Guest post by Kristin Fehrman
I adopted Kiko in December 2020 after my cat Ollie suddenly passed away from kidney failure at 3 years old. Ollie was a VERY timid kitty who was at the shelter for ten months before I adopted him. Though his life was short, I'm grateful I was able to give him a good home and a lot of love for his final year.
After Ollie passed away, I adopted Kiko at the beginning of December. He was a much different cat- bold and a bit sassy, I knew he would be a great companion to bring back to New York as I worked on some fashion and design projects. I even named my painting/design brand after my two cats- Kiko & Ollie. I live alone and those were my two boys who got me through quarantine, so it only seemed fitting.
Come February, I hired a driver for him and a one-way ticket for myself, because I'm THAT cat mom. Despite the ease of his transition to city life, he wasn't a fan of my temporary Astoria studio. Without big windows or even a ledge his bum would fit on, I could tell Kiko wasn't happy. Nevertheless, we carried on with our lives, and I even set a chair by the front door so he could look out the window.
On a windy night in April, my screen door blew off the hinges. The Astoria apartment from hell (a whole different story) now brought a whole new nightmare. I hadn't realized my main front door didn't latch properly- so when I wasn't looking, Kiko found his way out on a dark and windy night. Horrified, I couldn't find Kiko anywhere- and for days, he didn't come home.
My time in that apartment had come to an end and I had plans to head back to Michigan, so after posting ads, looking around the neighborhood, and waiting a week, I was faced with the choice whether to give up on his return or not. I flew back to Michigan on a 6AM flight, sick to my stomach.
As soon as I landed at TVC airport, a message popped up on my phone- KIKO HAD BEEN FOUND. In addition to that text, I received multiple emails, Facebook messages, and voicemails- all from different people trying to get in touch with me. Kiko was safe and sound with a girl named Emma, who spotted him on her walk to work- at 6AM, the same time of my flight. Oh, the irony.
The timing was absolutely unreal- but anxiety came over me. How do I retrieve Kiko?
Thanks to the same service I used to bring him to the city, I found someone in Boston who could pick Kiko up that very day. Emma, the wonderful girl who spotted him along 23rd Avenue and 26th Street, took good care of him, even spoiling Kiko with pumpkin cat food and fun toys.
Kiko arrived home the next day after spending an entire week outside in the cold and rain. After losing one cat, I couldn't imagine losing another within the same year. I was so upset with myself for not noticing him worm his way out the front door, so I knew I couldn't make the same mistake again.
Kiko is the type of cat who always wants to be close to you- in fact, on his first night after I adopted him, I woke up the next day to him sleeping at the foot of my bed. He's such a lover. Although I know I'll go back to the city, I will be EXTRA mindful of finding a place where he can thrive (and not get out!).
I often think about what he did all by himself for a week in Queens- what did he eat? Who did he meet? Did he ever make it to Astoria Park? Kiko certainly proved he's a tough little guy after being seemingly unfazed by his city adventure, and I still keep in touch with Emma, his friend who found him.
I hope Kiko's story can give hope to others who have lost a pet of their own, and to share the kindness of strangers. He may have lost one of his nine lives, but he certainly is resilient!
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