Friday, December 18, 2009

Loss




On Wednesday afternoon we put down our beloved cat. She'd had a good fourteen and a half years of life, all but a couple months of it with me, and was an inveterate mouser right up through mid-November. With three serious health strikes against her (kidney failure, cancer, and hyperthyroidism), I'm amazed she made it as far as she did. I'm grateful her decline was fairly swift rather than lingering.

Though she carried complaint and plaintive protest to an art form, and was never a lap cat, when she was happy and cuddled up beside us, the world was a sunny and benevolent place. She was a bright spirit, The Cutest Cat Ever, and a melter of hearts. This, coming from someone who has been around cats for four decades. Whenever the day was a bad one, she made things bettery.

It is always hard to put down a dear pet. As much as I miss her, I am glad - relieved in fact - that her decline is over. In a way the anticipation of putting her down was worse than dealing with the reality of her death. I'm surprised how very much it helps me to have the hens to care for. They are not pets. But they are in the prime of their lives, and they are happy, lively creatures. When we put our last cat down, we still had one remaining to distract us from our grief. Now our house is without a cat, and so can hardly be called a home.

Although we knew the day was coming, and although we know that other cats will be a part of our lives one day, we exist now in a time of mourning. I don't want to rush to fill that space of loss. The bitter chill and the darkness of winter feel appropriate to our mood. Grief is the price of joy and loving and remaining alive. If I felt no pain, I would know that even if my heart still beat and I still drew breath, I would not be among the living. Life consists of both joy and pain; only that which is dead is beyond suffering. My periods of mourning for pets have been briefer than for people I have loved, but the grief is no less real or less deep.

Goodbye, and go well on your way, Little Kitty. We will always miss you.


22 comments:

Barbara said...

I am so sorry for your loss.

What a beautiful post to your precious kitty.

Affi'enia said...

So sorry for your loss
xXx

Lisa said...

I, too, am sorry for your great loss. Miss Kitty was truly loved. You said some very true and thought-provoking words about her presence in your life that I will be pondering.

Rachel B. said...

I'm so sorry about you loss. I had to put down my dear cat Valentine last summer. I still can't believe that we didn't catch that she had a urinary tract infection. We assumed it was another cat. She was a great cat and lived up to her name.

Striving for a Simple Life said...

I'm so sorry for your loss.

Stephanie

Leigh said...

Kate, I am so sorry. Even when we know it's for the best, it still hurts and they are still very much missed.

Renee J said...

I'm sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing this touching post.

Amy Blogs @ River Rock Cottage said...

My heart is sad for you! It is so hard to loose a furry friend. I truly believe God gave us cats and dogs for a special reason and our heart aches when they are gone from our lives.

Barbara said...

Hello again, I just wanted you to know that at the bottom of the page on my blog I have posted a quote giving you credit. I lost my son and your words were profound in reference to grief.

Brown Thumb Mama said...

Kate, I'm so sorry. Your kitties are surely in Heaven ignoring each other while secretly outmanuevering each other for the best spot in a sunbeam. Hugs to you.

Wendy said...

Thank you for sharing this tribute to your lovely kitty.

safira said...

I'm so sorry.
She was a beautiful girl and clearly much loved.

Kelly said...

That is some rough stuff. We're sorry for your loss.

Mrs. Pivec said...

She sounds so much like my own older cat - the complainer and no lap kitty, but does like to sit close by. Mine is 17 and I will be facing this very thing sooner than later. Yours was a doll - so pretty. I'm sorry for your loss and I think it is wise that you are remaining with your grief for a while. You'll know when the time is right to begin again.

Teri said...

I'm so very sorry for your loss.
blessings.

Sharon F said...

Oh she was a beautiful cat! I'm sure that she had a wonderful life with you and your family and that you have many wonderful memories of her to cherish. Hope you are feeling better soon. x o x

Donna~One Simple Country Girl said...

((((((HUGS))))))

Kate said...

Thanks, everyone, for the kind thoughts.

Lisa and Barbara, I'm glad and a little flattered that something I wrote about grief was meaningful to you.

el said...

Sorry to learn about your kitty, Kate. An end of an era.

Jena said...

I am so sorry. :( It a brave thing you did to recognize it was her time to go. What a bummer.

Ria said...

I'm sorry for your loss; it's never easy to lose a beloved furry friend.

susan said so said...

My days and nights - work and home - are filled with four-legged creatures, and I count them among life's dearest companions. I'm so sorry for your loss.

xox,
Susan