It’s always sad when a friend’s cat dies. My heart hurts for what I know they’re about to go through as they mourn their loss. We’ve all been there, and even though everyone grieves in their own unique way, we all know how hard it is. On Monday, my dear friends Rita and Rob had to say good bye to 21-year-old Kitty Girl.

They rescued Kitty Girl when they found her in a parking garage 21 years ago. She had recently given birth. After an unsuccessful search for kittens, they took the small, grimy cat to a nearby vet, who told them she was probably six months to a year old.

Rita and Rob weren’t looking for a pet at the time. They had talked about getting a dog at some point. “It wasn’t that we didn’t like cats,” said Rita, “but neither of us were very experienced with them. We considered finding her a good home with some bona fide ‘cat people’, calling her Kitty Girl so as to not give her a real name and risk getting too attached.”


After two days in their home, the die was cast. Kitty Girl fell in love with Rob. The name stuck, and so did she. For the next 20 years, he was her one and only love.

Kitty Girl was not an easy cat to love. She began showing aggressive tendencies, culminating in a savage attack on Rita. “During the whole attack that night, Kitty Girl looked miserable,” remembers Rita. “She was panting between growls, and her body posture was completely defensive, as if she was the one under attack. It was heart wrenching to see this beautiful cat so out of control. Kitty Girl clearly needed help, and so did we.”


Rita and Rob never gave up on Kitty Girl. They consulted with a veterinary behaviorist. Over the years, and a lot of dedicated work on Rita and Rob’s part, Kitty Girl became less fearful and more relaxed, and her aggression levels decreased and were “mostly confined to using bad language and a swat or two,” as Rita put it.

Over the last few years, Kitty Girl developed multiple health problems, including hyperthyroidism and kidney disease. Up until very recently, she continued to do well and loved her life. She was especially happy that her papa was working remotely since the start of the pandemic. She often participated in work meetings and online classes. She always viewed Rita as more of a servant/nurse/waiter: Rita was the one who kept looking for foods that she would eat, prepared her “cocktail” of medications, and generally ensured that her physical needs were met, but as far as Kitty Girl was  concerned, the sun rose and set with her papa.


Kitty Girl was a challenging cat, but, as Rita so eloquently put it in a beautiful post she wrote for The Conscious Cat, sometimes “you get the cat you need, not the cat you want.”

Since Kitty Girl didn’t take kindly to visitors, I never met her, but I still feel like she was a part of my life over the last ten or so years that Rita, Rob and I have been friends. I will miss hearing stories about this sassy little lady.

Rest easy, sweet girl.

27 Comments on A Tribute to Kitty Girl

  1. God bless you, Rita, for your empathy, patience, and loving, caring attitude, towards this beautiful, but troubled kitty..How lucky she was to find such caring, wonderful parents..You both gave her such a lovely, safe, stable home..God meant you to be her caretakers, and you rose to challenge; 21 years of love..I am so sorry for your loss..

  2. I have a foster kitty named Sweetie who has the same behavior. Can you share with me the contact information of the behaviorist they used please? Sweetie was surrendered to our cat rescue group by a man whose Mother had to move in with him and his wife because she had dementia and Sweetie was her cat. The man told us they were allergic. Apparently she said on this woman’s lap all day and she fed her alot of temptations treats so she was overweight but she has lost over 2 lbs since she has been with me. When the woman is lucid she asks about her cat which is about the saddest thing ever that she couldn’t keep her cat.

    • So sorry on the passing of your beloved kitty Nikko. You will see her again at the rainbow bridge. Hugs,


  3. Thank you caring for Kitty Girl and for sharing your story. Your story sounds so similar to mine right now….we just adopted Marco from the shelter. He LOVES my husband….he loves me when it’s time to be fed. He sees me as prey and stalks me sometimes. He will hide and charge at me and jump at me, and not in a playful way. Working with the vet for strategies to make this work….and we will. ❤️

  4. …and sometimes the kitty gets the humans they need – not the humans they want. Kudos to Robe & Rita for sticking with her, and purrayers to them as she goes on to her next adventure.

  5. Thank you, Ingrid, for your beautiful tribute and for being part of Kitty Girl’s story. Thank you, also, The Conscious Cat family of readers for all of the lovely comments about our girl and for sharing your stories of your own precious ones. Kitty Girl’s Papa and Mama are feeling the love!

  6. A beautiful tribute for a beautiful girl! Much love to Rita and Rob for the loss of their dear little one. We’re with you – wishing you comfort and peace at this very hard time.

  7. 21 years! She lived a great life and was well loved. Loosing them is the hardest thing. My oldest now is 17 and hyperthyroid, my younger one will be 12 this year. Last February 8th I lost my canine soulmate who was only 11 years old. I am getting older and have lost many cherished pets in my lifetime, but that one…that one brought me to my knees and I am still trying to learn how to “be” without her. It’s a long road. My little black cat Skeeter Bug is my rock and feline soulmate and I hope she will be with me many more years.

  8. Kitty Girl was well loved and had a good life. My moto is when you adopt a cat it is because you want to take care of it and love it to the end. She was a beautiful girl that loved her daddy.

  9. My heart is breaking for you you get to love your pet and 21 years is amazing. My cat is 2 1/2 but I only have her since June and she is such a good friend I also have to try different foods as she is so finicky. I found something in Petco called cat
    Water and she loves it and drinks more expensive but she’s worth it. The food she likes it’s also expensive. One day she’ll eat it one day she won’t. Switched it to blue Dry food and she loves it. Sometimes she will eat tuna sometimes she tosses it aside. I’m a senior citizen I’m in a lot and I can’t imagine being without her. Feel for you and I know it’ll be a long time you’ll be grieving. There is a good article on line
    About grieving for your cat. I hope your heart heals soon. My son lost his cat last year and just adopted two cats one at a time and he’s so happy.

  10. I had to say goodbye to my sweetheart Patches Monday morning also……my heart is still numb.
    God bless Kitty Girl and may her and Patches play forever in heaven…….

  11. I’m so sorry to hear about your friends loss of Kitty Girl. It’s a sad sad day when we say goodbye to a loved friend.

  12. Thanks for sharing info on Kitty Girl. She held a special place in the hearts of that wonderful couple for 21 years! Good job. She is now at play at Rainbow Bridge, waiting for Papa (and Mama) and will greet them when it’s their time to join her. Rest easy, Kitty Girl.

  13. I am so sorry for the loss of Kitty Girl! Cats have a way to work their way into your hearts. I have lost many cats a few who lived til 21 yrs old and some who lived til 25 Yrs. But they were all loved. Cats choose you you don’t choose them. Cats are hear too teach us. May Kitty Girl RIP!

  14. Someone once asked me what the most difficult thing about having a cat is. I shook my head, looked down to the floor with my eyes closed and replied, “The goodbye.”
    So sorry for your loss of Kitty Girl.

  15. My heart aches for the loss of your “ Kitty Girl”!
    Now to honor her long life and memory…… find another in need of a soft heart and bed , a full belly and LOVE.
    Thank you Kitty Girl for indoctrinating these two blessed people!

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