When my son Chip (Christopher) was 12 years old I decided he needed a cat. Really, he didn’t, but I was going through chemotherapy, finishing up a long divorce, selling our home, had just buried my mother four months earlier, and was moving halfway across the country…you know, in case I died so that the boys would have family to take care of them and my estate. At the time I had two businesses I ran worth over one million dollars, two homes, two cars, two dogs, four cats, and two little boys. It was a lot to handle. So, Chip needed (wanted) a cat.
My boys and I were longtime fans of the TV show ‘Charmed’ and Chip wanted a Siamese cat. Yes, I knew they can jump great distances. Yes, I knew they could be yowly. Yes, I knew what a pain in the @$$ they could be, but I thought, with everything in my life in chaos, why not?
One day, the local shelter had cats at the local pet supply house in Morro Bay. None of the cats were Siamese and Chip had his heart set on one. We drove about thirty miles to Atascadero to a no-kill shelter because the people with the animals said there was probably a Siamese cat or kitten there.
This no-kill shelter was amazing. Someone had donated an A-frame house and it had rooms full of cats and kittens. Upstairs was just for the kittens. On the desk as you walked in was a big old tom cat that simply wanted a little petting (not too much) and to be left alone. But, he was probably one of the largest Siamese seal-points I had EVER seen. I was in love. Chip, not so much. He wanted a KITTEN! He had his heart set on one, and I, sap that I was, was too weak to argue. So, up the steps we trudged to see these kittens. There must have been over three dozen kittens, of various breeds, shapes and sizes running free and socializing in this room. We sat down in the middle and the boys began to play. It was hilarious to watch a bouncy ball go shooting around with all these kittens chasing, leaping, and jumping after it. Some were too cool to care. Some watched intently but didn’t join in. There were a couple of kittens that sort of looked like Siamese, but many times the dark browns of a cat like that do not show up until they grow up and mature. Chip was not finding a Siamese and I could see he was disappointed. We were there a while and looked at all sorts of cats.
Out of nowhere he said he had found his kitten. He showed me this ugly little calico cross, almost white kitten. The mottled look on its face made it look lopsided, it cut down its little nose. Its eyes were a startling pale blue and the pupils were RED! Much to my dismay, he said he wanted THIS kitten. The caretaker tried to assure me that it had ‘some’ Siamese in it. Nuh uh, I wasn’t buying that story. However, Chip had arguments ready and convinced me this was the one.
They explained she (most Calico’s are female), was actually albino. This meant they wanted to make sure that we wouldn’t let her outside and showed us a cat that had burned ears and nose from sunburn, GROSS! I told them it would be an indoor cat. They also wanted to make sure I got it spayed. No problem there, I’m a firm believer in no accidents for my pets. I did try, I really did, to convince Chip that this ugly little kitten wasn’t…oh well, they took my checks, one to pay for the adoption and one that would be cashed if I didn’t prove within a month that I had her spayed. They put this monster, who immediately began to cry/yowl (to the best of her kitten ability-she was still LOUD), into a box and we were on our way home.
As we were driving down Hwy 101, Chip cried, “It’s trying to get out!”
I was like, “So let it, what’s it going to do? Run away?” We were, after all, in an enclosed SUV, going seventy…where’s it going to go? Turned out that’s all the scratching and clamoring kitten wanted was to get out of that box and see what was going on. She was HAPPY to be out of the box and looking around. I glanced in the back seat repeatedly to see her standing happy, letting both boys pet her and her tail was hung high as she proudly accepted their worshipful adoration. I looked closely and said, “That is in NO WAY a Siamese.” Chip wanted to argue and I said, “Look at those paws!” They were HUGE! Siamese are really very dainty and graceful, this monster was neither dainty and, we found later, not graceful at all, the clutz.
Once we got her home and the other cats hissed, disdained, and sniffed the new addition I began a web-search. I found out she was indeed NOT a Siamese. Kitkat (the name Chip TOLD me he had named her, but I really knew it was shortened to Kit after the cat on Charmed) was thrilled to meet the other cats, had no clue that Flash, our Queen-cat HATED her on sight, that spitting was not a greeting, or that the rubbing against the dog was NOT appreciated by the Golden Retriever. Sophie, our Golden Retriever KNEW she couldn’t chase this pain in the ass, cat’s ruled in this household. Kitkat discovered the six-foot cat-tree I had purchased earlier that year. She was like, this is ALL for ME! She would hug it with her long legs wrapped around it. She would walk, literally walk, like velcro up the side of this tree. She was agile, I will give her that. I referred to her as velcro-kitty.
When we moved across the country back to Wisconsin, she was the first out of the kennel that we kept the four cats that would move with us (one decided to stay in CA, wouldn’t let us catch him). Whenever we were in a hotel…and there were several, she’d be the first to come out and check out the room. Buster and Flash, not so quick, a wee bit more cautious than Kit who was SURE everyone and everything was there FOR her. Casper was always the last.
