And Now You’re Gone


This has been a year of goodbyes, most expected and welcomed — I mean, I’m going to miss older son and his wife, but it was time for them to fly on their own — some expected but not welcomed — Euclid was at least a year old when we got him in November 2000, so we knew the time was coming — and some of them sock your gut out of the blue, like losing our car one fine Saturday afternoon, with no warning because a gasket seems to have disappeared.

Notice I include the car, not because I think it’s animated — though one wonders sometimes, if some object that’s been really close to us for most of our life partakes some bit of the things it participated in — but because their loss or change over disrupts our basic pattern of life.

The first for us was the loss of the car — Old Blue — my birthday gift for my 35th birthday, back then an almost-new (almost for sure corporate fleet) blue expedition, which saw us from the-kids-in-car-seats to the kids rarely riding it, because they have their own cars and lives.  Which transported construction materials we should never have put in it, carried the fragiles through three moves, served us on weekend trips, and generally was as much a part of the Hoyt family as our pets.

Yes, we knew a 20 something year old car would go soon. We were hoping for another year.  Or some warning. Or something. Instead, it stopped on the highway on the way to downtown Denver, and was suddenly empty of oil.  Starting it to move it to the side finished killing the engine.

We got some trade-in value when buying the new one, and as it was being taken away, the lines from the Cohen song “And now you’re gone, and now you’re gone, as if there never was a you” ran through my head.  Which surprised me, as did experiencing grief at the loss of a car.

But of course, it wasn’t the car. It was the loss of a bit of the kids’ growing up, and my memories.  You see, we move so much, that that car had most of the continuous memories of our raising the kids.

Even now, four months later, I look for it in the parking lot, before I go “Oh, right. Not that car anymore.”

Someone asked why we’re so fond of Pete’s Kitchen on Colfax which is, granted, just a greasy spoon. Well. Mostly because it’s another place where the memories of our life with the boys are unbroken. (Another place used to be the Embassy Suites in the tech center (because cheap on weekends) which younger son thought was “our house in Denver” when we lived in the Springs.  We still do the occasional writing weekend there, or did, up to 2 years ago, but they’ve remodeled and changed where stuff is in the common areas, so not the same at all.)

Then son moved away, and I can’t begin to say how happy I am for them. But it’s disruptive to a certain way of life.  Partly because the kids lingered so much, and because we LIKE them as adults, that they’re part of the pattern or our daily lives. So, you know, when I hit a plotting/story snag, I’d tell older son we needed to go for a midnight coffee at Pete’s.  The drive (used to be an hour and a half from the springs. From where we are now more like 20 minutes, which meant we lingered longer at the restaurant.)  Same as for reasons hard to describe, we got in the habit of going to the zoo when it was cold and rainy.

DIL was ridiculously indulgent of this, but of course, that’s gone. And new habits will have to come in in its place.  The fact that we couldn’t do “one last” as a goodbye and for old times’ sake, due to the ridiculous lockdown doesn’t help.

And yesterday we faced the fact something had to be done about poor Euclid.

To explain: about a year and a half ago, he became incontinent, or at least too impatient to get to the box.  When I got to the point I couldn’t live with it, we put him in a multi-level cage (like a boarding cage, with levels.) For a while that worked well, and we took him out and petted him a lot, usually while watching a british mystery or reading in the evening.

Then he seemed not to like being held as much, and we went to diapering him, and letting him roam.  VERY slowly.

He had bad arthritis, but the pain meds didn’t seem to dent it, so I mostly didn’t give them to him. He also had hyperthyroidism, which we controlled with meds, which had increased to double recently.  And yet, he was eating every hour, and still rail-thin.

I kept hoping he’d go in his sleep, but we weren’t that lucky.  And yet I hesitated to take him in for that last, sad trip, because he was still somewhat self aware, at least in flashes.  And he enjoyed toddling around in his diaper, coming up to rest his paws on my arm.

And I hate deciding this for them, without knowing if it’s what they’d choose. I can well imagine being that age, and just relishing each day, and people thinking I want to go.

What made it worse is that Euclid was the most…. submissive? Compliant? Cat we’ve ever had. We used to call him “The totally surrendered cat” so I was afraid of taking advantage of his good will, one way of another.

But he’d been crying in the night, for a long time. And there was PAIN in his eyes, if you know what I mean.

Last week, he just started peeing on EVERY shelf in his little cage.  Even though the box was RIGHT THERE.  I was cleaning those shelves twice a day.  Worse, he’d pee on his little sleeping blanket, and then sleep on it.

I had a long talk with the vet, and without pushing, she did her best to imply it was time. She said it was time six months ago.

Yesterday, I still tried to balk it. And then I WATCHED him pee on his food.  And then eat it.  And I realized he was demented, for whatever that means for cats.  And so we kept that awful appointment.

And those lines went through my head again “And now you’re gone….”

