There was no post yesterday, but today I am fixing this with a special edition. This issue has nothing to do with our trip, it has to do with my cat, Kento. I found out this morning that my dear friend had been put to sleep, and could think of nothing else than finding some way to honor his memory, and this article is that way.
Kento was my cat, but anyone who has been close to their pets knows there's more to it. A pet isn't always just a pet, it's a companion and a friend. In them you find your trusted confidant, a constant friend, and to them you give all of your love. Kento was no exception.
Kento was an awesome cat. He was weird, he was quirky, but he loved people and he was always friendly and forgiving. I'm going to start at the beginning and talk about this amazing little guy, remembering as best I can the life we had together.
I remember when I first got Kento it was on the heels of another kitten I had passing away. The kitten was very sick and she didn't survive the treatments to make her better. So, I was allowed to go to the vet with my mom and pick out a new kitten. The vet brought in a litter of three kittens, one grey with stripes, one black and white, and one orange and white. I remember the first two sort of stuck to the corners, not really wanting to go anywhere. The orange one though just started marching around like he owned the place. He came right up to me, sniffed my finger, and then licked it. So I picked him up and said I made my choice. We later returned to the vet with Kristine, who picked the little black and white kitten. The two brothers went home with the two sisters, who named them Kento and Zip.
At the time, I was very much into an anime named Ronin Warriors, and Kento of Hardrock was the "orange" themed character on that show, which is where the name came from. I thought at the time that Kento meant orange in Mandarin or something, but I was probably wrong. All the same, the name was his, and I wasn't changing it. (Kristine named Zip after the Beanie Baby, which she was currently obsessed with.)
Of course there's no way for me to remember everything. I remember some highs and lows but memory is fickle and it'll leave out gaps. I remember barely a week after we got the kittens they became very sick. I remember holding Kento, who at the time was barely bigger than my hands, and I would clean his eyes and nose and try to keep him warm. After a day or two the fever passed and the kittens returned to the sprightly little devils they started out as.
When we moved to Wisconsin, the cats had a huge house to run around in. They would sprint from one end to the other, being so loud we would refer to them as horses galloping across the field. Honestly, you wouldn't think two small cats could be this loud but they found a way.
Kento especially loved to play a game where he would sit on the ironing board outside my parent's bedroom and swat at people who would run by. He loved this sort of game. He would play it anywhere he could. Though he would swat at you, he was still the gentlest cat. He was especially good with children, as he would be very long-suffering with their less than tender treatment.
His favorite thing in the world was treats. He loved all sorts too, but the ones he would beg for were the various crunchie treats made with tuna or salmon flavor. He was a con artist, and would make a point to beg in the kitchen every day starting mid afternoon and not giving up until everyone had given him treats, probably more than once.
Kento was also a climber. We often found him high up in places cats weren't meant to get to, but he found a way. He would jump onto the counter, which led to the fridge, which led to a little ledge window between the kitchen and the living room. There he would remain, perched high above his kingdom.
When Kento was still fairly young, probably no older than three, he had an accident. No one is exactly sure what happened, but what we believe happened is he fell from that high height onto the stereo. He was unable to right himself in time and fell from there, clumsily to the ground. We knew something was wrong from the way he walked, and so we took him to the vet. The vet said his spine was badly dislocated, and the only solution was either letting him live with it or an expensive surgery that would entirely inhibit him from jumping ever again. Since he was so young, we decided to go the non-surgery route. If he could in fact live with it, we would rather he could jump and climb, and he went on to do just that.
It was from this accident that Kento got his iconic tail twist. He would walk around like a Husky dog, tail tightly curled, because this righted the damage he had done to his spine. Really to me that's an amazing little thing he learned to do. Funnily enough, Zip began to copy him, and after a while both cats would strut around with their tails twisted over their backs.
That's really just one example of how much these two brothers loved each other. They were together practically their entire lives, and spent a lot of that time playing, exploring, eating, and sleeping together. There were only a few times they were separated for various reasons, but in the end, they always found their way back to each other.
Kento was an explorer by nature. He absolutely loved outdoors, and would spend every hour he could out there. In Wisconsin, we had to install extra locks on the screen doors because he had learned to open them and slip out.
My mom grew catnip in her garden, and both cats would just go insane over the plants. They ate those plants until there was practically nothing left. One time Kento caught a little baby rabbit and brought it to me. He could not of been prouder, but since he had no claws to speak of he couldn't do much about it wriggling. I freed the baby bunny, but Kento would have none of that and he tore back into the underbrush to find it. It was one of the more terrifying moments of him being outside, since I couldn't locate him for hours after this. I was afraid he went too far and couldn't get back. I eventually found him hiding out in some tall plants. I think he was angry that I let his prize get away.
