It would be hard to say exactly when Norphan became part of our family...
The first time I saw him he was still a kitten--probably three or four months old. From the day I first saw him on my back porch, he wanted nothing more than to come inside. Of course I tried to avoid that since we already had four cats in a small two bedroom house. But I couldn't ignore him so I (of course) started feeding him on the porch. I don't think I have to say any more, do I? Within a short time, he was inside and part of a five-cat household.
Norphan was one of the most loving and loveable creatures I have ever known. I never heard him growl or hiss. He loved to butt heads--would run to the top of the steps when we were going upstairs so he could greet us at eye level when we were halfway up.
Norphan acquired several nicknames during his life--Norphanlini when he got acrobatic, The Nudgnik when he did his "gravity experiments" (knocking things off of tables, etc. to watch them fall), Little Guy when he was one and even when that name became a joke.
It's hard to say what it is that made Norphan so special. But it wasn't just his "immediate family" that recognized it. When he became sick with the cancer that would ultimately take him away from us, he spent a fair amount of time at the vets' office. Everyone there loved him too--the doctors, the techs, and the other regular patients. Norphan was lovable, but he fought hard to get better. The vets were amazed that he hung on as long as he did. But that horrible time came when he knew and we knew that it was time to part ways. There wasn't a dry eye in the office that day. He was only twelve.
It's been over a year now and I still miss him. I hope he is well and playing with his brothers and now his sister at the Bridge.