Is Kix still kicking?
The life of a barn cat is precarious at best. While domestic, indoor cats’ average lifespan is 12-15 years, I’d guess the average for a barn cat is half that number. There are predators always looking for easy prey, other male cats defending their territory, farm vehicles to avoid, busy roads and of course disease and health issues.
Aside from all of the dangers, barn cats work hard and put a lot of miles on daily, sometimes wandering off to who-knows-where for days at a time leaving their farm families to wonder if they will return. These are all aspects that describe the life of Kix, the centenarian barn cat that has exponentially outlasted even the grittiest of working felines.
Kix isn’t your average barn cat in more ways than one. First off, and most noticeably, he is beautiful. His long fluffy black and white fur frames his thoughtful and inquisitive face. Secondly, he has a silent meow. We aren’t sure exactly when and how this happened, but for several years, he hasn’t had a voice. He can, however, hiss with the best of them. (Heaven help those who don’t heed this warning, as he doesn’t hesitate to take further action and has chased many dogs across the yard and left them yelping). The third and most obvious is his age. In human years, he’s 104 and has used up not 9 but more likely 90 lives.
Kix is a farm icon, the last of the Mohicans, the final living link that overlapped my parents’ lives on this farm. He shows up everywhere, sees everything and runs a tight ship. He lets few into his inner circle, however he has his favorite few. He even had a late-in-life fling with a younger female cat. In his earlier days, he wouldn’t have allowed other males in his domain, let alone a floozy like Cybil. He’s softened.
As I write this, Kix is in his final hours…days…we just don’t know. On Friday August 19th, we moved him from the barn to kitty hospice in the basement where he could be kept cool and monitored and we could run a vaporizer to help make his labored breathing easier. We figured it wouldn’t be long until he took his final breath of 21 years, so we spent lots of time just petting him and sitting with him. He would appear to have fallen asleep, then would pop up and come back for more attention.
He definitely doesn’t want to miss anything. He takes water occasionally, goes out on the patio for fresh air, but mostly sleeps. He is comfortable, and we feel that he will let go when he is ready. This has gone on for 10 days now, and the first question we have in the mornings – ” is Kix still kicking?”
We honor his long life and appreciate his years of service and friendship. He is one of a kind, and the day that Kix stops kicking will be a sad one indeed.