Bon Voyage Miss Ditch

As my friend Wendy said on Facebook: The Rainbow Bridge has a new arrival. Miss Ditch, queen and matriarch of the neighborhood, has resigned her throne and cast off her kitty suit and gone to chase butterflies and lay in sunbeams in the grass and play with Portia and Betsy and all the others. Rest well, little Ditch, and never forget that your mommy, Kimberly, loves you lots. 🙂

Almost 17 years ago, my daughter brought home this tiny scrap of a black kitten and asked if we could keep it. It was too young to be away from its mother, but there was no mother to be found and no sign of any litter mates. She had found it in a ditch on the way home from the bus stop very close to our house. Of course we kept it. I bottle fed her and we named her Ditch. I’m not sure why we thought that was a good idea, but the name stuck and she was my constant companion around the house ever after. She always had one cloudy eye, having suffered some trauma or damage before we got her but that didn’t stop her from catching mice inside the house. I had had so many other cats lost before her to dogs, cars, garage doors or just plain never coming home that I determined that this cat would never, ever be an outdoor cat. And she never was. There were a few times in her life that she disappeared only to be found a couple of days later hiding in the garage rafters because she had somehow gotten outside and gotten scared. She wasn’t a cuddly cat by any means, didn’t like to be picked up, but was always close by me and always in whatever room I was in.  Even when I was soaking in the tub she had to be there, laying on the rug or sitting on the edge of the tub.  Years later when I had to go back to work and seemed to always be away from home she starting shadowing my daughter Danica, the same daughter that brought her to me. She remained an aloof cat that didn’t like strangers, and almost everyone was a stranger, until around 2009 when I started dating David. I was amazed when she wandered into the living room during one of his first visits and let him lean down and scratch her ears. This is the same cat that hid for 2 days after delivery men had come to my new house with the various things that I needed to furnish my new place after the divorce. Thereafter she seemed to forget that she didn’t like people and would come into the room no matter who was here and soon after starting climbing into my lap to sit on me.  I consulted with a vet friend who said that well, just as some people’s personalities change when they get old, so do animals. She had become friendly.

I had to send her Home today after a couple of years of struggling to keep her fed and keep her weight up.  Lab tests had been run and there wasn’t really much wrong with her, this level was a bit high, that level was a bit low, this thing or that thing a bit off, nothing that could really be easily fixed in a way that wouldn’t make her very uncomfortable or very stressed. She was simply old and had been slowing down for some time. This weekend she stopped eating completely, and wouldn’t even eat her favorite: turkey. She wasn’t drinking either until I happened to hold a glass for her and she would drink so at least she wasn’t thirsty.  Sunday and this morning, I kept her wrapped up in a blanket near me and let her drink all that she wanted and enjoyed my last few moments with her. This morning before heading out to the vet, I foolishly let myself entertain the idea that it was just a cold and it was only a simple sore throat that was keeping her from eating this time and even looked online for heated beds to help keep her warm while recuperating. I took her to the vet and we discussed things at length but I was grateful that the vet didn’t push this or that radical treatment when really all that was needed that she be let go. My dear Wendy came with me and cried with me and arranged for her to be buried in her husband’s back yard. I’m so grateful for that as I had nowhere to put her but didn’t want to just leave her at the vets. They put her in a nice box for me. Aleks found a nice spot for her in the back yard and Stesha brought some flowers.

I am so very, very sad but at the same time so glad that she hadn’t ever had to go through uncomfortable treatments nor super bad health. She had a really good 17 years and I’m so happy that I was able to be her mommy for that short time.

I love you Ditch Kitty, thank you for being a part of my life. See you on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge.

Ditch in 2001


Ditch in 2011