Toki the Man Cat

Toki can best be described as a man trapped in a cat’s body, something like Salem the cat on the television series Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Of course, unlike the fictional Salem, Toki did not speak, but we always understood him well enough. Our family will never again know his equal, he was our cat, but most of all he was our friend. He was under the care of our local veterinarian for an asthmatic like illness…which soon became apparently something more. Toki our beloved man-cat spent the last several days in a coma-like state at home, until this morning when we made the decision as a family to put him to rest.

The decision to put Toki to sleep was not an easy one, we had hoped that he would die at home in his own bed comfortably. Unfortunately, it did not work out that way, as Toki did not want to go any more than we wanted him to leave. We quickly discovered that we needed to intervene on his behalf, having realized the resilience of cats in general but especially of our beloved Toki.

My mama in law and I held him and talked to him, and spilled tears all over him in the vet’s office this morning. It took two injections to put him down. The first stopped his breathing but not his warrior heart beat. After the second injection, he quickly slipped away, and I gently scooped him up in my arms and we brought him home with us.

It is hard to help your friend die, it is even harder to lay them to rest in the cold dark ground on a rainy winter day. A four-foot hole just did not seem big enough to contain a creature that was so incredibly loved by his family. We returned him to mother-earth wrapped in a white swaddling blanket, with herbs and flowers from the garden. Spring just won’t be the same without him.

Toki will be missed by everyone who loved him, as well as everyone who knew him. He will be missed by his brothers, our dogs, Banjo, and Monkee. He will be missed by the neighborhood cats as well, as they have been frequently crying at our front door, having noticed his absence. He may even be missed by our other cat, dot, if only a little.

One thing about Toki was he loved to have his picture taken. He loved to be around my camera period, and would frequently attend photo sessions conducted by me at home, whether he was the subject or not. Most often, however, Toki was my favorite subject, especially before Jack, but even still after. He loved the clicking of the shutter and would hold so perfectly still you could see the tips of all his hairs in the close-up.

Here are photos of my dearly departed friend, he’s gone to the happy hunting grounds. Every time I find a dead bat by my back door or a decapitated hummingbird under the feeder, I’ll take comfort in knowing that he’s up to his old tricks again.

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