On Tuesday Tim and I got very bad news from the vet.
We found out our kitty B.K. was in late stage kidney failure. The doctor said she was looking really bad and even with very aggressive treatment the prognosis looked grim. While I would have loved to do everything within my power and beyond to save her, after witnessing Murkurie's passing and knowing that there are times that death just cannot be stopped, and some illness cannot be recovered from no matter how hard you try, it seemed like it would be the kindest thing not to make B.K. go through all the I.V.'s and blood transfusions and antibiotics that could possibly hurt her more that would have been in store for her. She was suffering so much. We didn't want to make her suffer even more. We decided the most humane thing would be to put her to sleep and let her go peacefully.
B.K. was such a sweet and gentle soul. She was our feral cat that we loved. After 5 years of knowing her she was finally starting to trust us to the point that we were finally able to pet her-- something I wasn't sure would ever happen. She lived in our front yard and called that territory home. She would wait for us first thing in the morning and she would wait for us to get home to feed her. And if we didn't see her around all we would need to do is call her and she would come running (we have no idea how she was doing that as it was pretty obvious that she was really hard of hearing). I loved coming home from work every day to see her running up to my car as I pulled into the drive way. I'd call out to her, "Pretty girl, pretty girl, B.K." and she would follow me all the way to the front door. If Tim came home first he would say, "Don't let her fool you. I already fed her wet food." At about 6pm you could be sure to see her standing at the front door again waiting for seconds. All during the day, between meals, she would sun herself in the front yard, relaxing, and having a good day. She was such a good kitty.
When Tim and I first moved into our house about five and a half years ago it did not take long for us to first spot this little black feral kitten out with her sister. We put out bowls of food and water for them but they were so feral and so afraid of us so we couldn't get close at all. We made them a little shelter and made sure to keep food and water out for them. I made the mistake one morning to go check on them and peeked my head into their shelter. They both promptly bolted like I was a fox in the hen house. I didn't think we'd ever see them again. But we kept putting out food and water and sure enough eventually the two came back. It was an amazing sight the first time we got to see the two sisters sunning themselves out in our backyard. We called the black cat Black Kitty, B.K. for short, and her sister with the tuft of white in the chest Tux.
Soon enough these two became like friendly neighbors. We'd spot them around the neighborhood and across the street. They would hang around the house, and every now and then B.K. would even pop into a photo or two I took of our holiday house decorations. It was fun spotting these kitties around the neighborhood.
Then one day, about a year and a half after we moved in, and just a few months after Tim and I came home from our honeymoon, Tim found B.K. with a single small kitten out in front of our house right in front of our fence. I told him, don't you touch that kitten! Thinking that kittens were like baby birds and that if you touch them the mother wouldn't want anything to do with them. Tim though, cannot resist petting any kitties if he has the chance. While I was taking a nap there was a loud bang and the whole house was shaking. I thought it was an earthquake! I ran out of the room so fast! It took me a while to comprehend what I was seeing. In the middle of the floor on a blanket was this tiny cute little kitten and frantically, dangerously climbing the curtains and the coat rack and back again was this tiny feral black kitty. What did Tim do?! He said that he saw the mom keep trying to move the kitten across the street. He put them in the backyard but she got over the fence somehow with the kitten and kept trying to cross the street. He was afraid they were going to get run over so he brought them in the house. I felt bad for the mom for being trapped in the house but I also didn't want anything to happen to them.
We decided to keep them in the garage so they would be safe. During the day we left the cat and kitten in peace and when we got home from work we would go in the garage and play with the kitten so he could be socialized with humans. It wasn't long before the kitten was clamoring to come into the house. He would scratch and scratch at the door until someone let him in. We decided to just leave the door between the garage and house open so the kitties could have free rein. When it was safe to do so we took both mom and kitten to the vet to get shots as well as spaying and neutering. While the kitten was all about being in the house, B.K. was a little more reluctant but eventually migrated into the house as well. We thought hard and long about what we should do with these kitties. We already had two indoor cats at the time, Murkurie and C.C. Cookie, so it wasn't really our intention to adopt more kitties. And on top of that, the mama kitty, B.K., was fully feral. She would not let us get within one foot of her. Based on what we heard from cat experts like Jackson Galaxy feral cats cannot really be domesticated so it didn't seem like a good idea to keep her trapped in the house. Eventually though the kitten won our heart and it pulled at our heart strings too much to separate the kitten from the mama and so it was decided without deciding that both were going to stay with us in the house.
