I met Cloud in 2008. He was a relatively young meow but twitchy. He’d been abused as a kitten. His foster family suggested he might not make it at all. They thought he had six months. Maybe a year. A fluffy, stunted Maine Coon, he shied from human contact but loved Luna, the other cat in the household at the time. They were close friends.
When I began to live with Cloud in 2009, contact was passing. I’d see him in the hallway or witness him dash under the bed. He would sleep at various places in the house but if you got too close, he’d watch you like a feral cat does, wondering if you might bother him. That was ultimately Cloud’s vision of the world: don’t start none, please don’t make there be none.
Cloud suffered a UTI before we bought the house. That was in 2010. We had to catch him to administer the medicine then. I’ll never forget that banana smell or the fact that he was wise enough to let us get hold of him to give it to him. Before that, he would only eat his dry food. He had no interest in other food, wet or treats.
After that, he had to go on a wet food diet which he actually took to quite well. Because he was a survivor. When he overcame that UTI, he did not have another health problem again until the day he died 9 years later. I always considered him the toughest cat I’d ever met. He never threw up, never seemed to get sick. Which made the ailment that took him all the harder to handle.
When we moved the two cats from Erica’s Tacoma apartment, we could not find Luna. We were convinced she was missing. I went to get Cloud because at least we knew he was in the closet. When I picked him up, he’d covered her with his body, his long fur masking her completely. He protected his friend. Loved her dearly.
When we moved to the new house, he tried to hide in his box. I picked him up and took him to the living room. He owned it from that point forward, occasionally jumping in the window, always enjoying his blanket covered chair. At night, he’d sleep where the other kitties did during the day. On the back of the couch, on the top of my armchair.
He never was a big jumper but you’ve never seen a cat who could run so fast. He’d dash down the hallway when he had to, running from other kitties or playing with invisible phantoms on the walls. I never got to be very affectionate with him until the end, but I had such a tremendous fondness for his spirit. He displayed such a strong survival instinct to have made it through his youth.
I pray he didn’t suffer in the last month of his life. I’d like to think he spent it incredibly happy, being fed whenever he raised his voice (sometimes 5 times a day). Gaining affection from Erica as he slept on her lap. Cuddling with Remi…something he had wanted to do since Remi was a young kitten. There’s an amazing story right there.
Remi was barely a year old. He was sleeping on this particular chair that Cloud really liked. Cloud came to join him, to cuddle. Remi started screaming like someone had kicked him. Cloud left…but he tried four more times to cuddle with the youngster and finally had to give up. Just this last week, days before his end, he finally got to press close to that beast and be happy.
I will miss Cloud for the rest of my life. I knew it would hit me hard no matter how prepared I thought I was. The worst part is he faltered one day…and I steeled myself for the end. But the next day, he was so much better. He played, he ran around, he ate…he used the bathroom normally. He had amazing interactions. And I thought ‘he’s got this. He’s a survivor. He’ll make it’.
And so I hoped…and the next day, he was gone.
This is for Cloud. The Cat Who Will Never Be Forgotten.