My Tiki

Good evening readers.

You may have noticed that updates have been sort of light these last several weeks.  Well, I’ve been dealing with a bit of sorrow.  About a week ago, Tiki, my 18-year-old Siamese cat, died after an extended period of illness.  Now although losing a pet is not the same as losing a close friend or relative, it still can weigh heavily upon you.  After all, she was a good and loyal companion who will be sorely missed.

Mar. 13 2008: From left to right Taz (shortly before his death), Tiki, and Thimble (still living)

And yes, before you ask, despite being a New York Giants fan, I didn’t name her after Tiki Barber.  After all, I got her back in 1992, a full five years before the Giants drafted Barber.

I wanted to share with you a few more photos of my cat as well as a rather amusing story.    Back in August of 1998, when Tiki was six years old, I was busily packing up the family vehicle before I headed off to college in Williamsburg.  After loading up my car, I put a few of the bulkier items in my parents’ minivan such as my computer, bedding, suitcase, and the like.  Right before we were set to leave, I looked around to say goodbye to my cat, but she was nowhere to be found.  As went back to the vehicle, I discovered her as you can see in the picture.

Aug. 21, 1998: Going off to college

They say that Siamese are typically a smart breed of cat, so I guess she figured something was amiss.  As so many of my items had already left the house, I suppose she didn’t want to be left behind.  Unfortunately, given the university’s policies, I could not take her with me.

She was a strange, but colorful, animal.  Much like a puppy, she would often follow me around the house and, until she went deaf, would usually come when called.  Tiki was a vacuum; she would suck up just about any foods she could find: meats of all kinds, cheese, crackers, chips, insects, and even ice cream from time to time.  She had a bizarre habit where she would chew on my socks right around where the tendon meets the heel.  I can’t tell you how many socks I lost to her.  In her youth, she would attack the shoes of any stranger who came near her.  When I would take her to the vet or if I tried to force a pill into her mouth, she struggled mightily and would foam as if she was infected with rabies.

My, my…she was a pretty good-sized cat in her day.  Once her kidneys began to fail about a year ago, she lost a lot of weight.  Around a week before she died she refused to eat anything and dropped below six pounds.  Trying to force-feed a cat is a difficult task, but I kept hoping she would recover.  Despite my efforts, she continued to wither away like a flower in the hot sun.  In the end, her time came at last.

Mar. 4, 2011: The day before she died.

What more can you say about a faithful and constant friend like Tiki?  Although she can never be replaced, I hope my next cat is of the same calibre.

5 Replies to “My Tiki”

  1. Sorry to hear it, Joshua. Losing a pet you’ve had for so long is tough for non-pet owners to understand (“But it’s just an animal.”)

    Last spring, our cat, Frankie, was hit by a car on 33. It’s always sad not to have your pet in/around the house — you always expect to see him/her, but have to keep reminding yourself that you won’t. That’s the hardest part for me.

    It’s been almost a year, and now we have a new cat, Charlie. He’s not a replacement, but we like him for different reasons.

  2. I’m very sorry to hear this, Josh. I have a cat myself, who I am very deeply attached to, so I fully understand the feeling. I don’t wish to wax overly poetic or to become lugubrious about this, but I can only say that animals like dogs and cats are a very important part of human society. They are, in fact, the only animals which humans have not totally actively domesticated, but which have on some level chosen to ally themselves with our species, and this makes the bond with a dog or a cat a particularly close one. True, Tiki was not a person, but there’s a Japanese saying to the effect that “Even a one-inch worm has a one-inch soul,” which is to say that even an animal can have a noble life, and the loyalty and companionship of a pet like Tiki is difficult to describe, and something rather unique.

    And although, as you say, the death of a cat is not an event of the same order as the death of a person, it’s still very sad in its own unique and difficult way to lose such a loyal animal. Still, one can be grateful for a creature like this to have been blessed with such a relatively long life. Eighteen years is a very long time indeed for a cat to live, and I think that she can be said to have fulfilled her life and her purpose admirably, which is a great thing for any animal to have achieved.

    –M

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