PaLady I am going to horn in here. I am a cat lover myself. I lost my old kitty last year to old age. She was the "upstairs cat". She stayed upstairs and had the run of it because of my dogs. She too was a stray, she was sitting on a little patch of brown grass on the curb at the end of my drive. It was going to turn very cold that night and I brought her in and she stayed from that point on. Her name was Eve and she was solid grey short hair. She really developed a personality. She liked to sit in my computer chair with me at night or sit in front of the monitor. lol.
I too saw the cat house on Animal Planet and could not believe it. Totally awesome.
My sister has 5 cats. All are indoor cats and she is im terrible health but she takes very good care of her kitties. A couple came from the Humane Society and the rest were strays. She took the ones that no one else wanted at the Humane Society. Every time I go to PetsMart I always look at the cats and just drool, I want one so bad.
Palady, Eve came when it was "Jake & Willy" and I did not have the two little young heathens I have now lol. She did start to venture downstairs at times but only when I was down there. She was such a thing, she got to where she would come down and of course here come those two buzzards to check her out-they knew she lived upstairs lol. Willy was raised with my other cat he was no problem, but Jake I had to watch cause the little "street boy" came out from time to time when he saw my other cat. He would chase him lol. But Eve was a bold thing, she would plant those little feet and let out a real haughty meow that meant "don't mess with me" lol. There was no question what her meow meant either and she would just strut right on by them like they were invisible. I use to really have a laugh when she pulled this stunt. When I first brought her in the house she was such a small cat I thought she was a kitty until my vet told me she was an old kitty. She had been spayed as well, they shaved a little fur off of her belly and found what they thought was the scar which it was. So, at one point she belonged to someone. It just kills me how people will just tos an animal.
My husband has always said I will bring any stray home which is true. However, he has become terribly mellow towards animals and he is as bad as me now, lol. He bought the Brittany for our grandson, said Cole needed a dog to grow up with. My son has a huge grey tabby that has to be a Maine Coon he is so big. He is a pound baby. He looks full blood Maine Coon. The female golden I think I told you, he saw an ad in the paper "free to a good home." Well, I said there must be something wrong with her. This is the morning I was coming down the stairs to hear him say to someone on his cell phone "yes this is exactly what my wife and I have been looking for". When I got downstairs I said what have we been looking for and he grinned real big and told me about the golden. The lady was a home health nurse and she claimed she bought Jazz not knowing she would be a big dog and wanted to get rid of her. Well, the dog was 3 months old, had all of her papers to register her, which I did, she had been stuck out in the back yard and ignored. I rode sitting in the backseat of the truck with her just holding her she was scared to death. It took her just a few days to get use to Britt, he worried her to death, Jake ignored her except when she got wet lol. She does have the Alpha attitude for sure. But, she is very demanding which is common with goldens, they have to always touch you, so they may put a paw on your foot if you are sitting. They are big touchers.She turned one year old in April, Britt was two in May so I have young ones to tend to.
My sister is alone and those cats are really too much for her but she plugs along taking care of them. She is on oxygen with 40% lung capacity with oxygen so she tires so easily. Sometimes its all she can do to clean the 5 litter boxes every day and feed them. I do not know how she does it. She has a couple of females that are real talkers and if she gets on the phone they start in and you can hear them in the background, so funny.
You are so right, it is so expensive having animals. I know with Jake, I have spent over a $1000 in less than 3 months. This was just basic stuff no fancy studff going on. My vet still has kids in school so I think I am still helping save for their college fund. He has truly just gone out of sight on his fees. My daughter had a golden and he was sick and needed to be put down and he racked up $3,200 in charges on them before it was all said and done. They decided to get another vet and I don't blame them. I have already got myself another one lined up.
I wish you could get to a place where you were comfortable and able to get you a kitty as I know how much company one would be for you. I know how much mine have been a comfort to me after getting sick and being at home especially. Whenever I got down, Jake was right at my side, he even got up and went to the bathroom with me-no sliping away from him lol. Pets are truly special.