So, because I’m afraid of forgetting, I thought I’d write some things about Euclid. Because there was a Euclid, and it’s important to remember. Because he was part of us, and us of him. Also he’s the only cat we ever acquired through psychic control on his part….

So November 2000, for younger son’s 6th birthday, we took him out to a movie.  We left our cat, Pete, on the front porch, sunning himself on a blanket. We knew he wasn’t going anywhere, because he was extremely hyperthyroidal. We were letting him get the meds out of his system and were scheduled to take him in for radio iodine therapy.

We came home and he was gone.  After three days of searching, we found a neighbor (which the vet refused to identify) had taken him to a vet and had him euthanized. He was 13, and the first cat we lost.

During the search we’d gone to the humane society and saw a cat who looked just like him from the back. From the front, he was more apple headed and had the most amazing green-blue eyes.

Dan had seen him and — because we were not wise to the ways of the humane society — though he had an owner and would be picked up (the cage said “Not available for adoption. Just waiting for my owner.” which is what they always said the first 2 weeks, but we didn’t know that.) Which means when my depression over Pete’s death wouldn’t lift, he took me to see this cat, in the hopes it would cheer me up.

He was now available for adoption but more interestingly, he acted like he knew us, and was very vocal at us.  So…. we went to the get acquainted room, and he walked all over us.  We also noticed he was sneezing.

Dan told me we COULDN’T get him, because that would make six cats, and surely someone would adopt such a friendly boy, even if he was black.  And we were past Halloween, so probably not at risk.

But on the way out we stopped by the front, told them he had kennel cough, and we’d pay for the treatment. They said not a problem, they’d take care of it.

Only ALL night I dreamed of him. Not in any bad way, just I dreamed of him asleep on our sofas, walking around our house, etc.

And I woke up with a sense of urgency.  I had his case # and was on the phone to the humane society as soon as they opened.  They told me he was scheduled for euthanasia in 20 minutes….  You see, they don’t treat colds in shelter cats. They just put them down.

Which is why Dan came into the kitchen and I was yelling into the phone that was our cat who just got lose, and if they put him down we’d sue them for their backteeth, and–  I remember his expression and sigh, and the “oh, hell” before he went to put clothes on.

On the way out we bought a large dog kennel, to keep him confined and away from the geriatric cats, while he recovered, and we picked him up. (And endured a lecture about letting him roam, etc.)

We named him on the way home.  And he became the NICEST cat we’ve ever had.

It’s like he knew we had saved him.  I got him to hiss at me ONCE, shortly after 9/11 when we were mindlessly watching whatever came on TV.  More out of distraction than on purpose, I’d been tickling his paw pads for an hour.  He let out a hiss, then licked my hands to show he didn’t mean it.

He used to sit on the arm of my armchair in the family room, and then slowly migrate till he ws completely on my boobs. He did the same to DIL. Very slowly and carefully.  Led DIL to nickname him “The world’s most polite molester.”

Up till the end, he let us position him, and do with him as we wanted.  We never dressed our cats up as anything, but Euclid would have let us, and endured it purring, just happy to be with his people.

I’d say he answered to his name, but that’s not quite true.  Greebo answers to his name. Euclid answered to the name of any of our cats, on the premise that three of them were (two are) black and we weren’t very bright, since I often called him the other cats names, so if he came he might get petted before we realized our mistake.

I didn’t realize how bad things had got until I looked for a photo of him (we don’t have many. Black cat, you know?) and realized how beautiful and glossy he used to look.

Yesterday he was a wreck of a cat, thin and scruffy.  And yet, I hope I did the right thing, and that he forgives me.  And he left a Euclid-shaped hole in our hearts.

I read somewhere years ago, the year we got our first baby and moved three times, that a move puts a great strain on you, as great as a divorce. Any disruption of routine apparently upsets the monkey brain, and you’re at risk for heart attack and stroke.

Well…. 2020 isn’t done with us, and I hope we survive it.

Some changes are good, some are bad, and some are breaking our hearts.  But we’ll remember, and we’ll go on.  Because life IS change.  And it’s better than the alternative.

*The picture is of Euclid and D’Artagnan who were inseparable for most of their lives.  D’Artagnan is older son’s cat and moved with him, despite being in (slow) renal failure.  In the last three years, he and Euclid didn’t recognize each other, which is perhaps the saddest thing of all.*

162 thoughts on “And Now You’re Gone

  1. Sarah, I’m sorry. It’s never an easy thing (the passing). But having them in your life,with all their quirks, craziness and love?It’s always worth it.

  2. I know all too well about loss. I’m sorry for yours, it is never easy, even when it is an inanimate object that has been part of our lives for so long.

  3. What. The. F*** was up with that neighbor. What kind of sick f*** kidnaps someone else’s pet and puts it down?

    May they repent. But if not I will gleefully rejoice as they rot in hell right next to Hitler.

