The Lioness Sleeps Tonight
by The Ritter family
Kiwi, our gray and white cat, left us Friday evening, 5 Aug 2016. She was 14 years old. She was very intelligent, sweet and lovable, and a great hunter. I Imagine that the small animals in our yard are rejoicing. I started thinking about that song: Hush my darling, don't fear my darling, the lion sleeps tonight. In Kiwi's case, though, it would be "the lioness sleeps tonight".

Kiwi was a great hunter. She had been diagnosed with asthma several years ago, but that didn't stop her. She was always bringing us mice, rabbits, moles, chipmunks, and rats. They were attracted by the seeds in the bird feeder., especially this summer (2016), because it's been so hot and dry.

In late June 2016, I noticed that Kiwi was having some breathing issues, so I took her to the vet.. After examining Kiwi and looking at the x-Ray, the vet suggested it was the hot, humid weather affecting Kiwi's asthma, and recommended I use the inhaler more often. I worried about Kiwi during the hot weather, but Kiwi wanted to be outside, to hunt of course. On Monday, August 1, Kiwi seemed fine, good appetite, caught a mouse and ate it. On Tuesday, I thought her appetite was a little off. On Wednesday and Thursday, she was definitely not feeling well. We took her to the vet on Friday morning. The x-Ray showed a lot of fluid in Kiwi's chest. The fluid needed to be drained in order for the vet to determine what the problem was. We left her at the hospital, went home and waited for the call.

It was not good news. There was a mass in Kiwi's chest and abnormal cells in the fluid. Lymphoma. We declined chemo and brought Kiwi home, thinking we might have a few more days with her. We hoped that draining the fluid would make her more comfortable, but it didn't seem to. After all she had been thru, Kiwi still wanted to go outside!!!! So, I let her out, knowing she couldn't go far. I called the vet back to let her know that Kiwi was very uncomfortable and that we thought it was time. As I'm talking to vet, I see Kiwi at the kitchen door, with a rat in her mouth! With her sides heaving she drops it at my feet and then flops over on her side. We said goodbye to her an hour later.

Dear Kiwi, you chose us 14 years ago by coming to our back door. You were so smart and sweet. And everyday, for 14 years, you patrolled our yard and guarded the vegetable garden and tried to keep the squirrels away from the bird feeder. You were our last cat and we will never forget you. Rest peacefully, lioness.

Comments would be appreciated by the author, The Ritter family
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