Miko (2006 – 2021)

My cat died. Miko was a glorious/beautiful/amazing Russian Blue.)

Rather than go on about how utterly devastated I am (the tears come without warning), I started writing down some of my memories of him so that I wouldn’t forget him. Like I ever could. Hopefully you get a sense of just how much he meant to me and even though he was “just a cat”, anyone who’s ever owned a pet that they loved like a family member understands how painful it can be to lose it.

What I remember about you, Miko. You:

• Were so chill, the minute Mom met you and picked you up as a tiny kitten, you rested on her forearm and immediately fell asleep (your sister, Peggy Sue, was having a conniption fit with a granola bar wrapper and running around like a maniac) – you were the right choice

• Cried in the carrier on the drive from the cattery, but the minute Mom took you out of the carrier and held you on her chest, you fell asleep and never made a peep during the 3-hour drive home

• Loved your “fridge mice” — investigating the freezer when the ice cubes dropped

• Jumped inside the fridge or freezer any chance the door was left open too long because it was such a novel change in temperature for you

• Loved sunning yourself in any bright spot, but mostly on window ledges (much better once I got the Kitty Cot so you didn’t roll off after you’d fallen asleep). You even would fall asleep on the phone if it was on the window sill and convenient

• If someone leaned over, you jumped up on their back

• Loved to nuzzle Dad’s head standing on the back of the couch while he was watching TV

• Loved to sit or lie on anything anyone was reading or using so that they didn’t forget you were there and wanted lovins

• Jumped up into Mom’s arms when she called you (and sometimes when she didn’t – surprise!)

• Loved to head butt and nuzzle Dad’s beard

• Loved to head butt and nuzzle Mom’s forehead

• Loved it when Mom nestled the top of your head below her chin and in the crook of her neck

• Learned to use the City Kitty in 30 days, never having to use a litter box again; sometimes you’d wait for Mom to come in and, if you were done, you especially liked to let us know so that we’d congratulate you

• Liked to sleep upside down or in the strangest positions on Mom, often playing with her hair or her nose or whatever was available

• Knew when you shouldn’t be on the table, when caught you’d meow in a special apologetic tone like, “sorry, I know”

• Would lead mom towards the microwave because you knew the drawer underneath contained all the good treats, especially the gravy pouches she’d give you

• Were especially tolerant of Mom carrying you around on her hip like a toddler, you never minded and just let her cart you around

• Found a way to investigate any box, no matter the size, ignoring your more expensive toys completely

• Knew when we were not feeling good and you stayed by our side

• Seemed to like to torture Karl and the more he avoided you, the more you enjoyed bugging him (and chewing on him) – no one else, just him

• Had to investigate and sniff any new thing: flowers, food, boxes, stuff

• Loved to be held and snuggled, napping in the lap of Mom or Dad was your favorite place

• Liked to chase after anything on a string; you were less interested in laser pointers

• Didn’t mind the millions of times Mom took pictures of you, you were game

• Loved to sleep on Dad’s black blanket between his legs when watching TV

• As a kitten, you’d sleep in the crook of Mom’s arm (she never slept lest she move you and, gasp, you become “uncomfortable”)

• Thought Dad’s feet were an amusement park ride and got yourself kicked out of the bedroom at night (Mom never cared so you never attacked her toes)

• Learned how to walk on a leash, but we had to stop taking you out because you started camping the door

• Didn’t mind Mom pressing your paw pads ever since you were a kitten so that she’d get you used to getting your nails clipped (though you never were a fan of that)

• Jumped in luggage and made yourself comfortable (making us feel even more guilty if we were heading out of town for a few days)

• Ignored us when we returned from a trip for an hour or so, then you stuck to us like glue to make sure we were sticking around

• Had the most delightful cat breath

• Stuck out your tongue, just a little

• Had the title Prince Miko because you were treated like royalty

• Other titles: Mikolicious, Meeks, Buddy, My Little Man

• Were very chill and tolerant of strangers, though slightly aloof, but you were very gentle and loving with the family (that’s why Mom picked a Russian Blue)

