Kiddah's cat condo

Before we’d officially named Big Kiddah, we realized we were already all calling him the same thing. “No, kitty!” (as he leapt onto a dinner plate) “No, kitty!” (as he leapt onto the book we were reading) “No, kitty!” (as he leapt onto the computer keyboard) “No, kitty!” (as he leapt through the front door—which he had just opened himself). We all sounded a lot like Eric Cartman as he guarded his precious pot pie from his cat.

And thus, Kiddah was named after a South Park episode. (How cool are my parents?)

Cat pose

As his early behavior showed, Kiddah loved exploring, and he quickly grew bored with the limited adventure in our house: He wanted to be outside. Each morning he’d stand at the sliding glass doors (the only ones he couldn’t open himself) and issue a long, plaintive demand to be released out into the world. He’d often return late at night with headless rabbits or mice as proud evidence of a hard day at work. When my parents moved to a house in Denver that was a little dicier when it came to strangers and fast cars, they could only appease his spirit by taking him for long walks on a leash. When I was there a few weeks ago, Kittah and I explored the vegetable garden together, him twirling his ears through the late-season Swiss chard in pure feline bliss. Freedom.

He loved being in the mountains the most, where there were no rules. Here, he could roam free, exiting the house by flying through the top half of the often-open Dutch door, performing his gasp-inducing cat acrobatics on balconies with the best sunset views. It’s fitting that he made it back to the mountains to spend his last day outside, unencumbered by silly leashes and hovering owners.

Big Kiddah 1999-2011

Kiddah always seemed to be one step ahead of us, seemed to know things that we did not. Yesterday, after Big Kiddah died, my dad emailed us this photo, which I had never seen before. “He loved boxes,” my dad wrote. “We didn’t know he could read.”

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family members, especially the four-legged ones.

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