    1. I don’t know. But it’s why we moved from Manitou Springs. NOT knowing who it was made it more horrible.
      We also started noticing a lot of “lost cat” posters on all the light poles. I think neighbor was on a rampage.

      1. We also started noticing a lot of “lost cat” posters on all the light poles. I think neighbor was on a rampage.

        Rack. Spoons. “Disassembly”.

        1. No, for that, no disassembly.

          Not even when they beg you to do it. In fact, especially not when they beg you.

    2. Somebody who is absolutely sure that they know better how to care for your animals than you do.

      I’m pretty sure they are still telling the story of how they bravely saved that poor, abused cat, who was suffering horribly.

        1. I agree the neighbor was obviously in the wrong (I don’t know the words to express this strongly enough).

          But I think the Vet was even more so for going along with them (at the very least there should’ve been a refusal & report to the police for theft, possibly also a report to whatever body handled “cruelty” to animals offences).

        2. It makes me happy that when my neighbors saw my skinny ragged cat wandering the neighborhood, all they did was put food out for her.

          Which I found out when she vomited up kibble of a color that I hadn’t bought for years.

          And happily they were willing to listen when I told them that, no she wasn’t a stray, she was 17 years old, in late stage kidney failure, and on a prescription diet.

          I put a collar on her after that.

          1. I put a collar on her after that.

            We used the collars too. I buy collars by the dozen. Only have 4 left. Thump regularly removed his. We watched him do it. When he’d remove it in front of us, we’d just put the same one back on. Usually he came in the house without it, so he’d have to get a new one. Lil Bit needs hers replaced, it is a bit ragged. Kittens are still too small for theirs.

            I have to laugh though. New 6 month old (ish) calico kitten wandering the neighborhood. Temperament she’s Thump to a T. She has to roam (though she roams way further from her home than Thump ever did), screams and carries on if she’s not allowed out (he wasn’t quite that bad, but not far off), they can not keep a collar on her, not afraid of anything, but you can’t approach her either … One thing they are terrified of is she’d get pregnant. I guess they’ve given up on the low cost spay & neuter clinic (shutdown due to CV19), and taking her to their regular veterinarian (last I heard).

        1. We’ve had two sick cats slip out and take themselves out to hide and die (they were Not allowed to go out by this time). One, Tyke, who I bottle raised, we never found. Hobbs went around the block to the house behind us and curled up on their porch. They new where he belonged. We were able to bury him at home. The others have come to us to die in our arms, one way or another.

          Did you get a paw print in plaster of Euclid? We have 4, from our last 3 cats to pass, and our last dog. Something the local Veterinarians offer. In fact we have two for Silver. One from the emergency clinic who did the procedure, and one through our regular clinic who made the cremation arrangements.

          1. One of our cats, at 17, climbed in my lap one night (not her usual thing). Next morning she was eating, when she looked up at me as if she’d never seen me before. We let her out, or she got out, and we never saw her again. Until our son found her body six months later, where she’d found a comfortable spot, curled up and died.
            Since we travel, we are petless right now, but I miss having a cat.

            1. Since we travel, we are petless right now, but I miss having a cat.

              We cheat. We live with our son. (My story & I’m sticking with it.) Built in cat sitter.

              Similar reason why we were without a dog for so long. Both of us working. New infant. Five cats. We vacation with RV, but leaving the dog in the RV is not the best idea unless they are really, really, quiet, and you know it won’t get too hot. Dogs are not allowed on trails (National Parks in the west), or very, very, limited.

      1. The vet called us back when we’d left a message on her machine, because she was so shocked someone was desperately looking for that cat. (There were things…. Pete had lost a toe and one inner eyelid, for instance.) She said she’d told the woman that the cat was obviously being cared for. I’ve wondered why she both did it even though it was stupid,AND refused to give us the name. I THINK she had a lucrative relationship with the woman.

  4. Such a sweet tribute.

    We’ve had to send two cats to Rainbow Bridge, and I need to clean the weeds away from their graves in the backyard. Our current cat is now fourteen, and I’m wondering how many more years we’ll have with her.

    1. This is the fourth. And I’m DREADING Greebo. We came back last week and he’d VISIBLY lost weight, and my heart clenched. He’s 17.
      BUT apparently the big lunk just stopped eating while I was gone. … which is why it’s going to be next to impossible.
      And Havelock? Now 13, the perpetual kitten who loves EVERYONE and whom even people who hate cats love? He’s going to hurt as bad as losing a human. Or more.
      I think we’re done adopting.
      We’re having them (individually) cremated and put on the mantel. When I go I want them in my coffin. Which will puzzle future archeologists, but that’s a bonus.

      1. My husband’s cat died last fall (at 19) and not ten days later, he took our daughter to our city’s new shelter to look at dogs (to get her used to the idea) and texted me with “GUESS WHAT?”

