So long, Kit Kat?

Our hearts our heavy tonight as – after two oh so fun weeks – we may have lost Kit Kat.

I’m taking it particularly hard, feeling guilty that I didn’t do more to help her.

The episode began this afternoon when a roofer showed up at our house to install a long-awaited pair of downspouts. This – like the sounds of a lawn mower nearby, or Phoebe and I playing one of our nightly games of basketball – startled Kit Kat from her spot on our deck. … After this happens, we’ve come to expect her to show up again around meal time. But tonight there was no sign of her.

We went to the free Tuesday night movie on the university campus – the movie was “The Good Dinosaur,” which I found slightly ironic, considering its themes in light of tonight’s events – and found still no sign of her when we returned home around 8:30.

With some daylight left, we opted to play outside for a while. Though I think all of us were really hoping Kit Kat would come out of hiding if she knew we were there.

With no sign of her, Faye and Kates eventually went inside. Phoebe and I began shooting hoops. Phoebe said, “I really wish Kit Kat would come back. She’s a really sweet kitty.”

That’s when the fat, menace-looking, calico cat that we’ve dubbed Blondie showed up. She made her first appearance a couple nights after we began our conscious effort to care for Kit Kat and has returned consistently around nightfall. On some of the first few nights, Blondie tried some intimidation with Kit Kat by scaling our deck and perching herself on the railings. Kit Kat would sit in her tub, eyes fixed on Blondie.

But on more recent nights, Kit Kat took command of our deck. She sat perched on our deck table, the deck railing or even at the top of the stairs. A couple nights I caught her standing her ground on the deck and howling at Blondie. I tried to shoo away Blondie on several occasions, but she kept coming back and all I could do was trust she wouldn’t try to hurt Kit Kat.

After all, Kates and I made an observation last night that Kit Kat had become bolder in the last 24 hours. “She’s becoming a teenager,” Kates said. In addition to her more aggressively protecting her kitty territory and climbing on the deck, we arrived home Sunday afternoon to find her prancing across the yard with a robin in her mouth. When the robin got away briefly, Kit Kat chased it across the yard and swatted it down again, proceeding to bat it around for a few moments and stand over it. “Girls, this is nature,” Kates said as Phoebe and Faye stood in a sort of stunned confusion.

* * *

Tonight, nature showed its ugly side again. I’m afraid Kit Kat was on the losing end this time and I’m beating up myself for not doing more to keep Blondie away. When I spotted Blondie tonight, I never should have let her in our yard.

Phoebe and I finished playing basketball, and I took a seat on the deck, waiting to see if Kit Kat might still show. A few moments in, I noticed Blondie take a prowling stance and begin slowly across the middle of our yard. I thought maybe she was about to give chase to a bird or critter.

But then Kit Kat appeared walking along our fence from the bush beside our shed, where we spotted her for the first time. I had barely exclaimed “Kit Kat’s back!” to the girls inside when Blondie sped toward her. They came eye to eye at the gate to our yard. A flash later they were in a hissing and snarling cat fight. Kit Kat took refuge in a sea of ferns along the side of our house, but all I could see was Blondie looking to pounce further.

Kates suggested we go inside and let them work it out. But I was desperate to try anything to scare Blondie away and save Kit Kat. So I grabbed a small umbrella we mounted on the deck last night to protect Kit Kat from the rain and banged it against the fence. But it did more harm than good because it not only startled Blondie, but Kit Kat, too. And when Kit Kat ran, Blondie chased again. They ran into the neighbor’s yard and out of sight, but we could hear the fight continuing on the other side.
The sun set and we haven’t seen any sign of them since.

No doubt, we’ve come to adore Kit Kat these last couple weeks. Feeding her every morning and night. Having her keep us company and run around with us in the backyard. Admiring her as she curled up in her bed and slept. Laughing as she swatted and pounced on the beetles that buzzed around the deck at night. And loving the way she galloped across the back yard when we called for her and practically talked to us with her meows.

We were set to adopt her and officially make her a part of our family. On a nightly basis for the last several days, we allowed her inside for a few minutes to explore our kitchen and living room. On Sunday afternoon – when we came home to find her hunting robins – we had returned from buying a litter box, cat toys and other accessories. The only thing holding up the adoption process was arranging for a visit to the vet; Kates left a message for one of the local vets, but we hadn’t yet received a response.

My prayer tonight is that Kit Kat is ok and we wake up tomorrow morning to find her sitting at our back door, meowing for her breakfast – something I’ve come to look forward to every morning since she came to us. We want her to remain a part of our family.

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