I first met Lea, though I didn't know her name at the time, in early November, just days after the sale of the house closed. I was in the new kitchen, making notes for the remodel, when I heard yowling outside. I opened up the door, and a scrawny cat with patchy fur and protruding hip bones peeked cautiously at me from the bushes. I called her over and, though timid at first, she climbed right into my lap, purring. The only food I had in the house was half of a burrito, but I scooped out some of the innards, which she gobbled up. The poor thing was clearly starving.
I bought some proper cat food the next day and returned with some in a tupperware, which I left on the front porch. When I visited two days later, it was gone, but Lea was there, waiting expectantly. Over the next month I refilled the bowl and allowed Lea to climb into my lap on occasion, noting that I didn't seem to be too allergic to her (perhaps my allergy shots really were working). When construction started, I handed over kitty food duty to the main contractor, who said Lea was the sweetest cat he had encountered.
( How she came to be an indoor-only cat in our house ... )
We confirmed with the previous owners that at least to their knowledge, Lea hadn't ever gotten a FIV vaccine, which would also create a positive test result. We also found out that she was not 13, but a whopping 16 years old -- old even for healthy cat standards!
So that's Lea. I hope you get a chance to meet her sometime. Though sometimes shy, she's an incredibly sweet cat.