        He’d found a kitten. A nervous little scared wee beastie that forced him to adopt her. She’s a lot calmer now, though she’s still the jumpiest of our cats. And we don’t know how much Maine Coon she has, so it may be a couple of years before she reaches her full size…

        1. That’s how it seems to go. You say, ‘no more, I’m done’ and then a friend texts you about that a friend of a friend of hers needs to rehome her kitty as he needs to be able to go out and she works 80 hours weeks and you sit in her bathroom for 45 minutes while he hides in the tub and behind the toilet so he gets comfortable enough to yet you pick him up and now 17 months later he’s your alarm that tells you it’s light out so you can let him go play and when you go into the yard he walks up and expects to be picked up by you because you’re the only one to do it right.

          Or so I’ve heard.

          1. Oh. We gave up on the “no more” a long, long, time ago. Timing is what it is. As already mentioned we wouldn’t turn them away but we weren’t looking, looking. It has only been two weeks (yes, I’m counting. Probably will count until we get Thump’s ashes back.) But …

          2. >> “That’s how it seems to go. You say, ‘no more, I’m done’ and then a friend texts you…”

            Or one will just turn up on its own one day, lost, hungry and often scared…

            It seems that if you’re the sort whose willing to take in a cat then you’ll eventually end up with one whether you go looking or not.

            1. Yeah, that’s my older boy, Sable. showed up when the wife was out of town only able to walk on one back leg.

              He’s sleeping between my keyboard and monitors while I work right now. He looked up like he knows I’m talking about him.

            2. We had said “no more fuzzy cats” after Pixie died.
              And then we went mini-golfing, and there was Havey who looks (and behaves) like a turkish angora, but it must just mean his dad was a traveling salesman, because those are worth 2k and he was living in the mini golf course, eating from a Chinese restaurant dumpster (He was covered in grease, and his poo smelled of ginger for two weeks.) He kept playing with the balls and people hit him with the sticks. His tail was broken.
              He was skinny and scared.
              We brought him home. Surely a cat that beautiful would find a family….
              He did. Us. 12 years ago.

              1. I cried all the way through “Up,” and one thing that got to me (other than the protagonist’s grief) was when the dog first sees him and says, “I do not know you, but I LOVE you!”

            3. Or you say ‘no more’ when the very elderly dog passes … and months and months later, a stray with beautiful brown eyes, a golden Catahoula hound who looks for all the world like your childhood dog appears one morning on your street and and basically says, “Hi, I love you, can you be my Person … oh, and what’s your name?”

              1. Now I’m imagining a certain number by The Doors to be the theme song for friendly strays:

          1. I’m glad you have a planned time frame. My cat (18) died in the spring and I said “We’re getting kittens at the end of the summer” (because busy summer and kitten season.) September 1st we went to the SPCA and convinced my littlest that it was because of his birthday. (That would be Shenanigans and the cat who got renamed Mayhem to match—and he earned it.)

      2. I want them in my coffin. Which will puzzle future archeologists, but that’s a bonus.

        Ours too. We have 2 of our 11 who have passed ashes. Seven are buried in the backyard flower beds. I want to exhume them and cremate the remains, to include with the two. Hubby says no. Okay. Either we’ll move & he’ll relent. Or he’ll die first, and he loses his say 🙂 I can’t do anything about my German Shepard or the in-laws dogs, they are on property we don’t have access. OTOH my German Shepard is buried with the family collie, and all the dogs and cats that my grandparents had for the 60 years they lived on their property on the hill above the house (at least 10 dogs & I don’t know how many cats).

        1. We have a box in the garage that holds the urns for all of our former pets (both cats and dogs). They used to be on top of the fridge, but there’s no room there in our new house. I’m not sure what will happen next. Probably all get mixed in with whichever of us dies first, and then be scattered or buried all together.

      3. I cannot personally attest to this, but I think it is possible to have those ashes embedded in plexiglass (presumably a cube.) It might even be possible to have a picture of the deceased set in the base — if it isn’t, this is a great business opportunity for anybody interested.

        Now, if you can figure a way to make that a hologram of the deceased … I would appreciate a penny for each one sold, but don’t expect it.

        I suspect an audiochip of the cat/dog meowing/growling would be a step too far.

        1. And that’s hardest.
          Our Pixie — BEST cat EVER — also died by inches, BUT he was HIMSELF to the end, even when he could barely walk.
          And he TOLD us when he wanted to go. He lay down and CRIED until we took him in. And I’m convinced he knew what was coming and embraced it.
          Euclid… was never that smart. Sweet as heck, but not smart.
          I told him that in case there IS another side and all the Hoyt cats are there, ignore Pete (who was himself, alone) and remember Pixie is boss cat. Pixie will look after him.

          1. Isabeau was a touch like losing Thibadeaux again, because they were identical coloring, and much the same temperment. Annie came not long after Thib died, and Pierre was ill. Having a kitten seemed to prop him up and he held on for another year, before departing in his sleep. Isabeau got stuck in the tree not long after, joining her sister in the house with me

      1. True, I’ve heard that one also.

        But part of the reason people end up waiting too long is that they fear too early. Knowing that it is always one or the other can help.

