Meet the most popular cat in my town, Kiko. He is a bengal cat, which means he is two generations domesticated from an Asian leopard, hence the rosette spots covering his beautiful pelt. My parents had bought him off a breeder who specifically bred Bengal cats. At the time we were looking for a bengal cat because we had heard that these cats not only look cool, like a true wild feline, but are hypoallergenic and act similar to dogs in that they love water, like to take walks, and can perform dog-like tricks. So we messaged the breeder on Facebook and found out that her cats had a new litter of kittens ready to be adopted in a few weeks or so. So my parents organized a day for us to go out to the suburbs and meet this lady In her huge house probably filled with cats. We went over and had a lovely visit crawling in bengal kittens, trying to get a sense for the kittens, and seeing which one caught our eye. Of course the one that had stood out to us at that time, was a baby Kiko! He was the most social and outgoing, and came right up to us to be pet. He also seemed to have the most distinct rosettes on his pelt, which was a huge asset, and something my dad was looking for considering he was not a cat person, and agreed only to get one if it was the coolest looking and acting cat around. So we made the decision to take him as our new addition to the family, and took him home. We had given him the name Kiko, which is the Hawaiian name for cat, because it sounds cool and we had travelled to Hawaii not long before. Well, we also thought kiko was a very very cute name for a cat. For the first few days of arriving at his new house, he had hidden away from us strangers and cried all night, upset at the departure from his mother no doubt. It was truly heartbreaking to witness that, but in no time Kiko was out and about exploring his new and strange house. He was still very tiny at this point, and made an effort to sit on our thighs and laps if we were just hanging out on the couch. He started getting very comfortable, and started playing with our toys, furniture, and shoes! He was a very playful kitten, and seized every opportunity to climb up our legs, and leave bloody scratches all over our bodies...but we could not stop him. He was adorable! Later in the year, we also started training him to walk on a leash, like we had seen in so many videos of other bengal cats. He was frightened at first at the task, but soon came to love the regular nature walks and city walks we would take him on. He went real fast from keeping up with us and meowing all the way until we got home, to taking his sweet time sniffing every yard and not moving a muscle when we tried to keep him on track! It was not the easiest task to take him on a walk, but as he got older he got a bit better, and now we just let him roam the neighbourhoods during the day on his own. At the time when he was first walking, we had also tried to make a YouTube channel for the amazingly cute kiko who could walk, and do tricks like shake a paw and jump over the broom, but it didn’t blow up as much as we expected it to. We thought the internet was much more cat crazy. We needed up just sticking to Instagram posts and Facebook photos. Kiko also never grew fond of water like we were told, so we have a couple hilarious videos online of him avoiding the bath! Nevertheless, Kiko has matured into a very outgoing cat, almost dog-like in the way that he loves to be outside, loves to follow us when we walk, and still knows his tricks very well. He is however obviously a cat at heart, and has some attitude problems we have come to realize over the past couple years. He deliberately seeks vengeance for when we go on travel and leave him to the care of strangers, and bites our toes for attention, only to walk away when we give him it. Typical cat behaviours on an extraordinary cat. Strangers also seem to appreciate his coat very much, and his company, as he travels across the neighbourhood visiting every house, sometimes picking fights with other people’s cats or dogs, making his name and presence well known in our area. And I cannot even count the amount of times I have been stopped by people on our walks together, asking about his breed and exclaiming how beautiful he is, while taking gazillions of photos of Kiko. It’s been quite a journey watching him grow up into a playful cute kitten, into a cheeky yet beautiful cat.
This photo was taken on the roof deck we have upstairs, on one sunny day. I darkened the exposure, and intensified the contrast to showcase Kiko’s spots and stripes. I hope that the darkened light adjustments highlight his bright green eyes against his warm coat. Although kiko shies away from the camera hidden under the poles of this bench, he really cannot hide away from the fact that he is beautiful and deserves to be photographed and shared with the world! It’s the price he pays for being so cool!