A cat called Kasha

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We could have missed out on sharing Kasha’s life. We’d always kept 2 cats, partly because they were great company for each other and partly because it was a joy to watch their interactions. So when Aleysha (an exquisite grey tabby Oriental) died on the road on 31 August 1997 (the day Princess Diana died), Dipity needed a new companion. She cried so much, we knew we had to find one quickly. A friend, who was a vet, asked if we’d like to adopt a young female Burmese, who was lost. We readily agreed, and she was brought to the house to meet Dipity.

Dipity was a tiny, gutsy Siamese, once described by her doting vet as “like fine porcelain” This was after he’d stayed up all night putting drops in her eye which had been clawed by a possum. She enchanted him so much that, when she refused the cat food offered, he went to a nearby chicken bar and bought her roast chicken!

The Burmese and Dipity rubbed noses, and there seemed to be no animosity. This was a surprise, because Dipity didn’t usually like ‘new’ cats. I sat on a bed with the newcomer, and she immediately jumped on my lap, snuggled her nose into my elbow and gave me a kiss. Thus I called her ‘Baci’, which in Italian means ‘kisses’.

We don’t know how she did it, but somehow Baci escaped from the house. We searched the neighbourhood, to no avail. To our distress, my husband found her on his morning walk the next day, dead by the side of a busy road. I suppose she was trying to find her way home, wherever that might have been. I felt sadder than I would have anticipated for a cat I’d known only one day. We buried her in our small rainforest garden.

So Dipity still had no companion.

Our son had a yen to have a Tonkinese, a breed he said had lovely personalities. All our previous cats had some Siamese in them, so we were happy to comply.

Enter Kasha. We bought her from a breeder of Tonkinese cats quite a distance from where we lived at the time. We put her into a carrying case, but once the car started she yelled so loudly that I decided to take her out and wrapped her in a rug on my lap. She climbed up to my chest and gazed up at me adoringly … this was to become her favourite position whenever she needed comfort.

The first evening, we thought we’d lost her too! Again we searched the neighbourhood and put posters up on posts. The following morning we found her in a drawer in my husband’s office!

Dipity did not accept her at first. In fact, for about 6 weeks she was quite antagonistic (as she had been with Aleysha in the beginning), but after that she adopted the role of obsessive foster mother. The two of them were always together, even when they went walkabout.

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I suppose you could say Kasha had an ‘eventful’ life. She was allowed to be an ‘outside’ cat, but seemed to stay fairly close to our house. One evening she didn’t come home. Again we put posters around the neighbourhood, and after a couple of days received a phone call from a young man who told us he and his father had found her in the middle of the same busy road where Baci had been killed. They stopped the traffic and rescued her, then took her to a 24-hr animal hospital. When we arrived, the vet told me they usually euthanase injured animals after two days if nobody has claimed them, but when Kasha looked at him with her big blue eyes he just had to wait a bit longer.

She had a broken hip and damaged kidney. We took her to our usual vet, who was able to repair the hip, but could not save the kidney. It was predicted her life would probably be shortened as a result … but she lived nearly 17 years!

Dipity died when Kasha was 4 years old. Shortly afterwards we acquired Paddington, a Siamese-Birman cross, also 4 years old. You can read his story here: https://melisanda.wordpress.com/2009/09/06/in-memory-of-paddington/

After Paddington died we decided not to get another cat. As Paddington had not been a cuddle-cat, Kasha had become more indpendent, as well as inserting herself more into her people’s lives. With Paddington gone, I have to say she became more demanding and more vocal about it. At first this was annoying, but gradually we realised she wasn’t just complaining, she was ‘communicating’ This became more obvious when we moved from Brisbane to our present home at Woody Point.

One day my husband, son and I all went out together, leaving Kasha alone for the first time since the move. We were gone most of the day. When we returned she met us on the front path. Her body language accusing, and she ‘dressed us down’ in no uncertain terms. This went on for so long that the 3 of us burst out laughing. She didn’t like that, so of course we had to console her.

She didn’t just talk to us either. On a walk one day, we came across her sitting inside a neighbour’s property. At first we didn’t see her but a magpie was on the fence and we spoke to it. To our amazement Kasha appeared and answered. She and the magpie then carried on a conversation. Later we heard her doing the same with other birds in our garden. She never threatened them, nor they her. We came to realise that our ‘nuisance cat’ was highly intelligent.

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I could go on with Kasha stories, but this is a blog post, not a book.

During 2013, the broken hip began to affect her. At first it was just sensitive, then she started having spasms, which grew worse as the year went on. One morning we found she could barely walk … dragging her right hind leg, while the right front paw bent under. We took her to the vet with heavy hearts, thinking he would recommend putting her to sleep. He didn’t. He watched her ‘walking’ and said, “She’s going to learn to manage that”.  She was otherwise in good condition.

She improved every day and very soon was able to walk with just a wobble. It was inspirational to watch her as she practised different ways of doing everything she used to be able to do … or, if she couldn’t, asking for our help. She was no longer able to do a standing jump, which made getting onto my lap difficult. She compensated this by gathering her resources and doing a running leap. This continued for about 6 months, then she started to weaken. The day came when the running leap failed and she crashed to the floor. She was devastated. I picked her up and comforted her, but she sank miserably on my lap, and it seemed afterwards that her spirit was broken.

We knew the end was coming. To my great sadness she died (naturally) when I was in hospital. My son sat with her on his lap for 3 hours and stroked her till she took her last breath.

There’ll never be another cat like Kasha. But then, one thing we’ve learned is that all cats are different, just as, I suppose, all animals are different.

Farewell, little Kasha. I hope you meet Paddington and Dipity again in cat heaven.

 

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