I met Iddy on a cold October night in 2015. I was working late and kept thinking I heard one of the cats mewling. Sometimes the little devils will slink quickly and silently into open closets while you aren’t looking, or they will open a cabinet door, wander inside, and aren’t able to open the door from the inside. So, I began a search, checking each closet, yet, still hearing a faint mewl. After I had checked all the usual spaces with no luck, I went outside. The sound this cat was making was heart wrenching. I though he must be trapped somewhere to be crying as long and as loudly as he was.
I walked around the house and then out in the street towards the direction I thought the sound was coming from. I could hear him but could not figure out where he was. Finally, I walked across the street and as I got closer to my neighbor’s driveway, I realized it was coming from the car parked in the driveway. I know my neighbor has cats but thought to myself that he would never leave one outside in the car. It was around 1:00 in the morning and I was dressed in my nightgown and wearing my winter bunny slippers, but regardless, I got down on my knees to see if the cat was under the car. He was. I could not see him, but I certainly could tell where he was.
I realized it would have been an interesting scene had I been caught at 1:00 am crawling under my neighbors’ car. I did not want to wake them up either. So, I called the police. Two officers came and got him out from under the car. To my surprise, what I thought to be a grown cat was actually a very tiny kitten, so tiny and skinny that he fit in the palm of my hand. I said thank you to the police officers and headed back into the warmth of the house.
I took a good look at the little guy; his eyes were matted shut and he was so thin and tiny I thought he was maybe 3-4 weeks old. I also noted something odd. Typically, when finding a little stray like this, especially with matted up eyes, they have fleas. This little guy had no fleas, not a one, and he smelled like laundry detergent or air freshener.
I cleaned his eyes and setup the adjustment cage. The adjustment cage is a medium sized dog crate. Just large enough to fit a snuggly blanket, a small litter pan, and food and water. I use for “found” animals to separate them from the regulars but still allow them to see their surroundings. I put him inside. He immediately snuggled down and went to sleep. As I had said. I thought he was perhaps 3-4 weeks old, so I got dressed, went to Walmart and bought a baby feeder kit and some cat formula. The kitten slept the rest of the night. I checked periodically to make sure he was breathing.
I woke up around 7:30 and ran to the living room to make sure he was ok. He was sitting in the corner of the cage; his eyes were huge golden saucers as he watched three of the regulars who had formed the killer triangle to watch him intently.
I called the vet and took him to the morning clinic. The vet estimated his age at about 13 weeks, much older than I had thought. He was tiny because he was starving. His growth had been stunted due to lack of food and nutrients. The vet otherwise gave him a clean bill of health.
I had to give him ( and it turned out he was a he) a name and since he was so tiny, we called him Iddy bitty. As he grew and became one of the regulars, his name changed with him. For awhile he was still Iddy Bitty. Later he became little Iddy, and finally he became just Iddy.
Iddy was something. He was small but long and sleek. He had a panther swagger and walked like he owned the world. Wherever I went, Iddy went, and he always lead the way. He had been neutered and with a good diet his coat had become sleek and shiny. He slept with me every night stretched out next to me. As he got older, he began to mimic my sleeping positions and would sleep on his belly with his paws stretched out, the same way I typically sleep, and he was always touching my hand or my arm.
The night I found him, he had screamed and mewled for hours. He never mewled again until the day he died. The only sound that ever came from him was a high-pitched chirp that always made me smile. He had the biggest saucer eyes that always looked frightened. He would stand on the kitchen counter when I would cook or wash dishes and just chirp and chirp for attention.
Cleaning the cabinets was a waste of time, his little footprints from his back and forth were always present. I had to keep a little spray bottle of bleach water next to the sink to clean the counters every time I cooked.
Iddy kept the house lively, always rolling around with Big boy Tiberius in fight play. As a kitten, he would jump on Annabelle’s back and chew her ears relentlessly as she ran through the house with him on her back, riding her like a horse. Iddy made the house come alive.
He was my constant companion and in some very dark times provided me with love and comfort that kept me going when I wanted to give up. He was our Iddy and while I love all the regulars, Iddy was different. He had a heart that was filled with love and a need to be loved. He was a cat with a human heart.
On May 2, 2018, he got out of the house. We don’t know exactly what happened but according to the vet he was most likely struck by a car. We searched for him for hours and finally my daughter heard a fain mewl coming from under our deck in the backyard. We ripped out boards and used a pool skimmer to pull him out. We got him to the emergency vet and were hopeful. He was in shock and his temperature had dropped to 93 degrees. The vet put him on steroids and pain killers and an iv drip and placed him on a warming pad. It was a wait and see situation.
We sat there for about an hour, and finally the vet came out and let us see him. The moment he heard my voice he looked at me and stretched out his paws and mewled. That was the first time I had heard him mewl since the day I found him, and it broke my heart because I knew that he was asking me to help him, and there was nothing I could do.
My heart is broken, but time heals, and we will always remember him. The house is so quiet now. The regulars themselves are mourning. There is no play, no begging, no rolling on the floor fighting over who will get the treats first. Even Idgy our wild girl is quiet and reserved.
We miss you Iddy. You were the energy of our home and we love you.