Now before you get all teary eyed and emotional, we are talking about Miko the housecat here, but nevertheless a loss like this will get to you after you realize how it not only impacts you, but all those around you that have come to love the little fur ball.
I still have the adoption contract from the Humane Society of Austin & Travis County Inc. dated June 30th, 2003. Miko, originally named Mimosa, was only 3 months old when she found her way into my then brand new apartment after I just moved to Austin from Atlanta post graduation. We would have never crossed paths where it not for an animal showcase that the Human Society of Austin put on at the apartment complex over a random weekend. The little gray cat, which eventually grew into a formidable Russian Blue, simply proved too irresistible, and the rest as they say is history.
What are my fondest memories of Miko? That is a hard one as they are so many, but what may be more comical are some of the irrational fears which I initially had. For example, at about the same time I acquired a set of fancy Natuzzi leather sofas, which were an absolute overkill for the apartment at that time. I was terrified that Miko, who was was never declawed, would shred them to pieces and ruin the leather. I tried all kinds of idiotic measures to keep Miko away from the sofas including glue-on nail caps, which fell off every few days, just in case she ever did venture onto them. It took a while, but eventually I realized that Miko had absolutely no interest in the leather sofas unless there was a nice and comfy blanket laying on them. Even then, she would jump on the blanket with the softest of leaps and never revealed her razor sharp claws. The sofas are still around in a setting that suits them much better these days, the leather on them looks great, and Miko never left a single scratch on them.
About those razor sharp claws - over the years I've really come to appreciate them. If you've lived long enough in Texas you know that when it comes to bugs, reptiles, and other pest, just about anything can be found here. Well, when it came to pest-control Miko outperformed any pest control company that was ever hired. Her favorite snacks were lizards, cockroaches, and the occasional scorpion and spider. She would also patiently sit for hours waiting for a fly or moth to make a mistake and fly low enough so that she could catch it mid-flight. Amazingly she didn't get sick once eating any of these things, but she would on occasion leave a few souvenirs behind along with a hairball.
"They can also be fierce hunters, often catching rodents, birds, rabbits, small mammals, or reptiles." ~ Wikipedia
Another bonus was Miko's functionality as a clearly superior Roomba. She never bumped into things repeatedly, was a lot quieter, navigated stairs and chairs without issues, and would clean tables even when not requested. Most importantly, she never had any trouble finding her base stations for re-charging. Trust me, when you have kids, a second Roomba like this one comes in quite handy. On that note, her smarts and sharp claws did defeat quite a few automatic cat feeders until this one was finally found which proved resilient enough to overcome her perseverance - at her prime weight of 23lbs she was by no means a small kitten.
Contrary to her ferociousness towards prey and pests, her kindness and patience towards kids was on another level. Not once was there a hiss or a claw swipe even when her tail was accidently pulled or when her furry belly served as a temporary pillow. And while her speed and agility failed her towards the end, she never lost her patience. Both kids absolutely loved the cat, and as we got busier and busier with the kids, she thankfully got plenty of attention and play time from them.
Speaking of play time, this was another funny thing about Miko - cat toys with a few exceptions were of no interest to her. But if you gave her some left-over tennis string she would entertain herself for hours. She gladly played pong with any random ball and occasionally even played fetch. We'll definitely miss her trademarked loud purring that filled the whole room after petting time, and we'll even miss the annoying meowing when she insisted that the cat feeder cheated her by a few pebbles. She loved laying in the sun for hours on end, or watching birds play silly games in the trees outside. At last, she will now get to finally rest peacefully under some majestic oaks in the backyard - in the meantime the kiddos will need do with a plush Miko replacement until future animal plans are sorted out, eventually.