Final Fantasy, Final Fantasy Miqo'te, gaming

A Life Remembered, A Light Transformed

The reasons I create new characters in Final Fantasy 14 are varied and unpredictable. But this past week I created a new Miqo’te woman for a very specific and special reason, to honor my 15-year-old black cat named Owl. I wanted to create a strong, powerful woman to represent Owl and I first created her as a Seeker of the Sun due to the slit eyes. But then a friend showed me their black cat imagined as a Miqo’te and as Keeper of the Moon and I really liked the look and decided that would work better for Owl. And thus eventually my moon kitty Owl Iboo was born. The name comes from a nickname for Owl, who I’d often call Owlieboo.

I created the character because my cat Owl was starting to have some tough days and while she kept bouncing back, I was afraid there would come a day when she didn’t bounce back. I wanted to make a character while Owl was still doing relatively well so I could somehow embody her strength and energy. I wanted to have the best memories of Owl possible somehow encapsulated in my FFXIV Miqo’te woman and while that may sound silly, in my head it makes sense.

To understand Owl Iboo, one must first know my cat Owl’s story and so I’ll share it with you. I found Owl as a feral kitten in the barn of the house I used to live in with my ex-husband. She appeared along with a striped, orange male kitten. Owl was very mistrusting at first and wouldn’t come very close when I’d bring food out to them. Most times the only part of her I could see in the dimly lit barn were her big, yellow-green eyes. And thus I named her Owl because her gaze was ever watchful. I named the orange kitten Pumpkin and he was a bit friendlier and more trusting. When I’d feed Owl, she didn’t seem to know how to meow, even when she was happy. She’d hiss instead of meow.

Eventually, Owl did learn to meow and to trust me and I was able to bring them both into the house and keep them in a crate in the powder room downstairs. Had it been up to me, I would’ve given them free rein over the house, but my husband wasn’t fond of cats, and we already had two cats and he said we couldn’t have any more. So I placed an ad in the local free paper saying the kittens were free to a good home. A young couple responded and was willing to take both of them, but Owl had other plans.

When the couple came to pick up the kittens, I had no trouble getting Pumpkin, but Owl got out of the crate and hid behind the dryer where I couldn’t reach her. I apologized profusely to the couple, but they were all right with taking just the orange kitten. I too was quite all right with getting to keep my black kitten Owl because she and I had already formed a bond. I’d never had a black cat before and after her, I can’t imagine not having a black cat in my life.

My ex-husband begrudgingly agreed to let me keep Owl and she was finally able to roam freely through the house and become acquainted with my other two cats at the time, Aviendha and Zoey. They all got along reasonably well and I was happy having three cats. As Owl had been a feral cat, she wasn’t content to be indoors all the time and she eventually was able to live as an indoor/outdoor cat.

When I rescued Owl, my youngest daughter was still a baby and the two of them formed a very close bond as they grew up together. My youngest daughter was Owl’s person and she would always make sure to go up to my daughter for pets and she’d hang out near the swing whenever my daughter was swinging. When I’d get home with my daughter after school, I’d open the front door and call for Owl saying her person was home and Owl would always happily come out to keep my daughter company.

When I divorced my husband and moved into the house I live in now, Zoey had already passed away, but Avi was still alive. Owl had never been overly fond of my ex-husband, so she was just as happy as I was to be free of him. She loved my new house and all the land and new places to explore and she settled right in. When Avi passed away, I got two kittens named Angel and Daisy, which Owl wasn’t too fond of. Then Daisy ran away at one point a few years ago and I adopted a fluffy black female kitten named Loki. When Daisy returned home eventually, I found myself with four cats. But Loki was a great equalizer and loves all the other cats, whether they like it or not.

Owl wasn’t much of a cat “person” and she ended up bonding with my dog Jazzmin when I adopted her in the winter of 2012. She was determined that Jazz was going to like her no matter what and would go up to her and purr at her and rub against her until Jazz finally acquiesced and liked her. Owl is the reason Jazz was good with cats, she taught Jazz that kitties were her friends. Sadly, Jazzmin crossed the rainbow bridge at the end of March of this year. Her passing is actually what motivated me to create my goth bun Rajilo because I needed something new and different to distract myself and help me through the difficult time.

A few years ago, Owl suffered an injury and ended up having a piece of broken rib floating around inside her. Once she recovered from the initial broken ribs, the piece remaining never seemed to phase her and we started calling her the bionic cat. Owl had a very loud purr and a rather grouchy meow but we all loved her. I always told her she had to live forever because I couldn’t imagine life without her, but alas, life doesn’t work like that.

This past Wednesday, June 8th, 2022, my cat Owl had a wonderful morning. She ate all her canned food for breakfast, she was walking fine and seemed in good spirits, she even licked the egg plates of my oldest daughter and I. She seemed very much back to her old, strong self and I was hopeful that her recent bouts with odd limping, lethargy, and disorientation were just some spell that had passed. But unfortunately, that was not the case.

When my oldest daughter and I got back from our walk, we found Owl in obvious distress. I picked her up and she quieted down briefly but she doesn’t like being held and when I put her back down, she continued to meow and was also panting and drooling. None of this was normal behavior for Owl and my heart sunk into my feet because I just knew she wouldn’t be bouncing back this time.

We took her to the vet and discussed our options and considering her age and the issues she’d been having, we came to the sad decision that it was time to say goodbye to Owl. That last thing I wanted was for Owl to suffer even though saying goodbye to her was going to break all of our hearts. Owl crossed the rainbow bridge peacefully that afternoon with myself and my oldest daughter at her side. She passed just as peacefully and in the same room as Jazzmin had and the vet said that Owl knew it was time to go. Again, I never wanted her to go, but that was not within my power to make happen. Owl’s spirit was now free to reunite with Jazzmin and be with my father who she knew in life. I take comfort in knowing they’re together but I’m still devestated by the loss of Owl so soon after losing Jazzmin.

When we got home, my daughter helped me dig a grave for Owl and we buried her in the yard near where we’d buried Aviendha many years previously. After that, my oldest daughter went to her father’s house for the rest of the week and to share the sad news with her sister. Following a lot of crying and managing to eat dinner, I got on Final Fantasy 14 and recreated Owl Iboo as a moon kitty and on the server of my semi-private free company.

I did the best I could to capture Owl’s look and attitude in a Miqo’te woman and as I wanted to make her a rogue, I started her as a marauder so she’d be in Limsa and able to pick up the rogue quest when she completed the level 10 marauder quest. Seeing Owl Iboo swing a huge axe did sort of suit my cat Owl’s personality, but small, sharp daggers are definitely more her style.

My oldest daughter messaged me later saying her sister had seen a turtle under her swing that afternoon before learning of Owl’s passing and we all agreed that was some sort of sign from Owl’s spirit. Thus I decided that Owl Iboo must have a pet turtle! I was very happy to find that such a thing existed in the game and was relatively inexpensive on the market board.

I’ve been playing Owl Iboo for the past few days and I’m really enjoying her and it’s helped cheer me up a bit after Owl’s passing. Owl was an amazing kitty and her light will never be extinguished, it’s just been transformed and infused into a character in FFXIV. My Miqo’te woman will never meow to go outside, beg for cheese, purr so loudly you can hear her across the room, and give affectionate head butts, but she still embodies Owl’s spirit and helps me remember her amazing life and how blessed we were to have her.

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