For a family who has always had a lot of animals, a cat named Kitty sounds too simplistic.  However, you need to understand Kitty’s story.  Animals have their own story just like people, and sometimes their stories are quite profound.

Our last cat, Prissy had just died of kidney failure a month before.  (She had to be put to sleep in the end)  First of all, I am a dog person and always have been, but people dropped cats behind our house in the park, and they either found their way to our house, or as Prissy, I found her on the park road.  All of our cats became house cats  and lived from 12-15 years.  I absolutely said, “No more cats.”  And then Kitty walked through the yard.  I ignored her.  She kept coming through the yard, and I told Stacy, “Don’t talk to her, don’t feed her, and she will keep on going.”  Well, 2 weeks of ignoring her and that fateful day, I said, “Here Kitty Kitty,” and she came right to me.  Then she came on the porch and sat on Stacy’s lap and we fed her and that was it.

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But I was still determined to find her owner.  This cat obviously had a home, so I put an ad in the paper and waited.  Nothing.  Stacy was getting more and more attached to her, and I thought darn it another cat for years and years.

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Pepper, our only dog at the time liked to chase cats and was unduly excited about a cat around the house.  Another potential problem was looming.

At the end of the third day, I thought the cat was here to stay and decided to let the cat and dog get used to each other before bringing the cat in the house.  So I put the cat on the screen porch and left the dog in the yard, and closed the doggy door.  Pepper was carrying on like crazy and then all of a sudden, the barking stopped and I thought, Oh they have made peace.  So I go out to the back porch and Pepper had broken through the screen and the cat ran for her life and was sitting on the front porch again.

Then at 7PM the call came.  “I think you have my cat,” she said.  I didn’t give a full description in the paper because Kitty was totally black with a little white on her chest, and I asked her to describe the cat.  I had obviously found the owner.  So I thought, well, I have a busted porch, but Kitty’s owner has been found and that is a good thing.  She had been gone for 3 months living on the street.  And she had come over two major highways to get to Braehead from a subdivision near Burlington Coat factory.  I arranged for the woman to come the next day.

The owner told me that all of her dogs and cats could come in the doggy door when they wanted food or to be cooled off and that was the laundry room.  But she had recently gotten another dog and Kitty didn’t like that dog, so she left.

Kitty wasn’t over excited to see her owner and that was a surprise.  In fact she ran from her, and I scooped her up and handed her over, and she jumped and ran again.  The owner was devastated, and I said, I will catch her and call you back.  I got Kitty, put her in my car, and called the owner to get in the car and make peace with her and take her home which she did.

Well, we were getting our roof done Monday morning, a huge job, and there was Kitty right back on the porch Monday morning from 3 miles away.  But when she saw the workers she ran off.  She headed across the street to eat, and was so mad at us for sending her home, she wouldn’t come up the driveway even after the roof was done.

Stacy wanted her back, so I was down at the end of the driveway conjoling her in the gutters and ditches to no avail for days.  Finally, I told the neighbor, I will buy the food, if you feed her for me.  So I took a big bag of food and left it on their porch for months.  And graciously, the neighbor fed her along with her own cat.  Every time I saw Kitty, I would try to get her to come up that driveway.  Kitty would not do it.  This cat as most cats had a mind of her own.

And then months later, I called, “Here Kitty Kitty” and she followed me back up the driveway and stayed for 8 years.  Having found the owner gave me some valuable information.  Kitty was not a house cat, in fact, she had accidents all over the house if let in.  I knew she could never come in because we had already been through that with many pets before.  So Kitty began her life on the porch throughout the year.

Stacy just loved sitting out there once again with her on his lap.  Pepper got used to a cat on the porch and didn’t chase her down when we went out the door.  Except this once when Kitty landed on the roof.

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Winter times were particularly hard, but Kitty didn’t like the garage, so the chair on the porch had all sort of comforters on them, and I would almost make a tent where she could climb in and stay warm.  I never had an outdoor cat, and was afraid for her, but I felt life on the porch was better than her being homeless, and no one wanted an older cat.

