My parents got this cat for my family when I was like 8. She was this calico runt of the litter that we got for free from a farm. She was terrified of us for the first week, and it took a solid month to get here comfortable in the house. She ran away whenever strangers came to the house for the rest of her life, I think she was afraid of being taken away again.
Anyway, she got really close to all of us, me especially, since I used to torment her as a kid (in nice ways) and somehow that brought her closer to me. I know I loved the little thing. As she got older she also got crankier and couldn’t take more than like 5 pets before giving you a solid swipe with a paw or a snap with her teeth. She still slept on my bed every night though, despite turning into a bit of a bitch by the time I hit my sophomore year in college. That I think she was 12 by then, pretty sold for an 80% outdoor animal. That little thing had like 800 lives. She once spent a three day blizzard not in our house. We thought she was dead until I saw little paw prints in the snow leading back to my house. Sure enough she had just made it back home despite spending 72 hours in a blizzard that dumped three feet of snow. She got crushed by the garage door twice…run over by a car (none of the wheels touched her, she just froze and car went over her)…I’ve seen her get attacked by bees once (funny) and a dictionary fall from the third bookshelf directly onto her head (her fault). She was indestructible.
By the summer of her 12th year she was REALLY cranky and getting slow, I wrote it off as getting old, and then one day I was heading back to college after visitng my parents and I saw her in the driveway, so I stop and give her a few pets, and a few turned into like a hundred, which was weird because she usually gave up after like five. She’s shoving her face and my hand, climbing up into my lap, purring like mad, and when I turned to go she chased me up the driveway, meowed a little, and wouldn’t let me leave until I pet her some more. She repeated this like three times and I suddenly got real sad for no reason and I knew right then I wouldn’t see her again. It was a nice moment, I was super sad, almost had tears in my eyes, just enjoying what I felt was my last moment with this cranky little cat. And so was she, that was the most affectionate I had seen her since she was a kitten, and the way she kept chasing me down and meowing at me when I tried to walk away…I guess she knew too. I never did see her again. She vanished about a month later. Just walked off and died, I guess. It was all good until my dad told me how he had to put away her food bowl.
So I guess that counts as love. That was the moment where I most loved my cat, and realized she loved me too.