I knew there was trouble Tuesday morning when someone called to tell me that if I hadn't seen Monday night's episode of "The Closer" yet, don't watch it.
I guessed immediately what had happened: Kitty had died.
The first two episodes of this season's "The Closer" gave us troubling glimpses of Kitty's declining health, with Brenda and Fritz fussing over her, taking her for vet visits, and even giving her IVs in Brenda's office. So we sort of knew it was coming, right?
As a pet owner, I admit my first reaction was annoyance. Why did they need to kill off Kitty? Leave Kitty alone! On the surface, it seemed like an emotionally manipulative and ultimately pointless storyline. And it didn't help that the plot was hitting a little too close to home for me personally.
So when I heard Tuesday that Kitty had been put to sleep on Monday's show (and that the circumstances were very similar to my own experience), I was irritated all over again with "The Closer's" producers. But after doing some research, I discovered they actually did have a good reason for taking that path.
It seems that Miss Kitty, the cat who brilliantly played "Kitty," was dying in real life. "The Closer" creator James Duff said they didn't want to replace Miss Kitty, so they decided to write Kitty out of the show. Duff told People Pets, a division of People Magazine, that before Miss Kitty died, they wanted to deal with it on the show.
Duff said the entire crew was a wreck during filming, and Kyra Sedgwick broke down weeping before Kitty's final scene. Another sad twist: Sedgwick had euthanized her own family cat just weeks before the filming. "Her last moments with Kitty are so heart-wrenching," Duff told People Pets. "Everybody felt that way. In fact, I got more comments on the day we shot that scene than on any other scene we had in the show. We were all upset."
Kitty wasn't a major character on "The Closer," but she was a fan favorite, having been a character on the show since season 1. She originally belonged to a murdered prostitute and was adopted by Brenda after Brenda purchased the home where Kitty lived. Not long after that, Kitty became "sick" and Brenda had a police officer take the cat (carried by Brenda in a pillowcase) to the vet. When Detective Gabriel questioned why Brenda brought her cat to a crime scene, Brenda responded, "It's not my cat. It just lives with me and eats at my house."
Kitty's "illness" was cured that time by the delivery of a litter of kittens.
In a later episode, Detective Gabriel had to babysit Kitty and her kittens when Brenda and Fritz (Jon Tenney) were delayed on a case in Mexico. Soon after that, Fritz tries to adopt one of the kittens, but Brenda isn't quite ready to give them up.
In another episode, Fritz accidentally lets Kitty out of the house (video below), and even though it's technically Brenda's fault, he catches hell for it.
Miss Kitty, a rescue cat, died shortly after filming of her final episode of "The Closer."