When I went through that horrible ordeal with Stacy’s illness for 4 years, Kitty remained.  Then the last three years, it was just the three of us, and then after Pepper’s death, me and Kitty.

An important part of the story, I haven’t said is it was risky for me having Kitty out there.  She did bite me twice and I have an arm at risk for lymphedema if I am not very careful, so I had to weigh the risk and the benefit, and I was very careful she didn’t claw me.  In other words, I could never give her the attention that Stacy gave her, but I still felt that the limited attention she did get from me and Mrs. Perry gave was enough.  I guess it was, because she stayed.

Last year, Kitty did something extraordinary for me.  A red fox had a litter of  nearby and she was teaching them to hunt.  One of the young foxes was coming through the garage and freaked me out.  I started to scream, and yell and the  fox went away.  Next thing I know, the fox is coming up the front walk to the porch.  Kitty, this little 8 pound cat, jumps between me and the fox and chases her away.  The fox could have killed her on the spot.  It was twice as big as Kitty.  It was then I knew how much I meant to that cat.  She was willing to give her life for me.  That was a humbling experience.

Kitty began losing weight several months ago, and I waited to take her in.  The blood tests were perfect, but the x-rays showed a lung problem, probably lung cancer or a lung fungus.  Either way, the fungus treatment they said doesn’t work well, and it was too dangerous for me to give her pills.  Plus she just wasn’t eating.  It looked like Kitty’s time was short.

And then I had to go to my niece’s graduation and would be gone a week.  I knew that I was probably saying goodbye to Kitty for the last time and left crying my eyes out.  But, Bless her heart, Mrs. Perry kept her going, and Kitty lived to see my return.  She looked the same as when I left.  I was so overjoyed to see her and spend time with her in her last days. But that was not to be.

Then an hour after I had taken Mrs. Perry home, her breathing became more labored.  In retrospect, I wonder if I rushed her in, but the vet told me to watch her breathing so she wouldn’t suffer.  I spent time with her on the porch petting her and crying, and telling her how much she had meant to myself and Stacy and that she might be with him soon.

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Last pictures of Kitty when I was saying goodbye

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Mrs. Perry went with me to take in Kitty to the emergency clinic,  and that turned into a disaster.  My vets at Chancellor Animal Clinic were always wonderful, and had euthanized 3 cats and two dogs plus many others, and I know how it should go.  But they stressed  Kitty so much that she went into respiratory arrest and I didn’t get to say a proper final goodbye.  I have to deal with that emergency clinic, because what they did just wasn’t right.  They had no regard for a grieving pet owner especially at the front desk.  I could sic Holly on them, but I will do it myself.

Kitty took her last breath in the vets arms as he came in the room.  Her pupils were dilated and I was just beside myself.  Of course, I felt guilty having brought her to that place so quickly and how she was treated.  The first words out of my mouth were, “Kitty I am so sorry.”  Those words are telling because that is just how I felt and still feel.

I ask a million zillion questions at a vet and at a doctor’s visit, and the one time I trust without asking what they are going to do, they screwed up.

Everyone tells me that I must let this go, and perhaps with time I will after I write that letter.

I haven’t cried this hard since Stacy died.  I didn’t realize how much I loved a cat that was always here like a visitor at a hotel with a temporary name, Kitty.  When the vet told me I first brought her in 8 years ago, I was shocked, but from my pictures knew it was true.  No one in the family thought it was that long either.

So Kitty is in a better place.  I was not going to have her cremated, but decided to do that too.  Kitty waited for me to come home from that trip, obviously because she loved me as much as I loved her.

It seems so strange not to have a cat bed on the porch and the feeding dishes, and Kitty not sitting by the front door waiting for breakfast.  I miss most of all Kitty coming into the garage to greet me whenever I came home.  She greeted me that same way on her last day.

I might have run a Kitty hotel for 8 years, but the joy that cat brought Stacy, and the comfort she brought me after his death were immeasurable.  Kitty, I will always love you.  You were one of a kind.  And you are back with Stacy once again.Group 6 June-sept05cruise 351

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