a few weeks while John's apartment got ready.

"He can stay in the basement", we both agreed.

Turns out, Mike and I both sneaked into the basement and soon started to like him, too. We were sad when Slick moved in with John. We missed him.

When John proposed to my Mom, we were very happy for them. We also were excited because that meant Slick came, too!

Slick made Galewood Road a fun place, as you never knew where he'd be curled up or running through in a burst of energy. He earned the nickname "Thunder Paws". The blue wing chair had to be shared with Slick, who loved to hang out on the wing or in your lap.

Slick PaullFamily gatherings were even more fun as Slick would make his appearance. He often would appear with his tail up in a question mark shape, like he was asking, "what's going on here?!"

Christmas Eve was especially entertaining as we unwrapped presents. I think Slick thought the whole holiday was about him. He LOVED paper! So much paper! Stuff to lay on or make into balls to chase!! He especially loved tissue paper, which we layered year after year into a basket, which he often slept in.

The basement became Slick's kingdom. John training him to go "downstairs" on command with a treat. Yes, you can train a cat (remember "Meet the Parents"... Robert De Niro's character was so much like John!)

We all became cat lovers. Mike & I both went on to own cats (and rabbits, who cuddled with the cats). I married a guy with cats, so at one point we had FOUR! Yes, we are a crazy cat family.

Mike has had one and then two, and fostered a mama and kittens, passing on the cats to create 6 more crazy cat families.

When I think about all of the love that we felt for Slick and how much he helped bond us together, my heart is filled with joy knowing this can be passed on.

He lived for 19 years. What an amazing life for a kitten that barely made it.

It can be difficult to blend families, especially as adults. Slick helped us to bond. He was something that the four (then five with Alex) of us shared.

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We were not a cat family until John & Slick! Once we fell in love with Slick, we added Bandar, Pixel, Oscar & Jes (rabbits who thought they were cats), Cami, Pogo, Mira, Martini (Big Guy), Penny and BJ. Mike also fostered Mama Mouse and her 5 kittens, who all found good homes this fall. That's a LOT of cat love that John & Slick passed on!

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Mike took after John by bringing in a grey and white cat who was outside his home!

Slick brought our family together, and thanks to his legacy we were together the night we found out that John had passed away. Linda and Alex were over Mike's house to say goodbye to Mouse & the kittens when Joanne called with the sad news. It's a blessing we were together at such a sad moment.