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Kicka is dying...

My 21-year old cat, Kicka (Kitty in Polish) is dying. Life is leaving her in tiny puffs, and there is nothing we can do. Joanna, Julie and I are trying to feed Kicka warm broth. She no longer eats solid food and is barely able to lift her head to look at us with these bright, knowing eyes of hers that now shine less and less. Do you know that today one cannot buy chicken broth with fat? We obsess too much about obesity to be eating normal whole food.

We adopted Kicka in Berkeley in early 1991. She was a tiny, visibly abused Russian cat. All these years she could not completely warm up to anyone, perhaps with the exception of Sophie, my middle daughter. In human years, Kicka is over 90 years of age. She survived in a pretty rough neighborhood in Oakland Hills, hiding from the coyotes, raccoons, hawks and owls, and fighting other cats. All of the cats were bigger than Kicka, so she lost her front teeth and almost died of infected wounds.

The move to Austin brought Kicka back to life. She flew in on a plane with Julie, and in four hours found herself in the warm sun and open space. Her rheumatism was gone and she would venture out farther than in many years before. She survived here for over two years, hiding by custom. She is as deaf as a piece of wood, and anyone could stalk her. A clever little cat she has been...

Kicka lived through the demise of East Germany and the Soviet Union, the rise of democratic Poland, the first Gulf War and the second Iraqi War. The United States of America she was born in was a very different country than the one she is about to leave. A native Californian, Kicka saw two housing booms in Montclair, followed now by a relentless bust with nowhere to go. A worldly little cat she has been...

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