I remember the first time I saw her. It was a hot hot dusty day in Eastern Washington, “The Palm Springs” of Washington the little town’s sign post proudly hailed. At the house we were visiting, there were a dozen or so wild barn cats taunting the children, none stopping long enough to get caught, the kittens or the children. We proceeded with our picnic, family members wandering around drinking their cold beverages of choice, trying desperately to dispel the heat. While in the midst of a conversation, a slight movement caught my eye toward the end of the house. I focused in that direction and through the dust I could see it was a teeny grey kitten. I stepped toward her, away from what ever topic I had been engrossed in and reached out my hand. This barn cat didn’t move away, she didn’t seem scared of me. As I stepped closer, I could hear her breathing and see her crusted eyes. She was sick and most likely wouldn’t make it through the night, unless someone stepped up to take her. I knew instantly that I had to bring her home with me, in spite of the fact I already had a cat. She needed me, she couldn’t smell or see any food around her and was less than a good meal away from a quick grave. I remember thinking that I didn’t even know if I could love a cat with no tail. How soon, that was not even an issue.
We left the family picnic and headed home, with a teeny kitten in a shoe box. I would periodically raise the lid to check on her and she would hiss at me and I would laugh. She was so ferocious. She was so small that I could hold her in the palm of my hand, and somewhere I actually have a photo of here from that very day. When I find it, I’ll post it. The smallness stayed with her as she never weighed more than 5 pounds. She always looked and acted like a kitten up until a few years ago. Like all things that needed care, her visits to the vet sometimes caused me financial grief, but it was always worth it. Kushka had many adventures like when she moved with me to Ohio. She was my companion and a constant in my life for the past 20 year, and Sweet Husband and Daughter are just as sad about her absence. But as good things go, this too came to an end.
On Saturday, May 8th, we had to put Kushka to sleep. How could I possibly imagine that 20 years ago when I found her near death that she would be with us for so long. I am very happy to have shared those years with her. She had been progressively going down hill and not able to eat or drink. She was such a sweetheart and will be greatly missed. Check out this little video with some of our fond memories.
Kushka is Ukrainian for cat, just in case you wondered.
Clarification on the video, as Kushka was a very old cat, she didn’t clean herself at all. This lack of cleaning created clumps of icky stinky hair all over her so we shaved her.