One month ago, my husband and I unexpectedly lost our 13-year-old cat to cancer.
One of my fave pics of our girl, taken in 2010 by the talented Jen Rynda
Her departure was sudden, swift and left a huge hole in our lives.
Sure, we have another cat, one who came to live with us earlier this year. And we love her, but she’s not our old cat, let’s call her Murr.
For the first two weeks, anytime a friend or relative offered condolences or a hug, I dissolved into tears. My face was constantly tear-stained and the skin under my eyes became so raw it peeled. Every one meant well as they offered love and support. To all of you, THANK YOU. I cannot begin to tell you how much your kind words and support and notes meant to my husband and me.
Murr was with me through two jobs, two cities. We were single girls together in Ithaca, NY and were homebodies together in Rochester, NY.
Little Murr, circa 2003, explores our old apartment.
I met our Ithacat in the newsroom of my last paper, The Ithaca Journal, where I spent three years as a suburban reporter. Each week, the local SPCA brought in a pet to be photographed and featured in the paper. I regularly squealed when I saw the animals. We fell in love straight away. By the time her photo ran in the paper, she was already exploring my then-apartment.
She lived with me well before I started dating my now-husband. (and she instantly preferred him to me once he entered the picture. Humph.) He taught her to drink straight from the faucet and trained her to let him wear her as a “coonskin cat hat” on his head.
She was an incredible mouse-hunter, even dumped a bloody carcass on my chest while I slept one night. She purred proudly nearby until I discovered her “gift.”
She was tiny, sweet, silly, and beautiful. And she knew it.
We constantly told incredibly lame cat jokes and penned silly cat songs about our girl. Her name morphed into our pet name for one another. And trust me, that got confusing!
As Murr grew older, she became far more interested in snuggling. She slept with me every night and snuggled with us both every chance she got, particularly in the winter months, as she grew chilly.
She also loved to sleep on my hubs as he napped or worked.
In her last months, Murr had started pooping outside the litter box around the house. We thought she was mad about the new furbaby and that the landmines were payback.
Turned out she was sick. Really sick.
One month ago, she threw up repeatedly around the house. She was extra snuggly. She had grown smaller. She was clearly weak. She had just started coming downstairs again (she had banished herself to our second floor months earlier when the new cat came to live with us).
Watching a bug on the ceiling in her last few days
We called the vet. Hubs took her in on June 13, after I went to work.
She never came home.
Hubs called me, his voice wavering, and told me the news. I spoke with the vet, who explained the prognosis. She was in a lot of pain and had only weeks left. We made the excruciating decision to put her to sleep.
My brave husband was with her in her final minutes and said she went peacefully. I bawled in the bathroom at work. Later, we bawled together at home and told stories about her.
New cat snuggled up to me that night, she knew I needed extra love.
I wanted to write this sooner, but couldn’t do it. I miss her. A lot. I’m crying as I type and I repeatedly remind myself that she’s no longer suffering, and in a better place.
She loved us as much as we loved her. And she will always be with us.
Good bye, sweet girl.
My parting shot the day she died
Have you lost a cherished furbaby? Please share a memory of your pet with me.