Poor B.K. never really took to living in the house. I had hopes that after a year or so she would get used to us and learn that living in the house is so much better than living outside. Most of the time though B.K. would hide under the bed even going so far as to make a hole in the box spring and hide inside of it. A few times we would be happy to catch her on top of the bed rather than underneath it. She seemed pretty comfy on my pillow sitting or curling up but that's only if we weren't around or anywhere near her.
We constantly worried about whether we were doing the right thing keeping her in the house. I kept telling myself she wasn't really making any moves to escape so maybe she liked it in the house (she just didn't like us very much). We'd have the front door wide open for a few minutes while bringing in groceries or whatnot and even though the other cats would wander out, B.K. would stay in the house not even seeming to notice the front door was open.
We were patient with her and kept our fingers crossed. We kept hoping eventually she would come to trust us and know we didn't mean her any harm. She was in the house with us for a total of two years and three months until the day came that she ran away. At this point the kitten, her son, was a robust two and a half year old cat who learned how to open the screen door. One day I wasn't watching the doors as I should have been (partly because I had half convinced myself B.K. liked it in the house and wouldn't want to run away). Wolfgang, the son, opened the sliding door in the room and B.K. got out. With sadness in our hearts we saw her run across the street and jump the fence into the neighbor's yard where she disappeared from view. It was impossible to try and get her back. I was so sad. Tim, though he was sad too, said maybe it was for the best since she was not happy in the house.
She eventually came around for food though she was very wary and distrustful of us at first. I worried that maybe she wanted to come back in but didn't know how to ask. While we constantly left the front door open when she was around, no matter how often she would come around for food, she would not step foot in the house. Eventually she started letting her guard down a little at a time. Within a few months she slowly became a little less cautious of us, a little less afraid. She would even come so far as a few feet into the house when we put food down in the house for her. We thought about trapping her again and tricking her back into the house, but it just didn't seem right and we didn't want her to hate us all over again. We decided to just take care of her and let her be. We made sure she had food and water, tried to make a nice shelter for her, and tried to let her know we loved her and didn't mean her any harm. She eventually learned to claim the front yard as her home and was out in our front yard all the time. About a year after being outside and living in the front yard she even started letting Tim pet her though she was still slightly reluctant about it. A few months after that I was able to pet her too. She seemed to be pretty happy outside and was finally starting to trust us. She was a welcome sight to us and it seemed we were a welcome sight to her as well. It felt so good being in her good graces.
But being outside did seem to be taking it's toll on her. When she was living in the house with us, while she did not seem as happy, her coat was looking so nice and she was starting to fill out a bit. Outside, she was dirty, her beautiful fur was looking rough and mangy, and she was loosing weight. I told Tim no matter what, we're bringing her back in next winter. Now that the summer was about to start I didn't want to force her inside when it was nice outside, but I was resolute that when the cold weather came back she would be back in the house. Unfortunately that winter was never going to come for her. A year and nine months after being back outside Tim and I found out that B.K. had late stage kidney failure. In my heart I fear that she might have gotten into something that was toxic that poisoned her but the doctor said it really could have been any number of things... she might have gotten into something toxic like Lilies, or it could be that she had an infection that went up into her kidneys, or it could be hereditary and she might have been born with bad kidneys.
My poor B.K. I'm going to miss her so much. She was such a gentle little girl. Seeing her and talking to her brought so much joy into my life. I loved her so very much. It is always so hard losing a friend.