For a Good, Sweet Kitty

Our cat, Kiwi, had a lot of personality. She was the mouthiest cat I've ever met, but also the only cat I've ever known to crave/demand so much human attention. She became sick with kidney disease this past year and died on January 2nd, 2009. She was likely 18 years old.

I got her from the Humane Society in April of 2001 and the people that surrendered her said she was 11 years old with a long tail and liked to lay in the sun. I picked her out because she was social and talkative, and at the time I lived by myself in a studio apartment. A couple of weeks after I brought her home, I called a friend to ask if I could come over to escape Kiwi's constant talking. We contemplated dialing the phone for her so she could prank call someone else.

After the studio apartment, I moved into a co-op house where she had many more people to talk to. She became an outdoor cat after many days of demanding at the door that she be let outside. At first she would just follow people around the garden in the yard, but she then became bolder and bolder as the summer went on. Kiwi's most infamous story was the time I got a call from the Barrymore Theater in Madison. Someone checked her tag and called to inform me that Kiwi had talked one of the theater owners out of a chicken dinner and then waltzed up on stage to meow at the crowd that had paid to see the heavy metal band that was performing. I'm not kidding. She was on stage with the band 2 or 3 times that night. Her risk-taking behaviors increased in late summer/early fall when she was found lying in the middle of our side street just daring someone to tell her to get out of the road. Eventually, she got picked up by animal control and had to spend the night in kitty jail. When the authorities brought her home she was grounded to the indoors for the rest of her life. This probably annoyed my housemates to no end, but it shortly turned to winter and then Kiwi and I moved into our own place again.

We moved to a third floor apartment with only a door to a hallway that she could easily be caught in. She got used to the idea. On Gilman, she enjoyed the sunny south-facing windows with views of other rooftops and the chimney swifts. Kiwi came with me when I moved into my first apartment with Ben in Madison, but she had a difficult time adjusting to him being on her side of the bed. Eventually she disrupted his sleep enough that we had to find her a different place to sleep at night.

Kiwi always hated car rides and would scream and pant until the car stopped. We had to drug her to bring her to our new home in Beloit. She slept most of the way, but would wake to pitifully try to dig her way out of the cat carrier. She quickly became accustomed to the new house and enjoyed greeting my yoga students after class to try to get as much attention as possible before they would be allowed to go home. Once, on a sunny spring day, we put her outside in our tent so she could get some fresh air. She didn't like the idea and promptly peed in the tent. Kiwi was always a great mouser (even without front claws) and she caught at least 8 mice last winter in the basement. In the past two years she'd taken up studying math on Ben's lap while he graded homework on the couch.

Kiwi was always good to the children that visited us. She didn't actually like being touched by them or even near them, but would tolerate anything like a true martyr. Once, our nephew cornered her by the couch and laid his head on her soft fur and she put up with it until she could escape. The picture below was taken just last month for our Christmas card and shows just how much she'd put up with.

She was a good and sweet kitty to all who knew her and will be greatly missed.