The Last Skittle

Skittles believed in working hard and relaxing hard. She was born in the early 90s on Colgate Road. It began in the backyard of a grandfather who had taken a liking to the strays in the neighborhood. He fed them everyday and enlisted Grandma to do the same while he was away. And so as it was, one pregnant feline took refuge in the far corner of the yard, with plenty of trees and bushes to hide away in, plenty of yard to run around in when the time came. One day her newborns, ready to see beyond the yard, made their way down Grandma and Granddad’s driveway. There, a little girl stood, eyes wide, a smile on her face that no camera could force her to take. A black and white kitten walked up to her, warmed up to her, wanted her. And so, she was hers. She gave the girl just as much joy as one of her favorite things. And so she was. Skittles.

Skittles became the younger sister the little girl never had. As the little girl’s sisters grew older, out of barbies and their Disney costumes, the little girl turned to Skittles to play dress up and was never turned away. Her contentment and selflessness even when she may have not been in the mood to play with the little girl made her almost the perfect playmate. Whether playing dress up or being placed in bags to head off on a wild adventure in the little girl’s imagination, Skittles became familiar with the little girl’s greatest desires and leaned into her docile personality trait, never minding going along for the ride.

It wasn’t long before the little girl’s family heard about opportunity elsewhere, south of Prospect Street. This was the first of a handful of long rides that Skittles would take over the years. Her adjustment to Newbury Road was frightening at first. Getting to know the new lay of the land, inside was a challenge. So much so that she found herself stuck in a peculiar place in the garage which created great stress from the little girl and her sisters and parents who heard her cries but could not seem to locate her. Once found and freed, Skittles learned to explore the outdoors instead.

It was the summer of 1999 when she became a woman. As the heat grew, so did the calling to go outside, more than her usual trips. She would meow all throughout the night, howling for anyone of her kind to hear her. The little girl’s parents were not ready for what would come next if Skittles went outside again, so she was grounded for a time. But not for long. Her imprisonment was lifted just as her scent was caught by another.

A curious cat strolling around the backyard trampoline and jungle gym attracted her eye. Enough times that when left to her own devices, once the sliding doors to the backyard opened, her day was spent with the only one around who understood what it meant to be like her. Almost immediately, Skittles and her Mr. Mistoffelees would spend every waking moment outside hidden away, a mystery man to the little girl and her sisters and parents.

The mystery of what the two were up to didn’t last long as Skittles soon found herself in the predicament of being a single mother to a litter of babies just as loving as she. One kitten passed away during childbirth. The kitten which looked like a Snickers and thus was named such stayed with the little girl and her sisters and her parents (until a neighborhood thief whisked them away). The all-black kitten, Ramesses was sent off to the little girl’s Aunt and because the little girl couldn’t possibly help take care of all of these new additions to the Newbury Road household, the rest of the litter was sent to more loved ones.

Newbury Road wasn’t just lacking representation in the cat community. It’s inclusivity all around was quite problematic. So it was with great relief for a host of reasons that after a year and some change, the little girl and her sisters and her mom moved to Pittsburgh Ave. This move, however was accompanied by her step-cockatiel, Dale and both were greeted by a hefty orange feline already occupying Pittsburgh Ave, Sammy and an energizer dog, Eve. Adjusting to Pittsburgh Ave took some time, Sammy learning not to take Dale’s life for her own pleasure and Eve learning not to play with Skittles for hers. The female energy at Pittsburgh Ave was high.

Skittles enjoyed the indoors and outdoors in the neighborhood for three and a half years before leaving Sammy, Eve, and Dale behind for sunny Saffron Drive. This adjustment was questionable at first, Skittles leaving the house at the same time as the little girl in the mornings but not arriving back at her doorstep until days later. It took awhile before the little girl and her sisters and her mom realized that Skittles also liked visiting other homes in this neighborhood. It was in this moment one would say that she was living her best life.

The day Skittles discovered that she was no longer a cool mom cost the little girl’s mom $2,000. It was the next move to Bloomfield Drive, a handful of years later that did it. Purr-haps adjusting to this new neighborhood was not going to be as easy as before. No longer as young and quick and mighty as she once was, Skittles soon found herself chased back home by a gang of cats. If Skittles came home too late at night, the little girl and her sisters and her mom would often be woken up by a scuffle outside their bedroom windows, only to turn on the light, open the door, and have poor Skittles rushing inside.

The little girl may never know if it was a scuffle or an imperfect balancing act on a fence that did it but whatever the cause, a torn ACL and cone of shame were the effects. And so, Skittles, clearly no longer able to keep up with the Joneses, became an inside cat overnight. It was during this stage in which she became the most vocal. Skittles was quiet and let her kindness speak for itself. But everyone has their limits and she needed the world to know that she had reached hers and the cone was unacceptable.

Once healed from the traumatic events of Fight Club, Skittles, content, kept up with a more open line of communication with the little girl and her sisters and her mom. This backfired however when it came time to move to her final address at Lincoln Square. The home was nice but the new resident inside was not her cup of milk. You see, Skittles was all about making friends on Pittsburgh Ave but that had been years ago. Now Skittles was only interested in spending her golden years lounging in bliss. This plan was put on paws indefinitely when a water bowl and food bowl were set beside hers for a shih tzu by the name of Cotton Ball von BJ.

Skittles spent most all of her days as a patient, tolerant, and the most popular adjective by all who were in her presence, sweet cat. She also enjoyed presenting her kills in her hay day but at present, she wanted to kill her time in front of the television in peace. All of this went out the window with the latest addition to the family. It took a long time for the two to strike a peace deal but as it turns out, there was indeed enough room for the two of them amongst the rays of sunlight. Skittles met her final family member in the summer of 2018 when the little girl’s oldest sister, Kira brought home her first born child, Zaire. She leaves behind a world of curiosity for the boy.

Skittles enjoyed spending her days and nights in the sun, feeling the sun, even though in her old age, she began to litter-ally not be able to see it as well. Her days of chasing strings and lights, leaping onto high beds and calculating the right angle to jump onto window sills were over. She liked wet food and action movies and companionship and enjoyed all three until the ailments of old age led her to her ninth life. Skittles. She was hers, Taylor’s, for 17 years, until the little girl was 24 years old.

(Note: This was inspired by the short story, “The Last Photograph of Cat” by Choire Sicha)