Home > Life in the US > There was no obituary for Tico in today’s paper.

There was no obituary for Tico in today’s paper.

Doesn’t seem fair, though he was only a cat. An alley cat at that, a short Grey born in a fast food parking lot and lucky enough to be rescued and adopted. We didn’t even choose him. He chose us. He pushed his head against Ruth’s hand while she petted another kitten. We named him Tico, short for gatico, which he was then, a tiny thing, when first presented, with great trepidation, to an irate, hissing, snarling Ketzele. Tico the kitten—not the fifteen pounder he grew up to be—ignored her. He explored his new surroundings, what would become his, as if she wasn’t there. But he came to love her and when she was taken away for three days of thyroid treatment, he pined, hidden away in a closet, neither eating nor drinking.

Tico missed us when we were away and always foresaw our return, waiting by the front door, laying down on the hallway rug to have his belly petted. Ketzele often awaited us too, but to demand food—ignoring whatever was on her dish. Tico wanted the reassurance of our touch. His striped fur not the softest, nothing like Ketzele’s luxurious black fur though he did have the look, the noble profile and demeanor of a tiger.

Unlike Ketzele he ate everything. Catnip every night became a ritual/peace offering before I went to bed. He loved treats and came into the kitchen to demand a bit of whatever I was having for lunch. After Ruth once placed a few treats on a green stool, Tico adopted it as his treat-asking spot. He enjoyed life.

For a cat he hardly slept and spent much time and every evening on my lap—often claiming his spot by nosing aside my laptop—eyes half open, gazing away at something in the distance. Or within. Sometimes he decided to bathe himself while on my lap. Sometimes he slathered my fingers so I could stroke/wash his nose and up between his eyes and to the back of his head. Othertimes he pushed his head into my left armpit and cuddled in, on his back, like a baby, so I could pet his throat and under his chin. A simultaneous thumb/index under-chin/back of the head pet was rewarded with a deep purr. Sometimes he closed his eyes and fell asleep on my lap, soundly enough for his head to slip off and for him to almost fall, barely catching himself by sinking his claws into my thighs. I applied lots of Neosporin, none too happy, but considered it a privilege.

He did hunt birds. He wasn’t perfect, merely a cat. He enjoyed morning time on our deck, alternatively munching on leaves, exploring, resting, stalking bugs and over half a dozen time catching a bird. How he managed that, with a bell on his collar, we cannot tell—all but one of the birds survived–after he carried his prize in his mouth into the house. We added bells to his collar to warn the birds, but to not avail. He was the sweetest cat and invariably came out to greet visitors and accept their pets, except at the vet’s office, where he was branded vicious. He didn’t care to be prodded, or having his claws clipped. He didn’t like it there, even though it was where we found him.

He died young. Luckily he died quickly. Less than two months after a harrowing week at the vet hospital, where I cried every day seeing him caged, in-tubed, a lamp shade around his neck, hissing at everyone but purring at my touch. He seemed cured when we brought him home, once again becoming his old treat-demanding, lap dwelling, normal self. But on Friday his condition suddenly returned and on Saturday morning, non-responsive, ‘numbers-of-the-chart,’ he was euthanized. I suppose the symptoms were there for all to see, though I didn’t. A couple days earlier he didn’t eat the bit of my lunch he’d requested though a day earlier he and I played with a bit of string. And on that fateful Friday he asked for his usual morning treat but didn’t touch it. Later that day, waiting for the vet to arrange for triage and an ultrasound at the vet hospital, after I knew, I petted the subdued Tico on my lap and strangely he let a groan escape. Just the one. Afterwards he purred, weakly, not too much. I was his person as much as he was my cat. He died much too young. He deserved better. I should’ve given him many more treats.

Death Announcement

Tico, on July 2nd, 2011. Almost eight, beloved cat of Ruth and Jim. Left behind Ketzele, his life long companion who resented him till the end, and Jim, his personal gofer, assistant and preferred lap. Ran the house and once, when trapped downstairs, self-taught and relieved himself in the downstairs toilet. Was the model and inspiration for Seven Lives, the cat who brought Ernie and Linda together and in the end saves Ernie’s life in Robbing Peter and Paul and hopefully will live on paper through many more adventures. One of a kind. Much missed. Will never be forgotten.


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Categories: Life in the US
  1. July 3, 2011 at 9:56 pm

    So sorry to hear about Tico! I know you will miss him. Having just lost our family dog, I know how big a pet-sized hole can be.

  2. Lynda Battleman
    July 4, 2011 at 10:35 am

    Those of us who have watched our beloved pets who became the baby in the family become ill and die can imagine the sorrow that you are experiencing now. The place that Tico had in your life won’t be filled by another aminal but hopefully sometime in the future you will find it in your aching heart to allow another stranger to enter your world and you might discover another world of happiness. Lynda Battleman

  3. Sara Stone
    July 4, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    That was a beautiful piece you wrote about Tico. He really was special, he
    was the only cat I’ve ever liked because he was so lovable and so cute. I
    always felt he was more like a dog in his interactions with people. He was
    very friendly and loved to be petted. I know how sad you are and how much
    you must miss him but think of what a good life you gave him and how happy
    you made him. Please feel better soon.

  4. Melissa Stone
    July 4, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    I’m so sorry uncle Jimmy, we all know how much you loved Tico. Tico was lucky to have your love. I know he is now up in kitty heaven frolicking with endless treats, remembering his happy life and loving owners.

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