• Loved to play tag and would run past Mom and “tap” her leg as you ran by

• Loved play hide and seek with Mom – if she was hiding – and you saw that she was hiding, you were all in to find her (made her squeal with surprise a few times, too, because you were the better player)

• Were not at all a fan of baths and nearly flayed Mom the one time you fell into the toilet as a kitten and she tried to bathe you

• Were a fan of catnip as you got older and Mom has the video to prove it

• Would jump up on the arm of the couch by the door waiting for Mom to come in, ready to greet her at the door

• Loved any kind of bag, mostly for crawling inside

• Were just as happy sitting on a garbage bag as a cardboard box

• Your favorite place was sleeping in warm laundry either on the couch or in the basket

• Knew you shouldn’t jump up on the counter and ignored Dad entirely, but when Mom yelled at you, you jumped down and hopped over to her to say “hi” (hoping she’d forget what you just did – she didn’t, but she gave you lovins anyway)

• Liked to “interrupt” Mom when she was in the bathroom because the door didn’t lock without effort. Dad was always locking you out, but Mom didn’t care. You just stood up on your hind legs and pushed the door open and said hi as you strolled in

• The closest you ever got to water willingly was jumping up on the ledge of the bathtub and wandering back and forth between the cloth and the plastic while Mom was having showers

• Loved drinking the dripping water from the faucet after Mom had a shower

• Insisted that Mom or Dad ran the water in the bathroom sink so you could take a sip (you’d sniffle until you got your head placement just right)

• Would literally “walk” up Mom’s legs with your claws until Mom picked you up

• Liked to sit with Mom while she read, patiently waiting until she was situated, and then you’d hop up and she’d maneuver you between the arm of the couch and her, with her arm around you so she could hold you and still be able to focus on what she was doing

• Didn’t mind being held like a baby in Dad’s arms; you’d look up at him and gently pat his beard with your paws

• Came when Mom called you, just like a dog, yet at a more leisurely pace

• Never liked people food “at all” until you got older, then we’d catch you sneaking up on the counter to lick the bacon fat spoon, or anything else that was remotely savory, and unprotected on the counter

• Could get into drawers and cupboards so we had to “child-proof” the kitchen and bathroom

• You loved to sleep on Mom’s hip if she slept on her side, between her legs if she was on her back, or happily crash on her chest

• Were not at all a fan of the cat stroller Mom tried to get you used to (she hoped to take you on walks and hikes), but you were not having any of it – you preferred to stay home

• The few times you ran out the door (you’re an indoor cat) you didn’t get further than the fence, you didn’t know what to do with yourself

• Were inordinately interested in the smell of Ben-Gay and would seek it out like a bloodhound if Mom or Dad was wearing some on sore muscles

• Had the uncanny knack of being right where Mom and Dad’s feet wanted to land as you walked in front of us, garnering yourself the nickname “Miko Underfoot”

• Never listened to Dad when he told you “no”, but you listened to Mom

• Loved to get brushed and all Mom had to do was pick up the brush, say “Brush?”, and you’d leap over to the arm of the couch, no matter what you were doing (even if you were contentedly laying in Dad’s lap) for some brushing

• Loved to lead Mom where you wanted her to be, you’d walk just a bit ahead and casually look back, making sure she was following you correctly (to the food, to the treats, to the bathroom so she could see your grand deposit and flush on your behalf)

• Didn’t mind laying on your back and letting Mom rub your tummy (most cats would flay if someone tried that)

• Loved your tailbone (just before your tail) scratched; it made your tail curl

• You meowed after you used the toilet because you wanted credit for it. That was Mom’s fault, she congratulated you (if she was nearby) each time you did, so you got into the habit of expecting it and were none too pleased if your successes were not rewarded with pats and kisses and “Good jobs”, which they ended up being once you got our attention

• Received about 50 kisses a day from Mom when she held you, you tolerantly and patiently (and with much purring) accepted them all

• You liked to look at Mom and she’d look back, then slowly blink, telling you she loved you. And you’d blink slowly right back

• Loved clean warm laundry; you always smelled so fresh when Mom hugged and kissed you afterwards

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