  5. In February, one of my best friends got married. His wife’s family lives up north, and I drove up to attend the wedding. Then we all came back (seperately, of course) and my friend and his wife moved to their new residence, which is some ways away from where he’d been living not all that far from me.

    One week later, I got word that my other best friend had unexpectedly died.

    And then less than a month ago, I got word that my late friend’s store – his pride and joy that he’d devoted his post-legal career to – was going to close. His widow had intended to keep it open. But the Wuhan Virus-enforced shut-down had apparently just made it too difficult.

  6. My condolences.
    A sorry sad day for sure, and one I see coming again in the near future with Annie, who outlived her year younger sister, Isabeau (put down in Feb?), but is getting a bit batty as well. Born in Early 2005.
    I moved the cat pan mat to find some of the misses made it under it, and while cleaning the results, Annie walked through the cleanup multiple times, and flopped onto the pee/pet stain cleaner/foaming bleach cleaner soaked paper towels, rolling and playing in them, soaking it up into her fur.

      1. My uncle has one who is gone mentally a lot but still hits the pan but needs to be reminded that the food is right there, eat it, and no, even though the voices are in the other room, no one has left him to his own devices.

        1. Havey loses us. ALL the time. But he’s done that since he was little. he’s ….. uh… Mentally special.
          He’ll go downstairs for a pee in the night, and start crying because we’re gone. I have to wake and call him. And then he rushes onto our bed like “Thank G-d. You’re here.”

          1. My deepest condolences for your losing Euclid. Havey sounds like our Spike when he got old (17+). He’d go downstairs to look for a snack and then you’d here hear him calling with the distinctive cat “Where Are You?”. One of the humans (Usually me he was my baby) would go down and usually both of the younger cats. I’d pick him up and he’d purr and head bump. Set him down he’d check out the other two cats seem kind of disappointed/confused and then start calling again. I’d swear he was calling for his brother who had been gone 6+ years. I think what memory he had was slowly unraveling.

  7. This is the column a one deeply regrets having to write and yet, upon joining your life with a cats, know is inevitable. Sympathies do little to assuage such loss yet they’re all I can give at this remove.

  8. I’m so sorry for your loss. We lost both our dogs to cancer this spring, and the grief is still there. I don’t want new dogs. I want Bear and Blizzard back.

    I know how you feel, even about the car. Bear and Blizzard were our boys’ dogs growing up, and we’ll never have that again.

  9. At the end of March a friend disappeared. Two days ago her home was searched and her roommate taken into custody for a variety of things. We knew she’d been selling T’s stuff on eBay, but found out she’d been using her credit cards and a lot more.

    Today I was linked to a statement that the police consider her a person of interest in T’s disappearance.

    The first time I met T, at my first SJW, she said one thing about me, memorialized on a puzzle piece (big one, like for kids) that is on my office wall to this day. It’s something I hold onto when I think I’m not a great person.

    I answered a Twitter question the other day, “Do you know someone who has been murdered?”. I said ‘no’, but I think that is not true.

    Can we just pool our creativity and find a way to get on the sane 2020 timeline where all of this isn’t happening, at least not the bad parts.

    1. SJW?
      We lost Dan’s best-friend-who-was-better-than-a-brother in 2015, and we haven’t been the same since.
      His wife who was my best friend (To understand how close, though this wasn’t true, most of the sf people thought we were a group marriage. We were just VERY comfortable with each other.) has gone… odd and SJWy.
      I think it’s organic, but it means I lost MY best friend just as suddenly.
      As for murder…. too many suicides to count. I can’t call “murder” to mind, but Dan’s best friend from highschool was murdered the year we got married. (Yeah, maybe it’s unhealthy to be Dan’s best friend? Who knows?)

          1. It is not a Christian event, no. The submissive in the title refers to those in that roll in the S&M world. It is billed as “by submissives, for submissives” and features classes on self-knowledge, personal development, service skills, and play related skills.

    2. > I answered a Twitter question the other day, “Do you know someone who has been murdered?”

      Bill, a guy I used to work for. Skeeve got out of prison, walked into Bill’s office a couple of weeks later with a pistol and blew him away. As far as the police could tell they’d never met before. Skeeve said nothing, went back to prison.

      Andy, had a stroke while getting out of his car. Upstanding neighbors dragged him behind some bushes, relieved him of his phone, keys, watch, and wallet, and left him to die. The coroner said it was thirst. They moved into his house, making free use of his credit cards until one of them was arrested for something and sold them out.

      Dean, was loading his truck to move to another stand. Found in the recliner in his living room, supposedly blew his head off with an FAL. Other (many) guns, electronics, etc. all missing. Coroner said it was suicide.

      Bill (another one), in jail on suicide watch after a “domestic dispute.” Supposedly hanged himself with the belt and shoelaces he wasn’t supposed to have. “Nothing to see here, move along.”

