Monday, April 07, 2008

16 years

J and I had a lovely little cat named Pam. She would watch us leave for work or parties or the movies, staring out the living room window. She seemed lonely, and we thought she needed a cat friend. To make the adjustment easier for her, we wanted to get a kitten.

It was mid-March and there were only two 8-week old kittens in my favorite shelter, the one from which I adopted Pam, and where I had volunteered long ago. Two brothers, one black and the other a classic "boots cat": black with white boots, tummy and face. Little Boots Cat, I immediately knew was my Iky.

Iky was the silliest kitten. He and his brother gave great chase around the room, irritating the few adult cats to no end. Ike would run into one, be hissed at, and back up, cartoon-like. He seemed to instantly like me, climbing up my pants leg, then my sweater, and finally perching on top of my head, a trick he performed several times.

We left to think it over, though I knew I wanted Iky. The next day I was working, but J had a the day off, and I begged him to go get Iky before someone else snapped him up. While at the shelter, J called me to say he might get an older cat--he was afraid Iky would get on Pam's nerves. I took a deep breath and told him to do what he felt was best.

When I came home from work, I found to my great delight, a freshly adopted Iky. He emitted a high-pitched squawk, crawled into my lap, and became my very first baby.

Ike is now 16 and has had cancer for the past few years, successfully treated with a simple chemo regimen. In the past two days he has suddenly, rapidly gome downhill. Best case scenario, he has some minor gastritis which can be treated...but in all likelihood, Iky is probably coming to the end of his road. He has been my snuggle buddy, my pal, my friend. He is chock full of personality and I can tell endless stories about his escapades. It makes me immeasurably sad to think my time with him might be almost over. I can't believe it's been 16 years.


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