In memorium

We got two amazing cats when we finally moved into an apartment that allowed them.  Little Kitty and Big Kitty.  We’d initially gone to get Little Kitty and decided she needed a companion.  Big Kitty was in her room at the shelter.  A big soft short-hair calico, mostly white with small black and ginger patches.  When we came in the room, she was sociable, gave us some love and pettings and then after a while went back to her little house area.  After checking out the other cats, we decided she was just right… loving and sociable but not too clingy.

Her sheet said she’d come from a house with too many cats and that she loved dogs and children.

The women at the animal shelter said she had a heart condition and they didn’t expect her to be adopted.  They hadn’t even listed her.  We’ll take her anyway, we said.

We gave her heart medication each day.  DH picked up her prescription refill today.

She was a beautifully behaved cat.  She didn’t go on counters (except when she thought we weren’t looking and then would jump down if seen), and never understood why we let Little Kitty jump on them.  She mainly just tolerated Little Kitty, but she also taught semi-feral Little Kitty how to do important cat things, like how to meow.

Big Kitty always wanted to be alpha cat, even though Little Kitty doesn’t understand social hierarchies.  Sometimes Little Kitty would accidentally become alpha, which was always funny because Little Kitty was about half the size of Big Kitty and really had no idea what was going on with the dominance games.

Big Kitty liked hard catfood a lot, and deferred to Little Kitty over who got first dibs on the soft food because that’s the one thing Little Kitty would defend, and it’s easier to keep your alpha status if you don’t have to fight for it.

Big Kitty’s short hair turned out to have a longer undercoat in the winter.  She was the softest kitty imaginable.  We had to make sure she had special catfood because she’d throw up most kinds of high quality food, but Little Kitty needed something high quality to keep her fur from getting dry.  We won’t have to buy Purina One Sensitive Systems anymore.  We also had to ration her food because otherwise she’d throw it up (and she’d get overweight).  After many experiments with water pistols and so on to try to keep her from waking us up wailing for food, we set up a catfood timer.  We’ll have to reset that for one cat, or just get rid of it since Little Kitty never overate anyway.  Or maybe Garage Cat will start sharing with Little Kitty now that Big Kitty is no longer keeping him in the guest bedroom.  I suppose we could move his stuff now.  These words seem so cold but my heart is breaking so hard every time I think about how things are going to change.

DH was her favorite.  Occasionally she’d try to take my side of the bed so she could be with him.  But she’d give it up grudgingly.

She was super cuddly with me when I got pregnant both times.  After DC1 was born and before we started cosleeping, we’d close the door because Big Kitty loved the Pack N Play and you don’t want to accidentally smother a baby.  Big Kitty would wail outside the door to be let in.  It was so much easier to sleep when we gave that up.

As advertised, she was great with children.  Wonderful with both babies.  She started swiping a bit at tail pulls and so on when DC1 got old enough to know better, but with DC2 she didn’t even mind those, especially since we’d give her hairball treats after each new indignity.

She was great at finding missing kittens when we misplaced them.  She’d guard and hiss, but was never actually mean to the four stray cats.  She used every one of the extra litter boxes.

She had her favorite spots in the house.  DC1’s bed, both on top and under.  The corner of my closet.  The armrest on the overstuffed chair.  She won’t be there anymore, even if traces of her soft white fur still remain.

At 4 something pm when DH was home, she started panting and meowing and her back legs didn’t work.  While I got the kids, DH called the vet and then another bigger vet and got her in the carrying case and took her to the hospital.  She’d had a stroke and was in a lot of pain.  A heparin shot would loosen that and she might survive, but given her heart condition, it was unlikely she would make it after her blood started flowing again and even if she did, she’d continue to have strokes.  DH had to make a decision and he couldn’t contact me because my phone was dead, so he called his mom.  Big Kitty was in pain and didn’t know what was going on and he petted her and said goodbye.  When I finally got home and called him I couldn’t understand what he was saying because he was crying so hard.

The vet has said many times that Big Kitty has lasted longer than any other cat she’s seen with this heart condition.  She wasn’t an old kitty, but she was middle aged.  Still spry, but not quite as much as she used to be.  Without the heart condition, she probably would have had many more years, but with the heart condition, we’re lucky we’ve had her this long.  They asked DH to donate her body to the state vet school because of it and DH decided to do that.  They’ll send us a cast of her paw in return.

It’s so hard to believe she won’t be around anymore.  She’s gone suddenly with only an hour or so of pain; she didn’t waste away.   If we didn’t have to change anything I could just pretend that she’s in a different hiding spot than where I’m looking.  I wouldn’t have to know that she’s gone.  She’s lived a good life and was a wonderful kitty.  We will miss her so much.

Good-bye, Big Kitty.  We will always love you.

Big Kitty's last photo

Big Kitty’s last photo


33 Responses to “In memorium”

  1. plantingourpennies Says:

    I’m so sorry. Heart conditions are terrible in people and in pets – taking those much too young who seem from the outside to have many good years left.

  2. Mina Says:

    Both cats I had since highschool died within a week of each other, on Christmas and New Year’s Eve, last year. Even if they were old, and they were living with my grandmother, it still hurt to think of them gone. I am sorry for your loss.

