Shortly after midnight 17 years ago today, I heard yowling coming from my foster room.
I had been working with a cat rescue group and had a very pregnant feral cat in my care. We had trapped her intending to spay and release her. But, when we saw how far along she was in her pregnancy, we decided to let her have the kittens. We spayed and released her after the kittens were weaned.
The yowling that night told me the babies were on their way. The next morning, I went into my foster room to find five kittens — two gray, one gray and white, one black and one calico. Kira was the only longhair.
As they grew, we saw Kira’s personality develop. She was most definitely the boss. When I put two food dishes down, Kira put her front paws inside one dish and ate, forcing all four of her siblings to share the second dish.
When the kittens were ready for adoption, we decided to keep Kira Kat. The first time she met our alpha cat, a tortie named Big Zepp, the two sniffed noses and Zepp hissed. Tiny Kira just hissed right back. Two two quickly came to an understanding and coexisted peacefully until Zepp died about two years later. Kira had always deferred to Big Zepp, even when the older cat was ailing during the last few months of her life. Once Big Zepp went to the Rainbow Bridge, however, Kira made a point to sit in all of Zepp’s favorite spots, making it clear to the other cats that she was now in charge.
All of my cats have played significant roles in my recovery from a painful past. Kira’s role was to show me what complete trust looks like. I could literally do anything with her — cradle her in my arms like a baby, wrap her around my neck like a scarf or throw her over my shoulder like a sack of potatoes — and she would remain calm and relaxed. She especially liked to be handled like a sack of potatoes and wouldn’t even hold on. Her back feet would just dangle. She trusted me not to drop her. And I didn’t.
Kira Kat was my constant companion. When I worked in my home office, I would sit my Bankie (an orange security blanket) on the desk and Kira would nap on it. She slept on my pillow and she often followed me from room to room.
We had 15 wonderful years together. Kira Kat died peacefully in our house in Pennsylvania — the same house where she was born and lived her whole life — on Jan. 26, 2015. I still miss her.
As painful as it was to lose her, I am grateful I had the chance to have such a sweet sack of potatoes in my life.
Happy birthday, Sweetie. Rest in peace.