Summer 1995 - June 2, 2011
The Clarks and Bowers have always been dog people but then Kitty came to live with us and we decided we could be cat people too. My Papa took me to Walmart about a month before I left for college to get some supplies for my dorm room and a woman was standing in front of the store with a cart full of kittens. My mom had been talking about how she thought she might enjoy adding a cat to the family, so we called her from Walmart (on a payphone!) just to make sure I could really pick one out and bring it home. My dad came home from work to quite a surprise that night.
We didn't know if he was a boy or girl (remember, we were dog people and it's just not as obvious with cats) so even though we tried out a lot of names, Kitty was the one that stuck. I had suggested Marilyn after Marilyn Monroe but it ended up not being appropriate - what started as a little "freckle" of fur on his face as a kitten turned out to be a big spot of dark fur as an adult. And, of course, he turned out to be a boy.
Kitty was my dad's good buddy so he allowed my dad to teach him some dog tricks. Anything for one of his favorite treats. He learned how to shake and even roll over, although reluctantly. He definitely felt like it was beneath his dignity as a cat to do the latter, and it probably was.
Kitty had some strange tastes for a cat. He loved Doritos but would usually just lick all the flavor off the chip instead of biting into it. This sort of thing probably contributed to him being one of the biggest (fattest?) cats in our vet's practice for a while. He was almost as food-motivated as my labrador. He acted like every meal was going to be his last and he would eat as much as he could, as fast as he could. He might have half a bowl of food left, but if you picked up his bowl to add more, he would meow at you until you put it back down.
In his younger years, Kitty was pretty sensitive about being touched. He wanted to be loved on but when he was done, he was done, and you better stop or he would get you. This led to some rather unfortunate nicknames from the less cat-loving part of the family, all having to do with him being from the place that's the opposite of Heaven. But as he got older, he got a lot more cuddly. When my dad would come home from work, he would be waiting and he would jump on his shoulder or lay in his arms like a baby.
Kitty was always in very good health until just these last few weeks when he got a buildup of fluid around his heart and lungs. Our wonderful vet drained it and started him on medication but this morning the fluid was back and he was having trouble breathing. My parents scooped him up and drove him straight to Dr. Lange but the prognosis was not good. They had to make the hardest decision that pet parents ever have to make, but I truly believe it was the right decision in this case, and they got to be with him right to the end.
Kitty, you were a good cat. You changed my poor opinion about your breed to a positive one and we're thankful for the 16 years we had with you. We love you and miss you.