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Kitty Kitty, a beloved Winooski bar cat, dies at 16 (or 17)

Two photos, side-by-side. On left, a white and orange cat sits behind a bar. On right, the same white and orange cat wears a green 'Guinness' necklace.
Shayla Ruland
Kitty Kitty, who lived for more than a dozen years at a dive bar in Winooski, died this month. She was 16 or 17, according to the owner of Last Stop Sports Bar.

Kitty Kitty was the only regular allowed to walk — and sleep — on the bar at Last Stop in Winooski. If you were lucky, she’d curl up on your lap as you nursed a PBR. She loved all kinds of foods, especially chicken wings. On warm sunny days, she’d sprawl out on the back patio or hide among the plants that lined the porch.

“She was definitely like, a diva,” said Shayla Ruland, the owner of Last Stop. “Very, very independent and did whatever she wanted. We always joke that she was actually the real owner of the bar.”

The beloved cat, who lived at the bar for more than a dozen years, died this month. She was 16 or 17, according to Ruland.

“We had our little routine at night, like when the bar closed I'd be closing up and she’d kind of hang out with me,” Ruland said. “Now not having anybody, it just feels really weird and empty, leaving there at night not having her there.”

A white and orange cat stretches out on a wooden bench.
Shayla Ruland
In the sunny summer months, Kitty Kitty was often found sleeping on the back porch of Last Stop.

Six years ago, when Ruland bought the dive bar — then known as CK’s — from her brother-in-law, Kitty Kitty came too. According to Ruland, the orange and white cat initially lived in the apartment above the bar and started showing up when CK’s opened about 14 years ago. Eventually, Kitty Kitty moved in full time, with permission of her owner upstairs, Ruland said.

“He still lives there, and he was still helping feed her and everything all these years,” she said.

In recent weeks, Kitty Kitty’s health started to decline and she was having trouble walking. Three weeks ago on a Saturday, Ruland walked into the bar and could tell that Kitty Kitty wasn’t doing well. She and a few of the bartenders drove her to the emergency vet.

The vets told Ruland that Kitty Kitty’s kidney’s appeared to be failing.

“So at that point, I just made the difficult decision,” Ruland said. “There were four of us there with her when she went, so, you know, it was kind of nice that she was surrounded by the people that she knew.”

A man in a Twins hat and jean jacket sits with an orange and white cat. On the right, a man in a black knit cap and blue sweater holds an orange and white cap.
Kevin Lumpkin
Former Vermont Public reporter Henry Epp (left) and reporter Liam Elder-Connors with Kitty Kitty.

The bar plans to hold a few events to celebrate Kitty Kitty, including a cat adoption event in partnership with From Feral to Furever on Aug. 13.

“It's called ‘kitties and cocktails,'” Ruland said. “We’re going to have a mimosa bar in honor of Kitty Kitty, because mimosas are orange and she was orange.”

Kitty Kitty’s ashes now sit behind the bar. Ruland said she’s still adjusting to life without her feline companion.

“I never had had a cat before, and I was never a cat person,” Ruland said. “But she definitely changed that.”

Questions, comments or tips? Send me an email at

Liam is Vermont Public’s public safety reporter, focusing on law enforcement, courts and the prison system.
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