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These Are My Bliss

On the homepage of my website, I identify my bliss as: Books, Cats, History New England. Each blog post will focus on one of these topics.

  • Writer's pictureEileen O'Finlan


Updated: May 14, 2023


The first cat who came to live with my was an orange and white kitten we named Kiki. He was born in the house across the street where my best friend, Linette, grew up. His mom, Fluffy, was her cat. I was about six years old when Fluffy had her kittens. I remember going down to Linette’s basement to see the new mother and her baby fluff balls. They were so tiny and adorable. Once I’d talked my parents into letting me have one of them, it felt like forever before they were old enough to leave their mother. I picked the orange and white one, the runt of the litter and carried him across the street to his forever home.

Kiki may have been the runt, but he had a voracious appetite from the start and grew quickly. For those who remember Morris the Cat from the 9Lives commercials, Kiki bore a striking resemblance to him. Though in my not-so-humble opinion, I believed my Kiki was even more handsome.

Kiki grew to be a very large cat. He was not overweight, just big. He was also one tough cat. Maybe he was trying to make up for his name, which I have been told, sounded anything but tough. When he walked (well, strode is more accurate) you could actually see the muscles ripple in his legs. He spent a great deal of time outdoors. This was back in the days before most people thought to keep cats indoors. He was neutered, but not housebound. Our entire neighborhood was his territory and that included the woods behind our house. Several neighbors had dogs and every one of them was terrified of Kiki. I saw more than one dog literally shake and whimper in his presence even though he hadn’t done anything to them. He once had a black Lab cornered on our front porch. The owner had to come and carry him away. If a dog was tied up, Kiki liked to sit just beyond the range of its run with his back to the dog. It drove them crazy. I swear he was smirking.

Kiki may have been a tough guy with the neighborhood dogs and a consummate hunter of local small wildlife, but in the house, he was a total pussycat and my best friend. In the summer, he often preferred to spend the night outdoors, but during the rest of the year, he usually stayed in at night. He slept on my bed and often, we would go to sleep and wake up with our arms around each other. He liked being held and would let me carry him as much as I wanted to. I’d hold him facing me and he’d put his arms around my neck and hug me tight. I’ve never had another cat who would do this. I didn’t realize at the time how special it was. If your cat lets you do this, cherish it!

Kiki was smart, too. He outsmarted us all from time to time. One of my favorite stories is the time he tricked my dad out of his favorite chair. Dad was sitting in the living room one evening watching TV. He was in the easy chair he always sat in. Kiki could often be found curled up in the same chair when Dad wasn’t in it. The each thought of that chair as theirs. Apparently, on this particular evening, Kiki wanted the chair and thought Dad should relinquish it to him. He sat on the floor, staring at my dad and meowed. Kiki and my dad had a great relationship so a conversation ensued:

Dad: Sorry, Cat, I had the chair first. Go sleep somewhere else.

Kiki: Meow, meow, meow. (Translation: No way. You’ve had it long enough. My turn.)

Dad: I’m not getting out of the chair.

Kiki: Meow, meow, meow. (Translation: Yes, you are. I want it.)

This went on for a while until Kiki seemed to give up. He sauntered over to the front door and meowed to be let out. Dad got up and opened the door for him. Kiki made a mad dash back to the living room, jumped into the chair, and curled up giving my dad a “ha-ha! I fooled you” look. Dad was practically in stitches with laughter and had to come tell my mom and me what the cat had done. Apparently, he thought Kiki had earned the chair because he spent the rest of the evening watching TV from the couch.

There are so many Kiki stories I could tell, but I think I will save them for future posts. He was a cat of great personality and a constant in my life while I was growing up. He died of feline leukemia when I was 19 just before they came out with the vaccination for it. I was devastated. His loss was traumatic and left a huge void. It would be two years before another cat would come into my life. Even now, almost 40 years later, I still miss him. I was blessed to have Kiki in my life as I’ve been blessed by all the cats who have made a home with me. I will cherish his memory forever.

Around age 7 or 8 with my dad and Kiki during a visit to Cape Cod.

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