The Brave and Gentle Life of Kuma the Cat (2011 – 2024)

Kuma the Bengal traveled the world, but he preferred to be curled up at home with his human parents. He was born in South Florida, lived in Poland and Japan, and retired on Vancouver Island.

He loved exploring nature with his papa. His papa was his world entire and as long as Mark was with him, Kuma trusted that world.

An adept psychiatrist, he always made his mother feel better. His rate was reasonable and he encouraged her to cathect.

He was a beautiful boy who shared his life with us. Every time I looked into his eyes, I felt wonder that love doesn’t require any words at all.

As Kuma grew sicker in February, I prayed that he would make it to the first day of spring, his favorite season.

He did. Birds swelled the sky and blossoms sleeved the trees as he warmed himself on the sunporch, eyes half-closed.

On March 25, 2024, we lost him to lymphoma. Kuma fell asleep one last time in his home, in his bed, and in his papa’s arms while we sang “The Rainbow Connection” to him.

In an essay I wrote a couple of years ago, I explained, “Kuma is unlike a human child in one sense. His short lifespan all but guarantees he will never know a day without us. The grief upon our parting will be borne solely by his parents. That seems right to me.” It still seems right, even as I can barely breathe, because he was the most loving soul and did not deserve grief.

The day before his death, Maria Popova wrote in her blog, “Love anyway. You know that the price of life is death, that the price of love is loss, and still you watch the golden afternoon light fall on a face you love, knowing that the light will soon fade, knowing that the loving face too will one day fade to indifference or bone, and you love anyway — because life is transient but possible, because love alone bridges the impossible and the eternal.”

I love anyway. I love always. I love you forever, sweet Kuma.