A week before-- that previous Wednesday the 3rd-- Niko came down with a strange illness that we and the vet thought pertained to his urinary tract blocking. After observing him a little closer, I discovered something was wrong with his digestive tract.
Stumped, on Thursday the doctor put him on diarrhea medication and insisted we try getting him to eat any kind of food since he wasn't eating. Over the weekend, Niko's health declined daily, he refused to eat even his favorite canned food, and by Saturday stopped drinking. Monday arrived and we really thought things were over, but the doctor convinced us to leave him overnight with an IV.
On Tuesday, Niko suddenly felt better. He was eating, drinking, and acting himself for 2 more days. Then Thursday arrived and I found urine and blood in my sink, Niko was straining to urinate, and finally, he peed pure blood in the corner of the apartment.
At this point, after months of vet bills and clear evidence that Niko had become a "chronic blocker," it was time to put him to sleep.
I cried... no... sobbed. Michael wept. We remained in the room, held and rubbed him, told Niko repeatedly that we loved and would miss him.
The weekend was spent much in the same state: crying, laughing about fun memories, and beginning the "new norm." An outpouring of support came from family and friends, for which I'm grateful.
Niko had been with us for 4 years. Michael and I saw him as a furry gray son: we knew his personality, his habits, his intelligence, his quirks. Niko was a gentle, old soul with youthful curiosity.
And while I appreciate words of encouragement to "think of the good times," nothing anyone says will make me less sad. Nothing will help.
But that's okay: we're grieving. I don't want to feel better right now. I want to be sad. I'm allowed to be sad. Life will get better, the sadness and anger will subside, and left will be happy memories. The void will be there-- a little piece of my heart died with Niko-- but it won't swallow us up.
To commemorate Niko's memory, I've compiled a bunch of photos for your enjoyment. It's a good thing I'm as "cat crazy" as I am so there were plenty of pics to choose from. Click to enlarge.
Early photos of Niko, after bringing him home from the shelter. So many comfy places to sleep and cool places to play in our apartment.
Like the TV.
Our mail basket.
And don't forget naps with Daddy.
Niko also had a love of windowsills....
He'd chirp (no really, cats make a chirping sound) at the pigeons in Chicago and the squirrels in the Burbs.
Niko was NOT a fan of the car.... or cross country road trips. But he was well-behaved anyway.
"Stop laughing, Mom. This isn't funny."
He wasn't sure about Cooper when we first brought the kitten home, but they became the best of friends. And yes, Cooper is having a hard time and doesn't understand why Niko isn't home.
At our place in Wisconsin. His first time going OUTSIDE. Yes... we put him on a leash.
He leapt into the snow not knowing what it was then promptly ran back inside.
He got used to the outdoors, but Niko-- like his mom-- preferred the indoors.
No matter what he did, where he was, or his mood, Niko was beautiful.
RIP beloved Niko. 12-23-07 to 4-11-13
Thank you to family and friends who offered their prayers and love.
To my parents for their continuous support during both cats' illnesses, as well as the flowers, coffee cakes, and letting me bawl on the phone.
To my dear husband, who is feeling a pain even I can't imagine, for crying with me, hugging me, and holding me. For better or worse never held so true...
To my Cooper, who doesn't understand yet knows just when to shower us with love.
To God, for bringing this little blessing into our lives and teaching others that cats can be just as special and fun as dogs.