But that's the sort of cat Kento was. He liked to go places he shouldn't, he liked eating other people's food more than his own, he enjoyed stealing treats from Zip's stash more than eating the ones we gave him. He was the king of laying on beds in the middle of being made, and the master of finding the exact place we didn't want him to be, and then falling asleep there. He liked to knock things off tables when he wanted fed, and he would meow at you insistently until you followed him... over to his food bowl where there was already food. He just liked company when he ate. His favorite foods were yogurt, salmon, roast beef, cheeseburgers, and ice cream. I couldn't have any of these things without him sticking his face between the food and my mouth, and even if it wasn't one of his favorites well, he still wanted a bite... just a little one.
Most of all, Kento loved boxes, bags, and suitcases. He would locate them anytime they were left around and he would claim them as his own. No bag would go unexplored, no box unslept, and no suitcase left without a coating of Kento fur. He loved to adventure like this, and it was one of my favorite things about him. Whenever I would get an order from Amazon, I knew Kento would make quick use of the boxes left behind.
Kento wasn't perfect, however. His greatest failing was his health, which ultimately began with his fateful fall. We had several scares with Kento, all of them resulting in Vet visits or long term stays. He went through a lot, none of which I'll elaborate on here, because that isn't how he should be remembered. He should be remembered as he was, a grisly old war veteran who had taken his scars and just kept on living with them.
In the end, he remained a strong kitten who left this world in his own time. He was given an awesome cheeseburger, wrapped in a warm afghan, and taken to the vet where loved ones were able to say goodbye.
Sixteen years is a long time. That's longer than I've known Rob, that's (at this point) more than half my life, and it's far longer than I've known almost all of my other friends. If anyone wants to share any stories or memories they have of Kento I would love that. You can either post them in the comments or send them to me directly and I'll add them to this post.
I'm going to miss Kento more than I can express. He lived for 16 good years and I'm so grateful for the time I had with him. I'm also grateful to my family who helped me with this. I want to say thank you to everyone who played a part, and I want the rest of the world to know that this amazing little cat was one of the most important things in my life.
Thanks for the adventures, Kento. I love you and miss you.
"Kento would always come and lay right between me and my computer, because it was the most adorable and inconvenient spot for him to be and he always looked so smug about it." - Rob Bednarek
"We all know that Kento LOVED going on adventures. Because of that, he taught us all to be brave, even if you don't exactly trust the situation. And specifically, he taught me to be strong and not to let pain get in the way of being patient.
You might think that everybody spent a lot of time taking care of Kento, but the funny thing is: he spent his whole life taking care of us. And ultimately, that's why he's the best little kitty ever." - Kristine Koyama (for the rest of the amazing quote, please look in the comments)
Dalibor Zujovic and Kento being bros.
"I wouldn't be able to stand up without Kento stealing my chair. I knew every time I left I would have to wrestle my chair away from adorable 'rabbit feet'. Kento used to lay in such a way that his paws were tucked up and it was super cute. We would call him all sorts of great names. Typically, he looked like a potato but sometimes he would be things like melted caramel. It was stupid, but funny at the same time." - Sharon Bednarek
"My favorite memory of Kento is when I snuck into your guys house to scare you, and I came around the corner of the entry way and stuck my head up to see what was going on, he was right there staring at me like 'what the heck are you doing'. I gave him the little ahhh gesture and waved at him and smiled, and he did what I assumed was a cats shrug and saunters across the room to find a good rest for the upcoming entertainment." - Jon Cukjati
"Remember when the cats used to walk around the ledge and one day mom had a candle burning? Kento backed up and burnt all of his butt hair. He would wait by the door for Sharon, bringing little stuffed animals to line up at the top of the stairs for when she returned. He would always come to dinner and sit in someone else's seat until we finally just gave him his own stool so he could eat dinner with us." - Dad
"I don't have a favorite Kento story because that would imply that there were moments that meant less too me than others with that kitty.
He did leave his mark on me, though. Literally. I have a small scar on my chin left behind from one of his particularly too-exuberant chin bites. He was the kind of cat who loved you enough to bring your chin to its knees and put it in its rightful place of submission.
That brings up what really should be commented on, which is how much he truly loved you and his family. If anyone claims they don't like cats because they're too aloof and uncaring, I can use Kento as proof to the contrary. He loved you as much as you loved him, and it showed. Through all of his troubles in life, he still stuck around much longer than any cat of his type should have, and that's because being around the people (and other kitty) in his life made him so happy that he didn't even care about what was bothering him." - James Bearss