About 8 years ago my mother’s friend, Mrs. Smith, died. Mr. Smith had died just a few months prior. My mother had known her for 30 years. She ended up adopting their cat, Kiwi.
Kiwi was 11 years old, black-and-white, and had no tail. She was a manx cat, and her tail was about 3/4″ long. She was also incredibly fat. So fat that we thought it couldn’t be fat, because it wasn’t flabby. It was tight. We thought maybe she was so muscular she looked fat. We took her for a checkup, but the vet said, “Oh no, that’s fat. She’s incredibly obese.”
She never acted like a cat. Her people had treated her like a dog, it seems. She moved like a combination of a scotty dog and a rabbit, and her fat tailless body looked like a cinderblock with a cat head stuck on the end.
She didn’t interact like a cat. She would waddle up to you and turn around, so you could pet her on her back. That’s it. No rubbing, no lap, just you petting her. You might as well pet the arm of the chair for all you got out of it. It was a one-way interaction for her.
But I felt sorry for her. It was all she knew. It’s how she was treated. And she never changed, never got more social.
She used to ride in an RV to the Smith’s ranch every weekend. For the longest time I thought the cat was from New Zealand, but it turned out the Smith’s just grew kiwi fruit on their ranch.
But she never gave up hoping when she went out the back door, that it would be her ranch. She never gave up hoping that her people would come back to pick her up.
3 1/2 years ago, my mother died. Kiwi was now my father’s charge, one more person removed from her real family.
Finally, a couple of months ago, we could see the end was coming. She got weaker and weaker. She was 18 or 19, I suppose, and started doddering around, peeing anywhere and even laying down in it. She wasn’t sick, just very, very elderly.
On Wednesday morning she didn’t get up. She just lay in her little green basket and slept.
On Friday morning, she was gone.
My wife put daisies on her grave.