    Sorry to be rude to ask about what I think is a typo, under the circumstances, and I do ask for your pardon in advance, but why did you write “In MemoriUm”? Isn’t it “In MemoriAm”? I try to remember the Latin I had decades ago, and I might be mistaken, but there is no such declination form, or is there? Too lazy to google that one, sorry. Again. :-)

  3. What Now? Says:

    Oh no, I’m so sorry to hear this sad news. The only good thing is that she didn’t suffer for very long and sounds like she was her own true self until right before the end — but I know that’s a small comfort when one has lost a loved one.

  4. Linda Says:

    Condolences on your loss. I understand how you feel. Just over three years ago, one of my dogs went very suddenly from some unknown heart issue. Everything seemed fine until it was not. I found myself thinking that perhaps it was a better way to go than a long, painful illness. I only wish I could have been with her at her last moments, but the emergency vet needed me out of the way as they tried to drain her pericardium to give us a bit more time to figure out what exactly was going on. I still miss her every day, even though I have the other dog adopted shortly after her and she is a lovely, sweet thing who gives me much joy. Be well.

  5. Comradde PhysioProffe Says:

    Oh, my. So sorry for your loss. Our previous cat to PhysioCatte had a heart condition, too, and died suddenly one night.

  6. Bardiac Says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. My thoughts are with you.

    And this is a beautiful tribute.

  7. Leigh Says:

    What a beautiful tribute. My thoughts are with you and your family, including Little Kitty.

  8. Contingent Cassandra Says:

    So sorry. She looks, and sounds, like a lovely cat, and clearly she landed in the right place to spend her life, of whatever length, happily.

  9. Amanda@LadyScientist Says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. The dog my parents got while I was in high school passed away from cancer a few years ago. I cried so hard in the lab when I got the news. I’m so sorry.

  10. Dr. Koshary Says:

    My condolences to your family. I know how hard it is to lose a family pet, even when you know it’s time.

  11. Rented life Says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss.

  12. Cloud Says:

    I’m so sorry. What a beautiful tribute to a wonderful cat.

  13. Fiona McQuarrie (@all_about_work) Says:

    So sorry for your loss, I know how hard this is. Hugs to you and your family.

  14. Alyssa Says:

    I am so sorry – how heartbreaking. Sending lots of hugs your way.

  15. JaneB Says:

    So sorry for your loss – virtual hugs and empathy. She sounds like a wonderful furry family member

  16. Miser Mom Says:

    You say, ” I suppose we could move his stuff now. These words seem so cold but my heart is breaking so hard every time I think about how things are going to change.”

    Yes. Those people and animals we love change so much about our lives, even way we move through physical spaces. And it’s the little reminders that seem to be the heartbreakers often, because they do seem so small a thing to others, and so personal and significant to those who know.

    Thank you for such a beautiful description of Big Kitty. I think we all wish we had the magic words of healing for you and your family.

  17. Allyson Says:

    So sorry for your loss. Thinking of all of you.

  18. Rosa Says:

    I’m so sorry. We lost 3 kitties in 2 years – two elderly, one just foolhardy – and it left a bigger hole than I would have imagined. Big Kitty was as lucky to have you as you were to have Big Kitty.

  19. bogart Says:

    Oh dear, I’m so sorry. I’m glad your DH was home with her and that you were able to get her to the vet quickly and make the necessary decisions — and that perhaps the vets and students studying her will learn more about how to help other kitties with her condition. I’m sorry there is a Big Kitty-sized hole in your home and family.

  20. zenmoo Says:

    I’m sorry – well loved pets leave a big gap in your the heart when they die, and it sounds like Big Kitty was very well loved.

  21. L Says:

    Big Kitty was a lucky cat to have your family. So sorry for your loss; that was a beautiful tribute.

  22. Leah Says:

    What a wonderful kitty. Thank you for sharing your kitty tales with us. Your post reminds me of the book we read as a kid whenever one of our animals had to be put down: The Tenth Good Thing About Barney ( I am so sorry for your loss, and I appreciate your family’s selflessness in donating Big Kitty to science.

  23. exoboist Says:

    Oh dear. I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of Big Kitty. This was lovely and she had a great home.

  24. life_of_a_fool Says:

    I am so sorry for your loss! It’s all the harder when it’s so sudden, I think. This is a lovely tribute, and I love the photo!

  25. gwinne Says:

    Oh, I’m so sorry. I had two cats (bio siblings) die of undiagnosed cardiomyopathy, both suddenly and unexpectedly. I think pet death is hard no matter how it happens. Thinking of you.

  26. J Liedl Says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. It’s been a year since we lost Ozzie, our Staffie Bull, but there are still days when I swear I see him out of the corner of my eye.

  27. Ana Says:

    Sorry I’m late to reply but have been sending virtual comfort and condolences your way since I read this last weekend. That tribute was so touching, it choked me right up. Losing a pet is so so hard.

  28. Flavia Says:

    I’m so very sorry. Thinking of you and your furry and human family.

  29. Mutant Says:

    I’m sorry :( It’s hard when the creatures we become attached to are suddenly gone. I’m sorry your heart (and DH’s too) is breaking and it hope it feels a little better soon.

  30. Revanche Says:

    I’m so sorry. Big Kitty sounds so lovable and I have a lump in my throat learning about her. She was lucky to have had you and you her. <3

  31. Little Kitty | Grumpy Rumblings (of the formerly untenured) Says:

    […] took her home with the friendly Big Kitty we also picked out that day.  She hid for a while in a built-in cupboard.  At lunch I gave her […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: