Sadly, one of our clan is no longer with us. I had to put Tiki to sleep Saturday, September 15. I realized the Thursday night before she just wasn’t her normal peppy self. I hoped it was just a fluke, but by Friday night she was worse. I’d noticed she wasn’t pooping or eating though she was really thirsty. Begging for water from the sink even. She seemed weak and frail. After I did the Boselli Mud Run that Saturday, I immediately headed home, showered and drove Tiki to the vet. I’d hoped it was something minor, but the Vet confirmed my fears. She was suffering from kidney failure.

I decided to create a page so I could save all my memories of Tiki. This is definitely not every memory or photo I have, so I plan to add to this page over time. 

The story of her middle name

The summer between my Junior and Senior year at Purdue, I took a job as a graphic designer for a custom datebook/handbook company just across the river in Lafayette, Indiana. There were tons of datebooks that needed to be designed in a short amount of time, so there were about 15 of us in a room cranking away.

On the way to work, I would pass the local Animal Shelter. One day I decided to stop in and look at the kitty’s. That day I met an Orange kitty and we seemed to get along well. I planned to head back the next day and take her home. I even had a name already picked out, Volunteer, after the Tennessee Volunteers since she was all orange. (My boyfriend at the time was a huge fan.)

When I returned the next day, the orange kitty had been joined in her cage with a grey kitty that they said was her sister. They’d been found in an alley together. I picked up the grey kitty. It crawled over me and dug its claws into my shoulders. I knew then I would be bringing this one home instead.

I had a snag in the plan though. Since I was a student, I needed someone to vouch for me being mature enough to care for the kitty. I can’t recall all the details, but for some reason, I had to ask my boss. I went in to talk to him and he was fine with it…on one condition. I named her after him. Now I had my heart set on coming up with some cute cat-like name so we came to an agreement that it could be her middle name. (I’m not a big fan of human names for pets…)

My roommates and I loved relaxing in the backyard of our house we called “The Beachhouse”. We had recently bought some tiki torches which I really liked.

That’s the story of how she was named, Tiki Jake Steiner.

The story about her first meal

When I first went to the shelter and met the orange kitty, she was alone. That’s because the grey kitty had been a little sick so one of the shelter employees had been fostering at their home until she was old enough to adopt. They mentioned to me that she had been sick, but it didn’t really register.

I took the grey kitty home and set out to get her organized and comfortable with her surroundings. My roommates and I were renting a house just off campus, and it had a white washer and dryer in the kitchen. I set Tiki on top of the washer while I got her food & water. I was just about done when she sneezed. Too cute, right? Except when she sneezed, little droplets of red snot covered the top of the white washer! Totally gross. I guess she’s a little congested? (I called the shelter, and they said not to worry.)

I tried to give her food there, but she really wasn’t interested. If cats don’t eat for a day or two, they can get an imbalance of bacteria in their stomachs which can be bad, so I was a little concerned.

I picked her up, brought her and the food into my room and was showing her around. I’d placed a big mounded bowl of appetizing cat food (Mmm yum!) right in the middle of the floor hoping she might see it. She wasn’t interested.

We played on the bed for a little. I tried to hand-feed her a treat. She wasn’t interested.

She walked around the room inspecting interesting corners and hiding spots. Then she walked back over and sniffed my fingers. I must have had some of the treat smell on my fingers. She immediately let out a loud “mrrrroooowwww”, jumped off the bed, and dove half her little kitty body into the mound of food. Standing with her front paws in the bowl, she stuffed herself silly. I stared, stunned. One of my roommates popped in and asked if everything was ok. She had been outside my bedroom door in the living room. The hunger cry was so loud, she heard it in the other room.

The story of what she did when I was sleeping

She was a good kitty for the most part. (eh hem) She loved to climb my blinds in the middle of the night.

One night when I was sleeping, she creeped stealthily from the foot of the bed.  When she had army-crawled her way to the head of the bed, she jumped up and bit me in the forehead. For no reason!

The story of the big move

A year after I graduated, my boyfriend at the time and I decided to move from Indianapolis to Jacksonville. Right before we were going to move, he had a death in his non-immediate family. My parents happened to be visiting when we found out. The movers were scheduled, so I asked my mom if she felt like going on a road trip. She’s a trooper because she said yes!

I hadn’t really thought through what we were going to do with Tiki on the drive down other than she was riding with us. We packed up the car and headed towards Florida.

We squeezed a pillow on the arm rest between the driver and passenger because we weren’t sure where to put it. She crawled up top and sat there between us almost the entire two-day drive. For the litter, we flipped down the smaller part of the back seat & hid the litter box in there.  When we got in the car, I showed her where her litter box was. Hours later, she remembered and crawled back there to do her business. Such a smart kitty.

The story of her favorite napping spot

If you’ve watched The Cat From Hell, you may have learned cats typically like to hang out low in the bushes or up high in a tree. Tiki was definitely the latter type. She would sit on the back of the couch, or on top of the back of the barstool. Her absolute favorite spot has always been up on the shelves in my closet.

I would save the paper boxes from work so I can store winter clothes and other things on the shelves in my closet. She took this as an invitation to setup camp. If I was ever looking for her, that was definitely the first place I would check out. When we would come home, while we were still downstairs we would hear a ‘boom’ above. It was Tiki jumping down from the closet to come greet us! There was also more than one time that she’s jumped up onto the shelves only to have them come crashing down. It may sound creepy, but we still swear we hear a thump from time to time of her jumping down from the closet; even though, that would be impossible.

If you have a memory of Tiki, feel free to add it in the comments below! 

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