I had two dogs and a rescue staying till my brother was ready to take him. I went to see the cat at the shelter the next day—the last day they were open before the holiday. They told me she had walked into the shelter under her own power, lured by the food they put out to keep drop-offs around. No one claimed her, her time was almost up, and they didn’t want to put her down, but they weren’t a no-kill shelter. Someone had applied for her, but they had not shown up, and the shelter was closing in 15 minutes, so I could apply. (I knew she was my cat!) I picked Kira up the day after Christmas. Kira Nerys. A Maine Coon mix, with extra toes. Double thumbs on the front, thumbs on the back. (Most cats have NO thumbs on the back feet.) A long tabby coat, like Thomas. She fit in seamlessly. When the dogs ran to answer the door, she ran along the top of the couch and stood just behind—and above—them. (“Hi. I am the cat.”) When the dogs had their portraits done at Clark Studios in return for pet food donations, Kira did too. (She even explored the studio!)
I didn’t know if she hunted when she came to me—but she did. She was an indoor cat, but she got a lot of mice, two fully grown rats and a wild rabbit that somehow got into the basement. She slipped out a couple of times to explore the woods behind the house. I’d have to leave the patio door open a crack so she could slip back in. Then she got out in the winter and I didn’t realize it—and there weren’t any tracks in the fresh snow. Turns out that’s because she spent the whole time hiding in my neighbor’s bushes watching for a chance to slip back in, and I was out walking the neighborhood, putting up posters and crying.
She was good with all the dogs, even Misty who chased her and pulled her tail, and George, who stole the cool floor in her room his first night with us and then ate her food. And when I found myself dogless, she stepped up and tried to be a dog. Twice in her last five years.
Age got her. She was in her twenty-first year, down to her last 3 teeth, thin, and I wasn’t too sure she could see. She couldn’t get into her bed in the Morris chair, and she only navigated in circles, so she struggled to come to me—but I could always come to her, since her room was the bathroom. Still, I knew it was time. I made her final vet appointment. Got her some canned salmon, because she loved the broth on it, and she would drink if I held the dish for her. She had some that Sunday morning, and when I came home after church she was stretched out peacefully. She went on her own terms, the same way she came into the shelter all those years ago. She was the BEST cat!