Her name was KoE. It was mispronounced and mangled by vet clinic office staff for the first 15 years of her life. For some reason, when we moved to Ventura, everybody started saying it right. Say it like “Joey” and it stood for Kitten of Evil. Our little KoE died on December 3, 2018 at the age of 17.
This is going to be my eulogy for KoE, because she deserves to have her memory preserved, because I did it for Munchy and Weasel when they passed, because there are so many little things about her that I don’t want to forget. She was a very special cat. She was the most gorgeous cat and she always made me laugh.
In July of 2001, Seen and I took 3 of our neighborhood stray cats to a TNR clinic in Pasadena. When we picked them up that afternoon, one of the organizers told us about the kittens who had been spayed and neutered that day. She said they were feral, so would go home with a foster but would have a hard time in life. The little black girl was particularly at risk, since people never adopt black cats, the woman said. Seen decided we should bring the black and white kitten home. KoE was still unconscious from the anesthesia when she got her name. I was convinced our two resident cats, Weasel and Munchy, would think she was a kitten of evil. The name stuck. (Weasel didn’t like KoE, Munchy didn’t care either way.)
KoE was definitely feral. She was a two pound, two-month-old bundle of fear and anger. There were fleas still hopping off her tiny kitten body as she struggled awake from the sedative. I gave her a gentle bath to get the fleas off and a few drops of blood trickled from her spay site. I held her in the towel, close to me and looking in her eyes I said “You better survive little one, because I love you already.” She was so full of piss and vinegar and attitude. She glared back at me, trying to murder me with her eyes.
We placed her in the bathroom, with a ticking clock, a place to hide, warm blankets, food, water, litter and a teddy bear just about the same size as she was. She would carry that teddy bear around by its scruff and sleep on it for comfort.
It took her a few months to come around to domestic life. She would hide in the back of Seen’s closet and if we got close she would start a high pitched whine that would slowly lower in octaves until it was a deep growl. Which just cracked me up. At one point she crawled into the hole in the back of Seen’s speaker cabinet, causing massive panic when we couldn’t find her, only to locate her fluff and claws with an arm into the speaker.
I would play with her morning, noon, and night, holding her on my chest before we went to sleep and saying “I love you, you weirdo.” gently until she finally learned to trust me. It took 15 more years until she would start to trust Seen. She was a tough nut to crack.
But behind that feral fear was a genuinely funny creature. I would pick her up and she would roll with her back into my arms and stretch as long as she could get, her toes spread wide. She would boss me around, yelling at me from across my office until I followed her (and her swinging belly floop) to the sunshine puddle in the living room, where she would flop and pull my hand to her face – basically petting herself with my hand. I would hear her YOWLING from the other room in the middle of the night and run out in a panic to see if she was injured, but she was just carrying around a furry toy. When she saw me, she’d slowly open her mouth and let the toy drop and then give me a tiny kitten mew.
KoE was a reluctant therapy cat. When I was feeling blue, she would curl up next to me on the couch and put her big back feet against my butt. If Seen and I got into a fight, and I started to get loud or excited, she would hop up next to me and tap my arm, yelling at me to stop fighting.
She had the best fluffy fur, with toe floofs. She was black, but a little bit burgundy and she had tiny flecks of black in her white belly. She had one black fleck over her heart. She had polka dots on her toes and a black nose. But she also had the filthiest ears. I would clean them at least once a week.
The few times we took her to the vets were because of her oddball behavior. The first time, 3 year old KoE woke up screaming in the middle of the afternoon and had been so scared by a dream that she peed herself, clear through a comforter and three blankets on the bed. The next time she had kept throwing up little orange bits, we couldn’t figure out what it was, thinking it was some weird tumor. Vet said it was feathers from the toy we left out. Girl was eating the feather.
She loved me, talking to me, telling me stories, looking for love when she needed it, but still reserved. She never was one to sit on my lap or sleep in bed with me. For one thing, HE was in there. I’m convinced she would have preferred a place for just the two of us. Where she and I would talk and eat tuna.
Her kidneys started failing about 3 years ago, but it was manageable. This past June, she had an episode where walking was difficult for a few minutes and she was yelling in pain. The ER vet said her kidneys were getting worse, so we began fluid treatments at home. Then in October, the vet said she was in heart failure. The treatment for kidney failure and heart failure are contradictory. The kidneys want more fluid, the heart wants less fluid. We knew our old lady was entering the hospice phase of her life.
It doesn’t make it much easier. The last week was tough, she was KoE, but she was also losing her mind and her body. And the last weekend, she went downhill quickly. She couldn’t rest. She needed comforting constantly. She didn’t know what to do with herself. She was yelling at the toilet and the washing machine. Her kidneys started to shut down. Watching her, we knew there really was no option. She needed help out of her pain.
KoE laid down next to me in bed that last morning and she gave me one of her long rambling purr/meows. I always loved those, they reminded me of when lightning lights up the clouds and never strikes down.
I called the home visit vet as soon as they opened, they came out as soon as they could. I petted her and told her I was there and that I loved her. And that I will love her forever. She died in her favorite spot on the couch.
I’m relieved she is out of pain, and it is so strange without her here. I tried to take as many pictures and videos as I could those last few months, but it’s not the same. It’s not her. She was beautiful and weird, and she loved me. Now she is gone.