One Collar to Rule Dem All

About Loki

One Collar to Rule Dem All Poster Thingy

Loki acting very serious in the poster for his final video appearance

Loki the Talking Cat passed away due to complications from leukemia (not FLV) and lymphoma just before midnight on May 7, 2012. He was spending the night at an emergency animal hospital where he was hooked up to an IV for dehydration due to a weakened and perforated GI tract. We expected to have to make the decision to help him over the Rainbow Bridge the next morning, but as he was a born escape artist it was in his nature to sneak out while no one was looking.

Loki got our attention as a kitten when he twice escaped the cage at the Sioux Falls Area Humane Society by pushing the bottom plate aside and squeezing out. When we asked to take him home, he was using a toy as a shield while playing with his brother. Clearly a sign of genius.

He was so smart he spoiled us for other cats. He fetched, begged, and used paw signs to tell us yes, no, scratch my ears and scratch my chin. People who met him thought we trained him, but it was really the other way around. He immediately understood that a harness was the price he had to pay to walk around outside so getting him leash-trained took only 20 minutes. One day I put a teddy bear sweater on him and he decided he didn’t want to take it off, but the day I had him try on a dress I was making for someone else’s cat he was clearly mortified.

The harder I made it for him to get treats, the more he enjoyed it. Until we started making the live-action videos his preferred method bounced between dumping them out of an empty soda bottle or digging them out of a tissue box, but posing for the camera under the hot lights for treats was so much more fun for him that he asked for me to make videos by waiting on the table in front of the bluescreen.

His sister, Laz, is not very bright. We think she may have suffered a bit of brain damage when she came back from the Rainbow Bridge. But when she moved in Loki became a very protective mentor and a patient teacher. It took time, but Laz eventually learned how to get milk from the bottom of the cups with her paws and to drink from the faucet. She never figured out how he managed to open the food bin without thumbs, though. The only thing that ever made him routinely annoyed was his sister chasing the red laser dot. It wasn’t that he couldn’t see it, I think he thought it was beneath her. (You can’t catch it, you can’t smell it, and you can’t eat it, what’s the point?)

Loki inspired a minicomic and comic strip that I eventually turned into animated videos, a puppet, two picture books, Animinis, and a series of live-action videos that landed him a Super Bowl spot. Although I had been having a problem doing his voice that eventually required surgery to correct, the main reason we stopped making videos was because of his declining health. He stopped asking to make them when he started having trouble keeping food down, and I stopped helping him tweet because I had nothing to tweet about but his lingering illness and I had vowed early on to keep his tweets happy and light.

The last time he asked to star in a video was when I was setting up lights to take pictures of Animinis. He jumped up on a chest and got that look, so we made “One Collar to Rule Dem All”.

He seemed to have decided to go about a week beforehand. He started sleeping in my hair again as he’d done when he was a kitten, and he slept each day in a different one of his favorite spots. He spent his last afternoon in a sun puddle in front of a sliding screen door watching birds dancing just feet away, with the scent of wild catnip in the air and his family around him. All of us miss him very much, and Laz has spent the last week looking for him.

The light that burns twice as bright burns for half as long– and Loki burned so very, very brightly.

We send much love and gratitude to all his furiends on Twitter who sent their love and purrayers. Your kind words and thoughts are much appreciated. While no other cat can replace him, our hope is he will continue to entertain and educate for years to come in one of his many fictional incarnations.

Notes from Loki's World