      Janice, killed by a state trooper who didn’t think her boyfriend was pulling over fast enough after he flipped his lights on. Just stuck his .357 out the side window and emptied it at a VW Beetle going about 50 mph.

      Criminy. I feel like Typhoid TRX now…

  10. Jewel is 16, but she is determined to stay spry and young until the very end.

    All sentient creatures have their own souls, so those we learn to cherish will be waiting for us when our time comes.


  11. So sorry for your pain. We have a shelf holding the ashes of all seven of our dogs. Down to one really big cat now can’t afford more big dogs (but really love out first ever cat). Four were labs and each had a special personality that distinguished them and made their loss a very individual hurt. The last female particularly so that I and our last male lab mourned her terribly. It really does hurt to lose every one but the company they give, and the love, makes it worth it in the end. Though it probably doesn’ t feel so right now.

    1. I WANT a dog. Badly. I grew up with dogs AND cats, but we simply couldn’t, raising boys away from all family and help, look after dogs. I thought maybe now the boys are grown….
      But if ever, not until we move. Out of CO. Which breaks my heart but might help my health.

      1. I came to cats very late in life. Mom’s little brother was scratched by one that resulted in his death from tetanus. So she sorta instilled a “wariness” with the critters that lasted until Bill showed up and moved in. Since we knew nada about cats, he undertook educating us to the point we soon had a 20+ lb. monster ( actually a gentle giant). But he has truly captured our hearts

      2. We, well I, had a dog when we got married. She raised all the kittens, even the ones she couldn’t nurse, but were bottle fed. She died at age 14, when son was 6 months old. We didn’t have another dog for 19 years and 11 months … Cats, yes. Dog no.

      3. Wyoming is next door, and full of normal.

        Also, you’d be close enough that I could inflict a Lab on you. 😀

          1. Wherever they end up probably won’t last.

            Then again, neither will you or Dan.

            OTOH, you’re each of you eternal, or so I’ve heard.

  12. ::sigh:: We’ve gone from ten to eight in the last year. and SWMBO says she’ll not be adopting any more, though she tells me about every time a cute or tiny kitten comes into the clinic.

  13. I guess we’ve had twenty cats since Wife and I moved to the back side of Heaven thirty odd years ago. The current count here is only four; Martha, Brenda, BB and Fuzz (The EBC) We have only lost a few to sickness over the years; in the country you have to accept that there will be casualties. Coons and ‘possum, Coyotes and dogs; lots of things. Some of the Famous Cats at Green Acres were Snuffy and Lucy, Waffles and checkers. Many more that i can’t remember. Waffles. OMG. I never before saw a cat that pooped and it’s rectum turned inside out and hung out and inch or more. Ever try to push something back that the owner seemed to be just fine with doing without? We took her to the vet over and over, and finally he had to operate and stitch the inside of the orifice to her abdomen. Every one hurts when they go. But that’s life.

    Regarding your disappearing cats, I know you have since moved, but I would have been sore tempted to hang a wanted poster for a Cat Abuser on those poles next to the ones for the missing cats. I don’t understand it but I have met a few people who’s hatred of cats goes past pathological into dangerous territory. I won’t have anything to do with such people.

    1. One of our Irish cats, Kyrie, (for valkyrie) was murdered by a villager a year or so after we left. The guy was a farmer and had a pathological hatred for cats so he had started leaving out poisoned bait. Kyrie’s new people were livid, but couldn’t prove it, not that there was likely anything the Gardai would have been able to do.

  14. Kipling warned us about “giving your heart to a dog to tear.” I’ve never had a cat (allergies), but it seems like they do an equally thorough job on the heart when they leave.

    “When the body that lived at your single will,
    With its whimper of welcome, is stilled (how still!).
    When the spirit that answered your every mood
    Is gone—wherever it goes—for good,
    You will discover how much you care,
    And will give your heart to a [cat] to tear.”

    1. see, this is my issue. Greebo is my DOG. Specifically my bulldog. I don’t know why. He and his brother and sister all have “bulldog behaviors” like leaning and being really protective. But I’ve never been THAT loved by a creature before. EVER. Except maybe Lord, my dad’s dog who was my shadow till he died when I was 4. Greebo loves me frighteningly. He obeys not just my commands but my thoughts, I swear.
      When he goes it will be like losing a limb.
      He’s a big muscular black cat, with the most expressive face I’ve ever seen, and smart like a person.
      I don’t want to lose him, EVER, but I’m starting to see the signs of aging, and his brother (D’Artagnan) is dying at 15….

    2. I prefer this one. I had a copy cremated with Fuzzy (my gravatar). I expect Euclid will be there for Sarah.

      “Enter and look,” said Peter then,
      And set The Gate ajar.
      “If know aught of women and men
      I trow she is not far.”

      “Neither by virtue, speech nor art
      Nor hope of grace to win;
      But godless innocence of heart
      That never heard of sin:

      “Neither by beauty nor belief
      Nor white example shown.
      Something a wanton–more a thief–
      But–most of all–mine own.”

