Kranky Krazy Kamikaze King Kiko Ray Koko Dakota and his Gold Gogo Boots

Originally Published on Blogetary 1.0 March 2007 (I was lucky to find this stored in a document on my computer).

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Kranky Krazy Kamikaze King Kiko Ray Koko Dakota and his Gold Gogo Boots

April 14, 1994 to March 6, 2007

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Kiko and Pye hanging out on my dresser.

Kiko (below) and Pye (above) hanging out on my dresser.

I haven’t eaten dinner and I have an appointment at 8AM tomorrow so why am I doing this?  Why am I writing out a eulogy for a friend at midnight the night I lost him?  Well, it’s who I am and it’s what I do.  I’m doing this because I am a writer.  I process myself through pen and ink on a page or through words typed in a blank document, or sometimes even charcoal on a book cover or anything I can find on cocktail napkin. It’s how I operate.  Some people make movies or food or Cds.  Some people hide in self-made caves and refuse to come out.  Pye eats (well, to be fair, so do I).  But when I am processing something I write. The things that are too private to share go in my journal in handwriting as cryptic as ancient, alien hieroglyphics – or so I’ve been told.  Later on I will process some of my grief in there.  But for now I just want to share some of the celebration of life that was Kranky Krazy Kamikaze King Kiko Ray Koko Dakota and his Gold Gogo Boots.

This is long, so you don’t need to read any further if you don’t want to.  What I do ask is that you let me know if there are any pet owners or people out there in need of the following: Insulin syringes (100), PZI insulin (almost a full bottle), VitaCal nutrient supplement (almost full), and blood glucose meter (prick thing and needles for taking blood, measuring sticks that are good until May 2007), Canned M/D food for diabetic cats and coupons for M/D dry and canned. Let me know if you know of anywhere that these items could be of use to help someone else out.  I know what it is to care for a special needs friend whilst on a budget.

Kiko's balancing act on the door, Los Angeles, 1994.

Kiko’s balancing act on the door, Los Angeles, 1994.

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If you’re getting this email or see this as a blog then you either have met my guy or know of him.  Kiko was born in Los Angeles, California on April 14, 1994. When he was 6 weeks old, on a warm summer evening, his family brought he and his littermates to the front of Ralphs, which was at that time in Beverly Connection, and proceeded to try to find homes for them.  A young girl saw him and fell in love, picked him up and brought him to Starbucks to show off to her band buddy, one of my co-workers.  However, this young girl had forgotten she was allergic to cats and by the time she had been holding this kitten for an hour, had broken out all over.

Kiko kitty 1994Unbeknownst to this young woman, my roommate Kelly and I had been talking about getting a kitten; a pretty orange striped kitten.  We wanted to name her Kika if ever we found her (we assumed her) after the Pedro Almodovar film of the same name (sassy redhead as main character).   When I saw this little orange marmalade kitten clinging to the young woman’s chest I fell in love and immediately volunteered to take him home since she obviously couldn’t.  I was still at work and so was my roommate, so I found some friends outside who promised to watch the kitten until I got off work and purchased kittenish type necessities.  With my bags in one hand and my kitten in the other, curled up tight in a little ball, head tucked in, I walked home.

I was in love.

We weren’t really sure we wanted to call him Kika, after all, because he was a boy.  Jim fell in love with the name Dakota.  I wasn’t sure what was best, but Kelly voted staunchly for Kika, so we compromised with an “o” ending and dubbed him Kiko (which I later found out is the nickname for Francisco – so you could say that Kiko’s name was Francis……).  Because I grew up reading the book about Rikki Tikki Tembo No Sa Rembo Cheri Beri Ruchi Pip Peri Pembo (who fell down the well), and because Kiko had a penchant for jumping and running and getting into trouble, I decided to name him, Kranky Krazy Kamikaze King Kiko Ray Koko Dakota and his Gold Gogo Boots (his brother’s name is Pye).

And so we lived fairly happily together, through thick and thin, good times and bad.  Sometimes I was the bad one and sometimes he was, but we always stuck it out together. He peed and I screamed.  He yowled and I said there, there.  We tried to work together and trust one another.

