We lost Miko yesterday. He was 18 and a half.
Miko was a rescue we took in back when he was about 3 months old. He and his sister Delilah were brought from South Wales to my then home in Birmingham and they were totally feral. In fact, we did not even see them for the first 4 months they lived with us; we knew they were there because they were eating the food we left out but they hid behind cupboards and attacked anyone who went near. It was my faithful old collie, Dino, that eventually tamed them and they became lovely cats. They were never all cuddly and affectionate but they fitted in with the family very well.
Miko was a big lad and would amuse himself by hanging off my waist-length hair. That's one of the reasons I now keep it quite short... He also could never be bothered with hunting but could take a butterfly out of the air without opening his eyes to the midday sun.
His sister passed away in December 2009 after her thyroid packed in and she did not respond to treatment. Miko - who never really got along with Delilah - then settled into a quiet, comfortable retirement.
In March 2011, we got the two kittens. Miko amused himself by pushing them around and asserting his position as leader of the pack.
Then we found him one morning with paralysis of the back legs. The vet was unsure if it was due to a fall or a stroke so he was put on painkillers and sent home to rest. Followed 18 months of treatment with his condition gradually worsening; he'd have good days and bad days. This last week, though, he became very withdrawn and would not allow anyone to stroke him. He came out into the garden yesterday while we were having a get-together and caught a bit of sun. I then took him back into the house for some food and put him in his bed. At about 8pm, he started gasping so I went and sat with him and stroked his head. He went very quickly.
It is awful to watch a cat deteriorate; he went from being a lively little thing to a limping old man.
He had a wonderful life, though. He was a lot luckier than many other cats and had a great run.
He was buried under an apple tree with a bird the kittens had killed this morning. May as well send him on with a packed lunch...