      “Enter and look,” said Peter then,
      “And send you well to speed;
      But, for all that I know of women and men
      Your riddle is hard to read.”

      Then flew Dinah from under the Chair,
      Into his arms she flew–
      And licked his face from chin to hair
      And Peter passed them through!

  15. Sarah, all I can say is that I am sorry. We are cat people and it never gets easier to lose them, although it is harder, I think, when we have to make that decision in their place.

    I will say, you made DH laugh so hard yesterday with your orange kitten comment yesterday. We just adopted the orange-ist (is that a word) boy you’ve ever seen about 3 months ago, and we have now taken to referring to Mango as ORANGECATBAD, except he is quite the sweetest thing you’ve ever met, so it promptly becomes apologies and no, no orangecatgood, really!

  16. C and I are sorry for your loss. We’ve through it three times and it’s never easy. We just had to accept that we were going to grieve, as I have no doubt you are now. (It was especially bad when we lost Taiki, cat #3, just days before we moved out of San Diego.)

    As far as the ethics goes, I don’t believe cats know that they are mortal, or that their life has a certain extent in time; but they do know that they are suffering, though they usually try to conceal it. So I’ve come to feel that shortening their life is not wrong if the alternative is for them to suffer with no chance of relief.

    1. I think they know they’re mortal. I don’t know if they live hereafter, though like Heinlein I have trouble believing that aware/self willed people (cats and dogs and others included) die utterly.

      1. I agree. Cats may hide their suffering. But they know they are mortal.

        We knew the morning when Silver was ready. That day, a Saturday our son had to work, overtime; she was his cat, he was her boy. Both dad & I took turns holding her as much as she could tolerate. The minute son walked into the house that night, she started coughing blood and bleeding through her nose; she was suffering. We rushed her to the emergency veterinarian clinic. Honestly didn’t think she’d make it there. She did. Held on while they cleaned her up & prepped her for the relaxant and the final shot. Son held her during the process.

        We also knew when Thump had lost his fight, or it wasn’t fair to him to fight it. We might have had another 48 hours, but we’d had been in the same position as Silver, a mad flight to the emergency veterinarian … who would NOT have let us be with him … at which point he’d had been in horrible, horrible, pain.

        Maybe we’ve been through this too many times now. Maybe I’m too sensitive. But just seem to know.

        1. FYI. Difference at emergency Veterinarian letting us be with Silver and not with Thump is because of CV19 … Silver we lost just before Thanksgiving 2019. Thump we lost two weeks ago.

            1. Our regular veterinarian clinic let us be with Thump.

              The emergency Veterinarian would not have.

              I get it. The emergency veterinarians are with that clinic 18 months to 3 years maximum. They are cycled through, for a lot of reasons, before they join a permanent placement or start their own practice.

              Our regular clinic, we have been going to since 1985; since before the current owner/head veterinarian joined the original veterinarian right out of school. She eventually bought the practice, about 8 years later (I think). Doctor J can afford to back her staff, draw a line of what is acceptable when dealing with her patients and their guardians, where certain procedures are going to be performed. The emergency clinic staff, doesn’t have that clout or backing.

        2. I THINK the problem was Euclid lived by the “Pardon me, don’t want to give you trouble” credo. So even if he wanted to go, he wouldn’t give us any signs of it until WE wanted him to go.
          But I keep thinking “all he wanted was a little patch to sleep in, and food. But I had to kill him.” I know it’s stupid. “Little patch.” — he used to curl up so tight, and was so skinny (he started at 16 lbs)that I was afraid of squishing him. When he wasn’t in the cage, he curled up on the carpet at the kitchen entrance, and I was afraid of not seeing him.
          It’s just he was so meek and self-effacing, I feel like I took advantage of him.
          Yes, I do know it’s stupid. He was crying and whimpering all the time, and, as I said, his eyes were full of pain.

      2. You’re dancing with the mysteries of time and eternity. Our human intuition can’t really fathom them. Human reason can go a little further, but it’s easy to be convinced of what you want and miss the deeper truth.

  17. > a neighbor (which the vet refused to identify) had taken him to a vet and had him euthanized.

    That costs $125 here, plus extra for disposing of the remains.

    For someone to hate you *that* much crosses the border into “dangerously crazy.”

    I’m surprised you didn’t do a black bag job on the vet’s office that night.

    1. We recovered his body and had him cremated. He’s on the shelf with the others.
      And I don’t think it was ME. One by one, all the outdoor cats started disappearing….

  18. Virtual Hugs.

    Saying it is never easy, isn’t enough. As you told me two weeks ago “You’ve done your best for him. Mourn him. It is your right.”

  19. Daniel Pinkwater proposes that there are a limited number of dog souls, and they keep coming back to you. I believe it of cats, also. If they love you, you send them back to Mama Bast, and after a while they come looking for you again.

