Dear Spike

The first time we met, you were hanging upside down in a cage full of unwanted kittens. Your bright blue eyes spoke to me, and in a single moment I knew that you were mine and I was yours. The adoption process was quick and within a few minutes I was handed a box with you inside. When I lifted the box, it was so light that I had to check that you were in there. I asked how much you weighed and human society worker said 6 ounces. You were tiny.

Spike as a kitten

The ride home I was nervous about you getting sick and drove with you next to me with my hand in the box. You snuggled right up into my hand. I remember feeling your little heart beating so fast.

Your fur-grandma Bonnie came to help me get you settled. She was very allergic to you but said you were cute. Once back in my apartment, I realized I had no supplies and you stayed with grandma while I went out to frantically buy a litter box, litter, food, and toys.

Our first night together you snuggled in my hair and sucked on my ear lobe. That next morning the birds were chirping outside our window, and you watched in delight from the bed. Your bright blue eyes watched the world outside in wonder.

The next few years were not always easy. There was the time you climbed up a tree, got stuck, and I had to get the caretaker to retrieve you with a ladder. Then there was the time when I was taking you to the vet and had the foolish idea that you would just sit in my lap as I drove. You escaped and went under my car seat and twirled in a bunch of wires that got wrapped around your neck almost killing you. I pulled over and tore all the wires out to save you.

Then we moved and moved again, ending up in Edina. There you almost drowned when you jumped into a full bathtub. Ever since that day, I could count on you wanting to be an active participate in showers and baths. You may be the only cat that loves water but freezes completely when submerged.

From the balcony, you and your brother Kato used to fight with the Ravens. Sometimes they’d be three or four of them out there swooping at you. You two were warriors. Remember the time you killed a Raven and ate it? I do. All that was left was a claw and beak. I never did find the rest of it.

I don’t think I’ll ever forget the day I thought I lost you forever. I had left the patio door open so you and Kato could spend time outside while I was at work. Since the condo was three stories up, I didn’t think you would jump. I was wrong. Once I realized you weren’t in the condo I immediately started crying. I felt terrible. I should have known better than to leave the door open. I was sobbing on the balcony when I saw an orange ball of fur and I knew it was you. I ran down three flights of stairs and had you in my arms within minutes.

There was dried blood around your mouth, and you weren’t moving. I thought you were dead. I brought you into the condo and set you down, unsure what to do next. Then you popped up, bit me, and took off running around the condo playing with Kato.

Spike and Kato

By the time you were just a few years old, I thought that you had used up all your nine lives. But the worst was yet to come. My alcoholism and bad decision making were in full effect and sadly, you bore the brunt of my neglect. You did not deserve the lonely nights, dirty litter box, and intermittent feedings. Yet, somehow, every time I’d come home, you were happy to see me. I did not deserve your love, but you gave it to me anyways.

You endured abuse from my first husband and spent many evenings as my only confidant as I told you all my fears and hopes. I divorced and we moved and moved again.

This is when you met Bella, the love of your life, when she moved in across the hall from us. You loved Bella more than anything and would spend every waking moment peeking under the door waiting for her. Whenever she was in the hallway, you’d put both paws under the door to greet and play with her.

After a few months your love affair with Bella was known throughout the apartment building and you had many visitors. Those were happy times. When Bella moved out, you went into a deep depression, and I feared that it may be the end as you didn’t eat for nearly a week.

Spike and Kato cuddling

Then came husband number two, who was everything the first had not been. You two hit it off right away and you got more love and affection from him and his daughter than you were accustomed to. Then we moved into the woods. This transition was a little more difficult, but you adapted, like you always do. We were a family and there was much love and kindness.

Shortly thereafter, we were told that you were dying by your vet and that you would be dead in six months. I cried and cried. I was not ready for you to go. I told you that we weren’t going to listen to the vet anymore and that we weren’t going to take any more of their medicine and whatever time you had left, we were going to make the most of it.

Then I got divorced again but the gratitude outweighed the sadness. Time passed and a new man came into our life. He brought with him a dog named Winston who unfortunately killed your brother Kato. But you persevered like you always do.

Spike and Kato

Four more years passed, and I had a son and we moved again. I was so grateful that you lived long enough to meet our son. Then I got pregnant again and got married.

You had periods when you’d stop eating and hide. Every time you did this I prepared for your death. Shortly, before our daughter was born, you had an especially bad spell. I was sure that it was the end, and I was sad that you wouldn’t met our daughter. I was wrong.

That was over two years ago. You love our daughter, and she loves you. I’m so happy that you got to meet her. For over 25 years you’ve been my constant companion. You are the most consistent relationship I’ve ever had. I am a better person for knowing you. Thank you for sharing your life with me.

As I write this, you’re sitting next to me on my son’s batman couch. A few minutes ago, you were messing with our new dog Lucie. You’re not afraid of anyone anymore, are you? I’ve fed you nine meals of bone broth today as you are not able to eat anything else. You are skin and bones with clumps of missing fur as I’ve had to cut out mats and messes.

Your bright blue eyes are no longer. A faded yellow color peaks through your cataracts. I’m not sure you can see at all anymore. Your thyroid condition and kidney failure have brought you to your limit. You are now behind my chair throwing up but there isn’t much there as you haven’t eaten solid food for a year. Your body is no longer worthy of your beautiful soul. It is time to let you go.

You’ve hung on longer than anyone could have anticipated. Sometimes I think you powered through because you wanted to know that I was going to be ok. I want to tell you that I will be ok and thank you for all that you’ve done for me. I love you more than I’ve ever loved any animal and I will always carry a part of you with me.

On Thursday, a vet is coming to the house and will give you a shot that will make you sleepy. I’ll be there to hold you in my lap. Then the sleep will take you over and you will be free from this earthly form. Until we meet again old friend. Rest well.

2 responses to “Dear Spike”

  1. Oh Ruth I am so sorry about Spike! I remember him sticking his little paws out under the door at Silver Bell. He has had a wonderful life and a great mom . He was always your protector living here. He will be deeply missed by you, I know. It is time for him to get some healing rest and not insure pain anymore. I will remember Spike forever.

  2. Ruth I’m so glad Spike was your constant companion through all of those years, some of which were turbulent indeed. I have such fond memories of Spike back in the Eagan apartment days! I am convinced he was without question looking after you and stuck around to ensure you were finally OK. You’re more than OK today because you got the privilege of being there for Spike when he needed it most – to hold him as he made his transition from this earth to the great beyond. But he’s not gone, Spike will be with you forever in spirit and I know you’ll keep his memory alive for the rest of your days.

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