Kitkat was sure everyone loved her. She bonded with Chip until he went to college. She played with and tormented the much smaller Casper, who did the same back, but in a much subtler way. Kitkat grew, and grew, and grew! I had found on my web-search that she was an Albino Balinese/Calico cross. You could see the Albino in the pink ears, pink nose, and red pupils!
Think Siamese, but on STEROIDS! I measured her tail once, it alone was eighteen INCHES! She was all solid mass and big bones, never fat. She had to be over twenty pounds. She never had a clue that she was HUGE. She’d rub against the dog, waking her up, and practically moving her over. Flash never stopped spitting at her, but Kit never had a clue that it wasn’t a love-spit. Buster, he loved everyone but he was the only male in our female-dominated zoo. Can’t tell you how many times this huge cat tried to trip me with her huge body.
We raised gerbils for a while, and damned if Kitkat didn’t get those things when they got out. I had crying boys on my hands from time to time as she took care of anything (gerbils) that shouldn’t be there, including flies, crickets, or anything that crawled. That was one thing I adored about her, she got her hunting on and took care of business. I took care of carcasses.
One by one over the years our animals grew old Flash went first at seventeen and a half. She went blind and then awhile later her kidney’s shut down. Buster, her brother and littermate a year later, the same way. Sophie is gone now.
Two years ago I returned from P-Town to find Casper a mess and took her to the vet. Last year I almost lost Kitkat twice due to salt in her food from the grocery store, and I babied her back with wet-food. She has gotten so she demands wet-food every day even though she wasn’t raised on it. Since there are no other animals, humans either than me, she has gotten very demanding of me. I can’t leave the house that she doesn’t voice her opinion of my leaving, or of my coming home. I always thought it was just for food, but only recently realized it was her not wanting me to leave her home for too long.
Kit hated to be petted, which I did ANYway, because it annoyed her…the entire length of her big furry body, tweaking the tail, because, well, you know, it was THERE. She only liked her ruff being rubbed, petted, and with my long nails, scratched. She enjoyed chewing on MY nails when she got the chance. I loved, loved, LUVED her huge paws which I would play with. Did you know cats are ticklish on their paws? Did you know Kitkat was never declawed and tickled back, although, not in the way I was tickling her…lol. She was definitely a strong personality as I got to know her better over the years. I even put up a file drawer for her at the end of my bed so she could make it up easier (and to keep her from shredding my sateen sheets with her claws), and she used it to spring up on the high bed. She even took over ‘her’ side of my queen sized bed and I even gave her the extra pillows to shed on.
When I got my new laptop years ago, she had to lay on it and ironically, balanced her head on the rollerball mouse.
She never learned HOW to cuddle on her own, instead she would stand there, waiting for me to pull her in to my side so she could put her paws on my shoulder, many times forgetting to sheath the claws, and purr. Gawd, could she purr! She also learned this last year or so to head-butt her love of me, she still had no clue about her immense size or strength, sometimes that HURT!
I corrupted that cat after Chip went off to college, taught her to beg, much to my dismay and amusement. I always thought with those pale blue eyes and vacant look that she wasn’t that bright, but really, I found out she was a brilliant cat and she made me love her, even when I thought she was ‘just’ my son’s cat.Once we both realized that Chip wasn’t coming home for her, she began to add me to her little quirks. One habit she had was that she liked water. Not deliberately mind you, but rather sneak attacks. It all started when I had the audacity to CLOSE the bathroom door, you know, to USE it? Paws began to appear under the door and a very determined MEOW was heard, demanding to be let in. I learned to keep the door to the bathroom AND my bedroom OPEN at ALL times to her majesty. Bathing, I learned that she wanted to be petted, with my wet hand, but only if she was looking AWAY…so she could ‘act’ all indignant over this ‘surprise attack’ and then lick away the excess. Took her a long time to ‘train’ me on THAT one! I can remember laying deep in a luxurious bath and, first cat ears, and then cat eyes came over the edge of the tub
(cue Jaws music), before she hopped up on the side and DEMANDED that I pet her! I learned over the years to get as much on her coat as she came back time and time again and to get it deep in the coat so she had plenty to lick off. Strange cat! I KNOW she laid in that tub when I wasn’t around because the drain caught all that cat hair I would find! She definitely was ruling the roost, but I tossed her off my bed when she tried to lay on it after ‘her’ bath and was wet!
Today I had to make the hard decision that at fifteen and a half Kitkat needed to go to the vet to be put down. I’m so going to miss that big lug, but it was time. She’s had a good life and given me plenty of laughs (cats hate to be laughed at).
RIP KITKAT…you were loved.