On Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day – Our Kitty-girl

Chances are, if you have pets, you also have pets over the Rainbow Bridge. I know I do. Kitty, who was abused as a kitten and extremely defensive when we took her in, and whom I took to live with me after I moved out at 18, went to the Rainbow Bridge in December of 2006. Today is Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day, and I’m thinking about our little Kitty-girl.

For Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day, here is Kitty’s story

And little she was! She never weighed more than about seven pounds, but she was a stocky little cat. Muscular. Like she worked out so she could always defend herself. We don’t know what all her abusers did to her, but we do know that, at some point, they broke her tail and it healed that way. We could touch her tail, but one touch would usually cause her to tuck it away from us.

Other than that, she was just defensive. Her abusers had said something about her being vicious, and at first glance, it did seem like she was quite vicious. If you took all of her behavior together, though, then a different pictured emerged. Yes, she was prone to biting, scratching, growling and hissing. Yes, she did injure us. But she mostly hid, and only became “vicious” when we were trying to catch her and had her cornered.

She was actually just defending herself. “Vicious” is something else entirely.

Bringing Kitty to live with just me

When I moved out of the house, I lived for a year without a cat and I couldn’t deal. I needed a cat. I’d talked with my dad about bringing Kitty to live with me because we thought she might come out of her shell better if she was the only cat. When I first let her out in my apartment, she disappeared behind the couch. I left her alone, knowing that she’d come out when she was ready.

That night, she woke me up by mewing at me from the floor. She wanted me to watch her eat for some reason – it was almost like she was asking me for permission to eat, and she wouldn’t do it unless I was there. But that didn’t last for very long, and being an only cat, with only one human to deal with, did have the effect we wanted. She began to come out of her shell, and would even seek attention from me. That was something she’d never done before.

She had behavior issues such as stress marking, which I just dealt with because it was to be expected, I felt. She was never going to be anything other than on-edge no matter how quiet things were for her.

That went on for as long as we had her. She would act attention-starved sometimes, and just want to be left alone others. When we started bringing more cats into the house, she did much better than she’d been doing at my dad’s house, possibly because we were bringing cats into her house, and not bringing her into someone else’s house.

The night that Kitty left for the Rainbow Bridge

In 2006, she was 15 years old, and slowing down. We’d started feeding her wet food only because it seemed she had trouble eating the dry food. One night, I was folding laundry, and she was bouncing around the bed and driving me nuts like she always did when I folded laundry. Later on, she disappeared into the other bedroom and lay down by the heat vent, which was her favorite place to sleep in the winter. She never woke up.

We learned from the vet that she’d had hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, and what had had happened was that her heart could no longer pump enough blood to keep her alive. She went very peacefully – there was no evidence at all that she’d been in any pain. And now she waits for us, along with all the other pets my family has lost, at the Rainbow Bridge.

Sometimes I think she visits me in the middle of the night. I’ll feel the bed shake slightly like it did when she jumped up on it, and I’ll look up, expecting to see a cat. There’s nobody there. So I believe that sometimes, she comes to me from the Rainbow Bridge to say hi, and tell me she’s still watching and waiting.

Do you have a pet at the Rainbow Bridge?

Cats With Laser Eyes: Why do Cats’ Eyes Glow?

Cats’ eyes glow. It makes them look like they’ve got laser weapons for eyes. If you remember old cartoons, where the bad guys could shoot laser beams from their eyes (and some of the superheroes could, too), this can sort of look like that. Especially if they’re also glaring at you. What is it about cats’ eyes that make them glow like this?

Cats’ eyes glow because of a special layer of cells

It turns out that cats’ eyes glow because they have a layer of reflective cells called the tapetum lucidum, according to Vetstreet. This layer is located between the back of the retina and the optic nerve, and functions almost like a mirror. The tapetum lucidum, along with the size of their eyes and pupils, allow cats to see moving things better in dim light. In other words, this is why they can see so well in the dark.

Breed and eye color are two of the things that affect the color of the glow

An interesting thing about the way cats’ eyes glow is that different breeds will have a different color glow. Look at the difference between Gizmo and Kali; the two cats in all the pictures above. Gizmo, who is a black shorthair, and a mix of Burmese, Bombay, and probably a couple of other breeds, has eyes that glow a greenish gold (they’re sometimes more gold than green). On the other hand, Kali, who is a mix of Norwegian Forest, Maine Coon, and probably a couple of other breeds, has eyes that glow green.

I’m not sure what breed(s) Kitty (above) was. However, she was an odd-eyed cat; she had one green eye and one blue eye. Vetstreet also mentions that eye color influences what color cats’ eyes glow. A cat with blue eyes has a red glow, and a cat with green eyes has a green glow. As you can see with Kitty, her blue eye glowed red, and her green eye glowed green. She could look frightening when we caught her in the right light.

The reason breed affects the color of the glow is because breed affects how much zinc or riboflavin is in the pigment of the cells. Zinc and riboflavin both act as reflective agents, but zinc is a metal, while riboflavin is an amino acid. Different breeds carry different amounts of each of these things in their eyes, and the density of each will affect the color of the glow.

Age will also affect how cats’ eyes glow

Age has something to do with it, too. Below are pictures of Chase when he was a young kitten, and his eyes were just changing color. They had an eerie, violet glow to them. Today, his eyes glow green, like his sister’s.

Vetstreet’s article says that, as cats age, the lenses of their eyes becomes denser. That affects how much light reflects back out of their eyes.

In other words, cats’ eyes glow because it makes them better hunters, especially for hunting in the dim light of dawn and dusk. It also helps them see better at night, which is another time that cats are active.