Izumi, my cat and longtime companion, died today at the age of 18. It was a peaceful death, brought on by old age and steadily deteriorating health due to hyperthyrodism.
Izumi joined my family in 1991 while I was attending college at UC San Diego. He was the only cat I'd ever known who liked to follow me around. I understand that's a common characteristic of Siamese cats. Always present, always just beyond arm's reach. He'd even go on walks around the apartment complex, always a few steps behind, sniffing the bushes and going up to all the doors. He loved watching the neighbors go to work in the morning and come home in the evening, keeping an eye on them from atop the stairs leading to the second floor apartments.
When we moved to Davis, California, in 1995 he came with us and was soon joined by three other cats: Stripe, Oreo, and Isaac (all siblings) in 1997. (Isaac passed away in January, 2006.)
I fondly remember living in a two-story condo in San Diego. Izumi loved playing on the stairs. I'd play hide-and-seek with him. He'd run up the stairs, stop at the top, and look back toward me. But I'd be hiding around the corner at the bottom. Soon, Izumi would be back at the bottom of the stairs to find out where I went. When I emerged, he'd let out a joyful "meow!" and dash back up the stairs. This play would repeat a dozen times before we both got tired.
In some ways, I bought the house I'm in now for Izumi. Having lived in a one-story house for the past eight years, I wanted him to re-live those stair-climbing days. And that he did, for a while, until he started showing symptoms of his declining health. The last few months have been particularly difficult and he was put to sleep this morning.
Izumi is survived by my two remaining cats: Stripe and Oreo. May they live to be as old, wise, and worldly as Izumi.