Our tomcat, Boots, was one of our first rescues. He showed up with his momma and brother in our garage six years ago. He was friendly. We had him neutered. He lived in the garage that fall and winter.
The following spring, a new stray momma cat joined our outside cats and ate with them in the garage. A few weeks later, she brought two kittens around. One day, she left them. We didn’t see her again until the following spring (that’s a story for another day.)
The new kittens were skittish and we couldn’t tame them. Boots became like a surrogate father to them. You could find them all cuddled together on a carpet in the garage. Even as they got older, they still liked to hang around Boots. Then the female came up missing. Just last winter, the young male cat died.
Boots is still around. He has another companion now, a spayed female that couldn’t adjust to being in the house. Boots seems like an old man, even though he is only six years old. He’s considered one of our household now but remains an outside cat.