Good bye, sweet girl

One month ago, my husband and I unexpectedly lost our 13-year-old cat to cancer.

mishkaOne 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.

oldMLittle 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.

mishCat kisses

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.

jmThese two were peas in a pod

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).

M3Watching 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.

 M1My parting shot the day she died

Have you lost a cherished furbaby? Please share a memory of your pet with me.

Goodbye Jack Daniel

My dog died.


There are no pretty words to say about a death and my emotions are still raw. Certainly, I knew that Jack wouldn’t live forever but I suppose the suddenness of his death has thrown me and my family for a loop. He showed no signs of sickness although he did show his age of eleven years, with his graying hair and occasional yelping from what we believed was arthritis pain.

He was just barking at his arch nemesis, the vacuum cleaner, the day before. He had all his faculties; the sound of a deli wrapper could be heard from any point in the house. He joined me in the kitchen as I made the kids their grilled cheese for dinner, always patiently waiting for the slice he eventually knew was coming his way.

But on Friday, he was ill at ease. He paced the house, looking to all his regular spots to get comfortable. My husband and I fretted, not knowing what to do for our oldest baby. Eventually we decided that we’d bring him to the vet the following day.

I spent the night sleeping on the floor with him; my blanket was a favorite of his and it seemed to comfort him for awhile. At 4:30am we awoke to his labored breathing and realized that he could no longer walk. I carried him down the steps, crying and telling him that he was the best dog and how much we loved him. He licked my face, one last time, and Jay brought him to the emergency vet.

Within an hour, his heart stopped beating. Jay was with him as he took his last breaths.

My family is devastated. I know that’s a strong word but there’s really no other to explain how we feel. We miss our best buddy, our healer, our protector from possums (but not steps, thunder, lightning or bees), our first “kid” and our “big brother”. We miss our pack member, who placed himself just below the kids in order of rank, but grumped about it on the regular.

The house is quiet. Too quiet. I write while all family members are at their respective places when they aren’t smashed into our 1600 square foot home. When they are here, I can’t think straight. When they are gone, I can’t stop thinking.

I can’t stop thinking I see Jack out of the corner of my eye or hear his feet gently padding the floor.

I’ve continued with my streak, getting my miles in, even though right now I’d be lying if I said it was anything more than just going through the motions. My mind wanders to wondering if there was something more we could have done or if we could have seen this coming any earlier than we did. I cry randomly for no other reason than I miss him.

I’m sad and miss my friend.


I know it will get easier eventually.

But not yet.