Life is a strange thing. You bend over backwards to eke out as much possible time with those you love… and no matter how much time you stole, it is never ever ever enough.
Today, we said goodbye to our friend Kiko Cat.
If you follow this (inconsistent as it is) blog, you know that Kiko was diagnosed with an aggressive cancer last year. He had a successful surgery and blew our minds with the strength of his recovery. A couple of months ago, we started to see some small bumps forming again – and before we knew it, he had tumors all over his body. The cancer was back. We had thought we could fight it again, but this time Kiko was hit with a double whammy. He got a urinary tract infection which alerted us to his deteriorating kidney condition. Faced with both cancer and kidney failure, we weren’t given many options for long term treatment. Lots of trips to the vet, changes in diet, changes in medication, IV fluids at their office (and eventually at home), pain meds, pain meds, pain meds.
But, would you believe it? Through all this, Kiko rallied. He fought harder than I think I’ve ever seen someone fight. He wanted every moment he could get. He earned the past few weeks of cuddles, rolls in the grass, bowls of tuna (or whatever we could coax him with) and naps in the sun with hard work and unwavering determination. It’s how we could tell that something changed over this weekend. We knew he would leave us soon. Suddenly, that year we stole and those last few weeks he fought for… seemed incredibly brief. It’s simply impossible to ever be ready to say goodbye to someone you love this deeply. There is no amount of time that would ever be enough.
All of this said, we are trying so hard to think of happy moments and not wallow in our loss. Kiko Cat was an incredible friend. In particular, he was an incredible friend to SteveKam and to Louie Cat. The three of them went through some emotional times together before I came into the picture. They got each other through some serious heartache and came out the other side with a stronger bond than most have known. And, as an aside, Louie Cat is not an easy cat to love – especially by other cats – but Kiko’s patience and kindness provided him with a best friend, sparring partner and cuddle buddy. As for SteveKam, their bond was deep. SteveKam was the center of Kiko’s universe. They would do anything for one another. Words are failing me here – sufficed to say, their relationship was incredibly unique. I simply don’t know Steve without Kiko.
As for me, my relationship with Kiko began quite tentatively. When we met, he was an extremely shy cat. If you came to the door, he’d be under the bed before your finger left the bell. It took weeks, then months, to gain his trust. The first time I got one of his trademark belly rubs, I felt true glee and knew he had accepted me. When I moved in, I brought with me Kyra Dog. Poor Kiko. I had never seen a cat so scared. He trembled all over. Again, it took weeks and months for him to accept this new creature. (Luckily, Kyra was the gentlest dog on Earth – especially when it came to cats. It helped. A lot.) Another thing I brought when I moved in, was a lot of people. A lot of visitors, a lot of friends and family in and out. It took some time, but over the years an amazing thing happened. Kiko went from being the first under the bed when the bell rang… to being the first cat to greet guests at the door. It was an amazing transformation. A testament to who this cat was. He never stopped growing and finding new ways to share love with people.
I miss him. Dearly. As funny as it sounds, our house feels so empty right now. Over the years, we’ve made a lot of jokes about how we have too many cats, how we’re worried we’re becoming crazy cat people, how we’ve been outnumbered on such a vast scale that legally they may own our home…. But, we always knew that the day our pride went from four down to three would be a heartbreaking one. And here we are.
Kiko, we love you to the moon and back. We will miss you for the rest of our days. Rest in peace, bubba.