He had light jade green eyes – they could have been aventurine.

He wasn’t too sure about the move to San Francisco at first, but he rather liked it after we got our own place.  And while he was sort of okay with moving back down, he wasn’t quite sure he approved of another cat coming to live with us when I picked up Pye from across the street.  But, he did his best to get along in his catlike way.

Kiko and Pye 06 or early 07?Kiko was a very social cat, not necessarily with other cats, though he tried, but he loved people.  We had always had lots of people over when he was a kitten and up until just a few days before the end, he still loved to be around people.  I had some people over for a movie night and there he was, in the middle of it all.

His favorite place to be was to either take a chair all to himself, or to lay in the middle of the room, equidistant from everyone.  In San Francisco, I do believe that when he wasn’t at home he was going around the neighborhood chatting up the other bipeds. Some people even asked after him after we had moved.

Kiko sunning in San FranciscoOne of my biggest regrets was that when I moved back down to LA, I tended not to have over as many people as I used to and I didn’t have a garden for him to play in like I had before.  I think he got rather lonely.  Once he even jumped out my 3rd story window to try to go out and socialize. I had been excited that I had moved to an apartment building that allowed pets to roam the halls.  That quickly came to an end when I discovered that the pets that were there before him were not going to let him roam unhindered.  And then came the series of building owners who all decided that any animals trotting on through and sniffing by to say hello was a bad idea.  Sad.  I always felt guilty that I couldn’t let Kiko out to play when I left in the morning.  He used to walk me to my bus stop before we had moved to this apartment. I had always promised him that in another 6 months, in a year, or soon, very soon, I’d figure out a way to move to a little place with a garden. It just never worked out. I just hope he’s enjoying the Garden that he’s in right now.

When Kiko was diagnosed with diabetes a few years ago, I was sure it was the end then, but we figured out how to keep going and how to get his quality of life back. I did what I could to test him from home, keep him on his insulin, adjust when it needed adjusting, keep him on good food and watch for anything that might mean things were going to go down hill.  A few times he got a little tired or sick or quit eating, but he always rallied. He always got better and we figured out a way to go on.

This time was not one of those times.  He had been lethargic and not eating for a few days, but I had been getting some nutrients down him.  I had been tracking his blood sugar.  I had just gotten some stuff from online that I was hoping would help him turn the corner.  I was going to use it and monitor him. Tonight, however, when I came home, he had taken a turn for the worse.  His hind end was not working. He wasn’t able to urinate or walk.  He was too dehydrated to keep water in his mouth.  Both back legs were cold to the touch and he was in real pain.  When I took him into the vet at TLC Veterinary Clinic, at first the prognosis was good.  Expensive, but good. But before I could make a decision on treatment the vet came in again and said it was actually worse. Kiko apparently also had a heart murmur.  And, with the decreased body temperature and sensation in Kiko’s lower limbs, it was probable that he had a blood clot blocking things in his lower body.  And it was blocking usage of both limbs, not just one or the other.  In no case had the vet seen a recovery when both back legs had been affected this way.

So, I asked to see Kiko.  And he really was in pain and while he was still aware and cognizant, it was a high probability that soon he would die from the blood
clot moving up his system.  He probably would never regain use of his lower limbs – the same limbs he had used so often to jump to the highest ledge possible.  So, while it was a difficult decision to make, it was the only decision to make and I asked that he be euthanized. He had always been a big jumper and runner and I couldn’t imagine he’d have any quality in a life where he could barely move.

It took a long time to say goodbye and I thank Jim for being there with me and sharing in my grief.

I was with Kiko until the end, so he was not alone, or at least, not anymore alone than any of us are when we finally die in the company of family.  I had hoped that he would be able to die asleep in his bed at home.  He didn’t have his chance to say goodbye to any of you or to Pye, nor did you get your chance to make your goodbyes to him.  I’m sorry for that.  I hope you remember him fondly and I hope he’s having a good time now frisking about with butterflies and birds in the meadows somewhere.

Kiko by the catnip in SF