Penzance, Minu, Kitty. A cat of three names. She deserved more. She was indeed the coolest cat I’ve ever known. I was once indifferent to cats, thinking them inferior to their canine friends. It was Kitty that turned me around.
She was tough and wild. She got her start in a tough and wild place: Ward, Colorado–a mountain town nestled in the foothills of the Rockies known for its beautiful setting and wild west character. The inhabitants are said to have blocked traffic by standing in the middle of the road and taking an inhospitable stance while holding rifles over their shoulders. She must have learned from Ward’s cowboys, ‘cuz she was never one to run. Kitty saw her fair share of crazy dogs and angry cats. She always stood her ground and every time, except one, the bigger, louder, more obnoxious critter backed down. I always admired that about her. And she was wild. A great mouser. She meant business, her mice weren’t left for presents. Nope, she ate ’em. Every last bite except the intestines. She knew how to stay healthy.
She was flexible. She started out moving at least two times a year as I navigated student housing in Boulder, Colorado. She lived with one other cat, four different dogs, a rat, and two ferrets, all in a three-year span. She never seemed phased. She lived in rugged Red Cliff where wild dogs ran free. She loved to sun herself on the rocky hillside, nestled amongst the wild flowers. She was a beautiful. We challenged her flexible nature by subjecting her to what might have been the most extreme habitat change an animal could experience. One day she was mousing in the mountains and the next she was an indoor cat, perched in the windows of an almost urban apartment. We worried about her, but she managed. Shortly after becoming a city cat, she broke her leg. How she managed to accomplish that in the safest environment she had ever lived baffled us. After she recovered from the spirit-killing purple cast, she found happiness in her little apartment nest. After another move back to the mountains, a long stay with our dear friend Geraldine, and several years in high-density housing where dodging cars, navigating the social hierarchy of high-density cat living, and putting up with toddler loves were her greatest challenges, she finally made it to New Mexico, where she lived out her last days peacefully, cuddled up in quiet corners at home or sprawled out under the bushes in the dirt and snow. Kitty always stayed true to her flexible self. She didn’t seem to have an unhappy day.
She was a lover, not one of those cats that runs under the bad when guests arrive. Most everyone that knows us, knows kitty. She’d gladly occupy any lap. People fell in love with her. It was impossible not to. And though I wouldn’t say she loved kids, she sure could make you think otherwise. She’s been carried upside down, had her tail pulled so many times it makes me cringe, and been layed on, rolled over and chewed on. And she did it all with grace.
We always said that if we could, we would clone kitty. She was perfect. That didn’t happen, but she will surely remain, for the rest of our lives, the kitty against which all other kitties are measured. I don’t think anyone will ever measure up.
Goodbye Kitty. We will miss you. We know we’ll see you in the scurrying mice, the darting dragonflies, the twittering birds, and the basking lizards.
If you knew Kitty, I would enjoy hearing one of your memories of her.