At 11am, Saturday morning our beloved kitty, Katie, died suddenly from unknown causes. She was four years old this month.
We adopted Katie and her twin brother, Jumpy from kitten rescue, when they were just eight weeks old. They were from a feral litter where the mother was killed when the kittens were around three weeks old. At the time we adopted her, we were warned that eventually Katie would need to have an operation to fix a birth defect. There was a space between her abdominal sac and pericardium surrounding her heart that had not completely closed, and her intestines were pushing through and affecting her heart and lungs. When she was four months old, her weight reached four pounds and Katie was able to have the operation. She came through it with flying colors, and the very next day was up and playing like she had only skinned her knees slightly. Even after the operation, her natural breathing pattern remained short and quick.
Right after her surgery, Katie really came into her own. Her heart and lungs no longer restricted, her play increased dramatically, and we got to see her personality emerge. She and her brother were very close, and they slept, groomed and played together. Sometimes they were so rambunctious, we thought we were watching and episode of world wrestling smack down. Even though our oldest kitty Sprocket, ruled the house with his size, intelligence and orneriness, Katie (at ten pounds, she was tiny compared to everyone else) soon took over as the "owner" of the house. It was a certain look that she would get on her face, that told you she was in charge. She had to know everything that was going on. She soon became my husband's favorite fur child, whose daily ritual would be to follow him into the bathroom every morning for some special bonding and play. Once she was in the bathroom, she didn't leave until she completed her routine of checking everything out.
Katie never took to being picked up, and would shy away if you reached out to her. You could point an finger out and she would come up to sniff it just to check, but that was it. She was very quick, and often difficult to catch if we needed to brush her or take her for a checkup. Occasionally though, she would wake one of us up in the morning by sitting on our hip, until we got out of bed to get breakfast for all the kitties. When I would be working on a client in my treatment room, she would get on her hind legs, and push her front paws as high as she could reach on the door to open it. Making a circuit of the room, she had to investigate all corners to ensure that nothing was amiss. By the time she was ready to leave, the door would have almost closed, and she sometimes spent a considerable amount of time, trying to get the door open again. When she couldn't, out would come her petite, high pitched little trill.
Her favorite play toys were a mass of feathers on a long stick, and the noisily aluminum crinkle balls. Playing with the feathers, my husband was able to get her to jump three feet high. Other times, when all the other kitties were fast asleep, she would let you know she wanted to play crinkle ball, by standing on her hind legs, stretching her paws up on top of my desk, and letting out that little trill. Often times, her voice was so faint you could hardly hear it. Other times, she would play with the crinkle ball or a golf ball by herself, using her hind leg like a soccer player, getting it started. She would also let out that little trill if someone was sitting in the rattan chair by the front door, and she wanted to sit there. It was as if to say, "Your in my spot!" Katie also loved to crawl under a purple baby blanket to take a nap that I kept at the foot of our bed.
My husband was the one who first noticed her extreme distress. Soon afterward, though still breathing, that special look she would get on her face was gone, and at that point he knew she was dying. Not long after she passed, we went and purchased a special box for her casket. Several hours later, we wrapped her in that purple blanket, placed a favorite crinkle ball and some catnip in with her, and buried her near the ash tree where my husband and I were married. Today, we are engraving a river rock with her name for a marker. It will say, "Katie, owner of the house."
As soon as I can figure it out, I will put up some photos of Katie so you can see what a delightful, beautiful kitty she was.