I said goodbye to my beautiful Miss Kitty this weekend. At 18 years old, she had arthritis, kidney disease, and a thyroid condition, but she continued to stare down anyone who brought chicken into the house even to the end (even at 5 pounds, that girl could LOOM). She was the first animal I adopted as an adult, and I miss her dreadfully.
When I went looking for a cat to adopt, I was still suffering from the hideous cat allergy I had as a kid. Ginny found Miss Kitty for me on Petfinder. A Siberian, Kitty didn’t produce the protein in her saliva that triggered allergies. I had her shipped to me from Minnesota (apparently dander-free cats are in short supply in Indiana).
Miss Kitty came to me when she was already 6 years old, and I think she was ill-treated in her first home. She spent the first three months mostly hiding under beds. But we bonded the week I had the flu. She spent three days in bed with me while I recovered, and after that, I was her human.
For several years, Kitty was clearly a one-woman cat, not at all interested in visitors. But as she got older, she would occasionally stroll out to allow other people to admire her. She spent a good deal of time on the back of the couch, and a perch on the side table next to the couch was hers in all but lease agreement.
Miss Kitty came to me with some ridiculous name (Grand Duchess Anna Karenina, or something equally silly). I called her Miss Kitty, short for Dander-Free Kitty the Hypoallergenic Cat. Dander or not, though, she had hair like a yak. Three coats, all prone to matting, but soft as an angora rabbit. As Ginny said at the vet today, we didn’t need to ask for a lock of her hair, since we’ll be finding it in the house for the rest of our lives.
She did indeed have the bearing of a Russian duchess, but she had the temperament of a feather bed. I have never met a sweeter cat. She loved to have her belly rubbed and never, never tried to shred my hand when she had enough. She would hold her front legs straight out in front like the arms of a zombie so I could rub her armpits and mumble “Brains…” She was endlessly patient with her clueless human.
Before the arthritis made it uncomfortable for full-on cuddles, she would spent cold nights wrapped completely around my head, like some kind of Russian fur hat. And she was fascinated by bathwater. I cried in the tub tonight without her napping on the toilet seat next to me, waiting for the tub to drain so she could lick the soapy water.
She was food-driven in a way none of our other animals are. She had no problem waking me up ON THE DOT to ensure I delivered her cans of wet food at a time of her choosing. And she was tenacious in pursuit of human food. She’d start by staring at you, then tilt her head this way and that. Eventually, she’d just start inching closer to you until you gave in.
Despite her sweet, sweet nature, she had Ginny thoroughly cowed. Whenever Gin brought food home, she debated eating it in the car so that she wouldn’t have to fight off Kitty.
We took her to my wonderful cousin Shelly Mullen, the vet at Franklin Falls Animal Clinic. Shelly made Kitty’s last minutes as gentle and peaceful as I could have hoped for. I held her in my arms as she fell asleep, feeling the last of her tension melt away as she escaped from her aches.
Darling Miss Kitty, thank you for letting me be your human. I hope they were waiting for you on the other side with buffets of fresh tuna and rotisserie chicken. I love you, pretty girl.