Remembering Haku

On Monday we had to let Haku go.

I couldn’t bring myself to talk about it at the time, and with the holidays and family visiting it got busy enough to distract myself, but he was my buddy and he deserves a proper eulogy.

Haku had a rough start as a kitten. He had some kind of infection that was giving him a rash on his ears and appeared to be eating a portion of his nose. We treated it but honestly the vet was never quite sure what it was and we think it just cleared up eventually on its own.

He is named after the water spirit from Spirited Away. When we first got him, he and Saru were locked in the bathroom while we acclimated them. I had turned the sink on and he CLIMBED my leg to get up there and immediately jumped into the water.

Haku from Spirited Away

He loved to drink from the sink, but he was comically bad at it. He’d stick his head right under the stream, or let it just run over his face while he tilts his head.

Haku drinking from the sink

His favorite toy was a round scratcher that has a ball that runs around it. He had a weird little head flip he would do when he got super excited while he played and it never failed to crack me up.

He could not RESIST clothes on the bed, especially my pants. He would jump up and rub his face on my belt incessantly.

Haku on my pants Haku on my pants

He also, like most cats, could not resist a good box. But his favorite was the laundry basket.

Haku bathing in a laundry basket Haku in a box
The Haku stare, in a laundry basket

Even more than that, he loved bags. Didn’t matter if he was in it, or smashing it down and laying on it.

Haku stretched out on a crushed paper bag
Haku sitting comfortably in a paper bag Haku in a plastic bag

In the mornings when we were working at home, Haku would jump up on Cynthia’s desk and then walk over wanting to be in her lap. She would have to put a leg up across her other so he had a spot and then he'd hang out there for a while.

Haku in Cynthia's lap

Later in the day he’d cross her desk behind me and want to get on my legs, then I’d turn back to my desk and pet him on my lap. Usually he’d put his front paws up on my chest and settle while I rubbed his ears and chin.

Chin scritches at my desk Haku settles on my chest

If there was something new or confusing in the house, he did this hilarious head dip thing. He was especially weirded out by hats, even more so when I was wearing one.

He loved to stretch and roll. He’d often get himself stretched out and then roll himself violently back and forth, licking his paws in between. This was (of course) called “lick-rolling”. #NeverGonnaGiveYouUp

Haku stretched impossibly in the hallway helping us wrap presents
Haku stretched out by the screen door at our old house

As anyone who has followed me for a bit knows, he loved loved LOVED leg time. We’d sit downstairs at the TV, I’d stretch my legs out along the couch, and he’d jump up and lay on them, contorting himself into more and more ridiculous poses as he got more comfortable.

leg time more leg time
even more leg time even even *more* leg time

He had mastered the art of “puppy dog eyes”. While he was in the midst of all his emergency hospital visits, he’d have a different doctor each day. Every. single. one. talked about how beautiful he was and how striking his eyes were. He could trap you in them.

the Haku stare Haku glamor shot

He was the most graceful klutz I’d ever seen. One minute he’d slip while walking along a table. The next he’d jump right up to the fridge, up on top of the cabinets, and then across the chasm to the cabinets across the way.

We first discovered he was getting up on those cabinets when we found a paw print on the range hood. 🙀

It wasn’t all grace and beauty, though. Sometimes when he’d fall asleep, he’d close his inner lids but his eyes would stay mostly open, and his mouth would hang open, derpily. (Is derpily a word?) It always made me laugh.

Haku's inner eyelids derp

For some reason, when he was just hanging out in the hall or something, he’d pose in a standard-form cat rug-duck, but would put one arm straight out. I used to joke about it before it stopped being abstractly funny to me to make alt-right jokes. 😐

He had MASSIVE bunny feet. They were so damn cute.

I know I mentioned it on Twitter recently, but part of the bedtime routine was that after I brushed my teeth, I would head to bed and he would RUN to follow me and sniff at my minty breath and then go crazy rolling around. I recently managed to get a little bit of video of it.

There are probably tons of things I’m forgetting to add. He was an exceptionally photogenic cat, and I have about eleven billion photos of him, all either hilarious or cute, or both.

I hate that his body betrayed him even as his personality managed to hold on through changes in food, tons of pills, & way too many vet visits. But in the end there was no sign things would actually improve; it was likely some form of cancer in addition to other things.

It’s hard letting a pet go, but it’s even harder when the choice when to end it isn’t clear-cut. We had made the choice to do it a couple of times in the last few months, each one gut-wrenching. Each time, we had a new reason to hope and pulled back from the brink.

In the end, we did so much to try to get his insides settled, only to come right back to the same cycle of symptoms. After a few days dwelling on it, I still think it was the right time, but that doesn’t mean it was any easier to actually do.

All I know is, he was a wonderful kitty, and I’m going to miss him more than I can possibly say.

Goodbye, buddy.


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1 comment to Remembering Haku

  • Mom

    I know how much you are missing Haku. But know he had a wonderful life with you and Cynthia. And memories of Haku will bring you joy. Love, mom