Daisy came to live with us last August (Say Hello to Daisy, August 14, 2016). Terribly thin and timid, with food and attention, she turned into a pretty little cat. Probably just about a year old when she came to us, she stayed small and developed the habit of sleeping on the roof of the barn and shed. During the winter she would curl up in her spot in the closet in the barn, warm and cozy. But as time passed, she began to spend more and more time during the day hunting and exploring across the road from the barn where hunting must have been more satisfying, but she would always put in an appearance in the morning and the evening. Independent and introverted, if we happened to be outside when she checked in, she would say hello, have a saucer of milk and her share of dry food, allow us to love her just a little, and then be off again to places unknown.
As time went on, we saw less and less of her. I always worried when she had not made an appearance at least once a day. And she most likely came home every day, but we might not have been around when she did. But this time we didn’t see her soon enough. Last week I found her in her spot in the closet hardly able to breathe, I think she had been sick so long it was too late to help her. I immediately took her to the vet clinic. An X-ray was taken which showed her lungs full of puss and fluid. The decision was made to at least give her a chance, being a young cat, and multiple medicines were given and extraction of some of the fluid was attempted. She was hurting with no hope of recovery. I couldn’t let her suffer. I told her good-bye and that I loved her and was with her till the end.
I brought her home, wrote her good-bye letter and put it with her picture in a zip-lock bag, and we buried her in the area of the path she would have taken to do her exploring and marked it with a rock.
I always grieve when I lose one, but this one hurt because we had known her for only a year. She came in August; she died a short year later in August. I think that is what hurt so much. We hardly knew her, and she was so young.
And then there was the kitten. He came to us as an abandoned tiny little thing. The vet said he was about six weeks old but so tiny we decided he was the runt of the litter and perhaps cast out.
I bottle-fed him and he thrived. We lost him in a tragic accident that I might have prevented. This death hit me especially hard and I grieved over him and chose not to say anything about it. We had not even had him long enough for me to introduce him to readers. Then when we buried Daisy, I realized I was not being fair to Fleetwood, the name Bill, who had become very attached to him, gave him. Fleetwood deserved the same respect and attention given the other cats we have lost and buried. We had him less than a month, and I think that is what hurt the most. He, too, is buried near a favorite spot with his goodbye letter and picture, and a marker.
I think with both cats what hurt so much was the short time we had with them. The life not lived. The relationship not enjoyed. I think people who lose a child must experience this same loss, along with so many other emotions, only worse.
But I have to remind myself that while Daisy and Fleetwood were with us they had happy lives and were loved. And not every animal gets to be loved and taken care of. So that is what I am trying to remember. They had a good life, they blessed our lives, and I am glad we knew them.
God will love them, too. I miss them every day.
I am with you in loving cats, I have had 3 different ones that were my loves that lived to each being about 19 yrs old.. having to help them go is hard and even harder later when you realize you really miss the one thing that was really your best friend…
They do add to our lives.
This breaks my heart! It’s so difficult to say good bye to fur babies, no matter how many you have or have had; no matter the length of time you enjoyed their company.
And the loss of a child is imaginable – something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. The good thing is we will see everyone we’ve loved and lost again when we walk through those Pearly Gates.
Thanks for sharing, Charla.
Alice, I am so emotionally moved by your stories of Daisy & Fleetwood. I love both cats & dogs. I am so allergic to cats that I’ve never been able to keep one as a family pet but I love them. My cousin whom i go to visit in LaMarque had a cat named Bill who recently died. Anne, my cousin, told me he was very shy around people he didn’t know & I told her it was ok. If he came for me to pet him, I would pet him & then just wash my hands. One morning while I was brushing my hair, he went running back of me. & through the open doorway. And I just said, “Well, hello Bill. Where you going so fast? That blessed cat stopped almost in mid-step, turned & looked at me with a surprised look on his face as if to say, ” Wow, she knows my name.” Then he was gone to one of his hiding places in the house. After that every time I was there, he would come sauntering down the hallway & find me in the den usually. I would pet him for a few minutes or however long he wanted attention & then he was gone. I loved Bill & when he comes to mind I grieve not seeing him again but know that God gave me Bill for his reasons and I’m grateful for my short but sweet relationship with Bill. I grieve with you in your loss of Daisy & Fleetwood & will pray for your emotional comfort during this time of loss. I am so grateful for you and our long distance relationship. I can imagine sitting down with you & having a cup of coffee ☕️ one of these days even though we’re so far removed from one another in distance but not heartwise.
What a nice story about Bill. And how nice of you to be willing to be his friend in spite of your allergy. You both enriched each other’s lives. People who don’t like cats just haven’t met the right one. They are one of God’s best ideas. As for that cup of coffee, we’ll just have to make it happen some day. Thanks for sharing your story.
Such a sweet story. I love your traditions associated with the passing of your pets.
Thanks. Writing about it helps give ma some closure. But it still hurts.