In December 1997 I was turning 9 years old. We had an old russian blue cat named Phideaux (pronounced Fido) but I desperately wanted a kitten. My mom made the mistake of taking me to a pet store by our house in Burbank “just to look”… yeah right! I immediately found a cage of bouncy tabby kittens and picked out the cutest one. We picked him up a couple days later but I could have sworn they gave me the wrong cat… this one was skinny and had bug eyes… but I took him anyway, and I’m so glad I did.
When we got him home he started racing around the house—doing laps around the kitchen table. I started thinking of names for him—lightning, blitzen, max—but none felt quite right. When I would pick him up he purred so loundly and fiercely he sounded like an engine. I decided to name him Moter. That’s right… Moter with an “er”… I was nine and a horrible speller. But the name and the spelling stuck. Later on Moter got shorted to Momo.
Over the years our love for each other grew more deeply. I threw him birthday parties, dressed him up in doll clothes, tossed him arround—you know, the usual—and he came back for more. As we got older he helped me mend broken hearts, and celebrate achievements. He was always there. Without judgment or censure, without unwanted advice or criticism, just big marble eyes and a raspy voice, telling me I was loved and everything was going to be OK.
We found out Momo had cancer a couple weeks ago. The cute “melon belly” was actually a large amount of fluid incasing a tumor in his abdomen. Who knew?? He seemed fine! So instead of doing more tests and poking and prodding, we decided to wait it out. But this Monday he took a turn for the worse. He stopped eating, drinking, moving around, but what really scared us was that he stopped purring… our Moter had gone silent except for terrible moans that cost him all the energy he could muster.
My dad and I took him into the vet this morning and put him out of his misery. He lost 2 pounds in one week and was obviously in pain and discomfort. It hurt to see him so out of it—this was not my funny, bouncy, playful kitty—knowing there was nothing I could do except relieve him of it all, and say good bye.
But we never truly loose the ones we love. I have 15 years of memories to think of whenever I feel alone or sad. Momo’s spirit lives inside Dice, and Smokey, and Bandit, and every loving cat. I will miss him to pieces.
photos by Matt Conrad