Born in late Summer or Fall of 1997
Died on August 8, 2013

We are sorry to announce that we had to put Elizabeth (Bitsy) to sleep on Thursday, August 8, 2013. She was 16 years old and had diabetes since age 9. The diabetes eventually ruined her kidneys.

Bitsy came to us as a stray in the spring of 1998. We live about a quarter mile down a country road off a busy highway. One day while driving to work, I noticed a cat on the garbage can of the neighbor who is on the corner of our road and the highway. I did not recognize it as being one of the many barn cats from across the road that from time to time venture through our yard. A few days later, I noticed the same cat in our yard.

Normally when we go outside to talk to one of the barn cats, they run and hide since most are semi-feral cats, living on their own, but milling around houses along the road looking for food. This time when I went out to say something, this cat immediately came running up, as if she was looking for a new family to take her in. Since I first saw her by the house next to the highway, it is likely this was a drop off. Someone did not want their house pet anymore, so they drove out in the country looking for a farm to dump their animal, thinking it will probably wander over to the barn to get food along with all the rest of the barn cats.

This kind of thing happens from time to time in our area. You can always tell the difference between a cat raised on a farm versus a cat raised as a house pet. Bitsy was definitely a house pet before being dumped on our road to fend for herself.

We do not bring in stray cats right away. Usually we put some food and water out on our steps so it does not starve, hoping it will eventually go home if it lives nearby. Of course Bitsy was not going to keep looking for a new home after finding someone willing to feed her. She could tell our house was where all the stray cats go to find a new home.

Before bringing her inside, she use to follow me around the yard like a dog. Once when I walked down one of our trails by the river, she followed, walking right under and between my legs, hissing from side to side, either because she was trying to protect me, or because this was new territory. Cats usually do not openly walk around new territory without being cautious. I suppose Bitsy felt brave enough to openly walk around in the woods with me, thinking she would be safe between my legs with this big guy to protect her.

Bitsy appreciated being fed on our patio. So much so that she decided to bite the head off of a Chipmunk and leave the torso as a present for us by our door. OK, time to bring her in before she decimates our wildlife.

Bitsy was a very loving and cuddly cat, but you had to be careful. She always wanted you to pet her, but she would get overstimulated and then bite. Usually not hard, just a nibble. But in her later years it got worse so we had to warn visitors not to touch. Bitsy would jump up on our volute by the front door, wanting visitors to pet her, before chomping her teeth into their hand. Sorry, you can look but do not touch.

Bitsy was also very helpful for Susan during her recovery from Surgery and Chemotherapy in 2012 and 2013. She use to sleep on Susan or next to her head to provide comfort.

Bitsy developed diabetes at age 9. She lived seven more years getting insulin shots twice a day. It does not hurt at all. You put canned food down for her to eat and then pick up the scruff of fur behind her head on her neck to inject the insulin. None of our diabetic cats every flinched or gave any indication that they could feel the needle. It is actually much easier to give insulin shots than to give a cat a pill.

Eventually the diabetes ruins other organs. Her kidneys began to fail and she had to be put to sleep. Bitsy will always be in our memory as a loving member of our family.

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