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R.I.P. Kitty Brando (2001-2020), my beloved cat

The Kitty and I
The Kitty and I

I have a lot on my mind about the gradual yet sudden death of my best friend and fur child Kitty…  Even non-cat people have noted what a striking face she has, which does not resemble a human one at all. I chose the stage name Kitty Brando since she was a photogenically beautiful Tortie Point Siamese though not actually a talented actor. Her melodramatic inability to breathe was a genuine inability to breathe.

Not only did Kitty live a long and not particularly exciting life for a cat, but she was the perfect companion. Hardly ever complained or misbehaved and accepted my constant need for photos of her with a modest head turn. In the end, she wasted away to half her maximum weight (from 13lbs to 6.5lbs) and was blind, arthritic, and asthmatic (which was only recently discovered to be a cancerous mass in her throat).

Death became her

This is what eventually did her in, turns out the kidney disease was mild and arthritis was just part of old age. I took her once to the pet ER on Imperial near Best Buy in October 2019, when I noticed the odd positions she was sitting in. This was the first wakeup call to her long list of ailments. I’d nursed her back to health a few times after, but this was when reality set in that she wouldn’t be around much longer.

The breathing issues became noticeable on March 4, 2020, during which I brought her several times to a vet in Yorba Linda who helped a lot in diagnosing and prescribing pills that would keep her around until now. Her last pet hospital visit was just a few days ago, including a hospitalization and was apparently terminal. Both vets I talked to suggested euthanasia, but I needed to say goodbye.

 

Kitty threw herself off the couch multiple times while I picked her back up and returned her to the spot we’d both gotten used to her sitting in. In that spot she laid in thousands of times before, my brother who’d been monitoring her remotely told me to check on her after she vomited. I found her in a large pool of her own vomit and heard her growling before she struggled with her last breath.

Post-mortem, I discussed the possibility of cremation or aquamation with my brother, who insisted we bury her in the backyard under her favorite tree. I’m actually glad I finally agreed with him as she’s still nearby this way and so I’ll be able to visit her anytime and she’ll always be with me, even in death.

R.I.P. Kitty Brando (2001-2020), my beloved cat 1The early years

In her life, she really did live nine lives. As a kitten, we found her running around outside with her slightly larger sister who was all white, and she had a small yellow scrunchy around her neck. I’m not sure what I did with the scrunchy, but I felt most collars were too restrictive.  We used to hide her in the garage when she was a kitten because my mom didn’t want a cat. Eventually, she was allowed into the house and made into a semi-permanent fixture.

My brother mentioned taking her on night drives around the neighborhood with his friend when she was a kitten. Apparently, she had a very exciting life from the start. At the time, I was nearing the end of college so I only saw her on weekends. And when I moved home in 2002 and got my first full time job, she was the one I envied most getting to be a cat and not go to work all day.

R.I.P. Kitty Brando (2001-2020), my beloved cat 2

Spaying = personality change

My brother said she became much less friendly after being spayed, a decision I was not involved in but supported. Honestly, I was never against her having kittens, she used to lick a piece of rabbit fur which made me think she had maternal instincts. Once, she even disappeared for weeks and returned to me half the size she used to be in. This was my first time nursing her back to health. She also returned missing a few teeth, so I really wish she could communicate what she was up to.

SoCal to SF

Kitty lived in Southern California most of her life in the quiet gated community I’ve called home since 1999, but briefly joined my brother in San Francisco at his Church Street apartment while he was studying at CSUSF. This was around 2004-2006, though eventually I moved up and was reunited with her and my brother though me and Kitty both returned to SoCal around October 2006.

And though my ex was deathly allergic to cats, he managed to live in the same home with her from 2010 to 2016. And I think he loved her a little more than he loved me, but in the end, most people do. He actually had better conversations with her than me too… that was a doomed relationship if ever there was one. Other friends who visited noted her silent meows, though she was not always silent with me.

R.I.P. Kitty Brando (2001-2020), my beloved cat 3Brushes with fame

Kitty’s beautiful face didn’t land her any modeling deals, but she was recognized on social media by huge brands like McDonald’s and Shaun T! I limited her Facebook page to around 300 likes, not because I don’t think she deserved fame – I just started it late and knew it would be too sad to announce her death.

I loved dressing her up in costumes, but of course, she never did. I only did this a few times and only long enough for some photos. I treated her well and I feel she loved me and spent as much time around me as possible in return. She was my constant companion and my heart and home feel empty without her.

Past, present, and future

With my childhood cat, Paws, he was an outdoor cat and ran away to die not allowing us to bury him. There wasn’t much closure there, but I almost think it was better that way.  Today, I’m still grieving and thinking I need an immediate replacement. However, I’m not going to rush it as Kitty has only been buried a day and I don’t know if I’m ready yet.

I’d love to find a cat just like her, but Kitty is truly one of a kind even though she does have at least one doppelgänger. Kitty was sweet, loyal, and friendly if she got to know you. I think of all the times I let her food bowl go empty when she was healthy and feel sad for not noticing how they stopped being emptied as she wasted away.

Honestly, I don’t think there was much I could do, but I wasn’t observant of all the warning signs. I assumed she was eating when she was moving towards her food, but I wasn’t nearly as vigilant as I could have been. However, when all is said and done, I’m glad her suffering is over. No amount of care could help her easily overcome throat cancer.

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