    On another note; I agree that anything that has been a big part of humans’ lives becomes imbued with Spirit. My knowledge of Shinto is about as deep as the writers of the KUNG FU tv series knowledge of Buddhism (or, to judge from their anime, the Japanese knowledge of Christianity), but I think they may be on to something. Certainly, it does little harm to be respectful or even affectionate of objects with history.

    Or, occasionally, threatening. Telling a recalcitrant computer that if it doesn’t cooperate I’ll get a large axe and give it a reprogramming it will never forget SEEMS to help….and makes me feel better.

    1. We have considered the above. D’Artagnan arrived on the anniversary of Pete’s death. More, the day Pete died I dreamed a cat came in my kitchen door (this had never happened before or since — just a kitten, white with three black triangles — and he said, “Don’t you recognize me, mom, it’s me. Pete.”) This is how D’Artagnan who was a feral kitten and WALTZED in the kitchen door and rubbed on my ankles, almost got called Re-Pete. And they’re much alike.
      And both adored older son.
      But if so, then Euclid is Zebbie, the only cat Pete ever loved. (He hated all other cats.)
      We have suspected that Havey is Pixie, only brain damaged by mini-golf sticks to the noggin.
      This would leave Greebo as a mystery, though. Unless he is one of the dogs I loved in childhood, and took the hit to be with me again.

      1. Or the cat-spirits gossip around Mama Bast’s feet, “You last human was a bad one? Try this house! I had a great life with them! And I’ll catch up with you when I’ve had a rest.”

        1. I actually like that thought – that there are only a limited number of cat and dog souls, and they come back to us, again and again. Jezz was the return of Patchie, and Benji the return of Punchie…

    2. or, to judge from their anime, the Japanese knowledge of Christianity

      Had the “wait, what the ****?” stuff explained at one point– it’s a direct copy-paste to their temple priests (for our priests) and temple maids (for our nuns).
      That’s also why our monks and their monks are…ah, more friar Tuck as a perv, although I have no idea why they’re almost uniformly pervs. (The violating nonviolence thing, maybe? That is their monks, right? I know it’s not uniformly for ours!)

      Some anime are now playing around with it, too. 😀

      Digression ended.

      1. I figure the WTF? reaction I get from most anime Christianity – especially when they’re doing the ‘Catholicism as the foreign mystical religion’ thing – comes pretty close to how Buddhists react to KUNG FU and the like.

        1. Less than you might think, if I remember correctly. No worse than other places putting their local cultural spin, anyways.

  20. What comfort can a stranger offer? Here, take it.

    Love across the boundary of species is something very special, a gift we’ve been given. And God must have a purpose in giving it to us, and to them. Which means the pain has a purpose, too.

    I don’t know if that helps.

  21. Sara the Lab-Aussie keeps giving clues that while the schedule is really unknown, eventually she’ll be too sick to eat. It might be a few weeks or several months, but at 15-1/2, her illnesses are catching up. All we can do is love her and take good care of her.

    Angie the Border Collie is starting to get some illnesses, so now we have two dogs on very-low-fat kibble. Acceptance of it varies with time of day and which dog.

    Damn, how did it get so dusty in here?

  22. We take on these responsibilities knowing the inevitable pain that will come all too soon.

    We accept that, knowing that in the balance every ounce of the pain is worth it.

  23. I am very sorry to hear of your loss. In our family, I’m the one who takes each cat to their final vet appointment. The ONLY consolation is that they are clearly in pain and ready to go. Maybe, someone will figure out how to extend their lifespans sometime soon, so there are fewer final vet visits.

    Good bye to Euclid cat. Greebo cat, hang in there bud. Sarah, you too.

  24. One of my uncles died this week of a sudden heart attack. I know how you’re feeling.

  25. Sorry Sarah. It hurts, I know. We lost Spike 16 years ago. It took a long time to get over that. We finally got a new dog last year, Maximum Maxwell the attack poodle.

    But Spike is reborn as the giant dog in my books. In life he acted like giant even though he was skinny and small, so now in fiction he is a golden retriever the size of a polar bear.

    He’ll let Euclid cat sleep on his back.

  26. Dogs make good friends because of their loyalty and perpetual optimism.
    Cats make good friends, because of their independent streaks.
    The day you decide not to get a pet because you’re afraid you’ll out live them is the day you decide to start dying.
    So go ahead, and take that dog or cat home with you. You need them, and they need you. And if you do pass before they do, your friends and family will take them in and remember you all the more.

    1. I know. This keeps going through my head:
      Les vieux ne rêvent plus, leurs livres s’ensommeillent, leurs pianos sont fermés
      Le petit chat est mort, le muscat du dimanche ne les fait plus chanter

  27. I’ve put just about every one of our dogs into my books. Calla the boxer-pit mix, whom my daughter brought home from her stint in the Marines – that’s Dog in To Truckee’s Trail. (The guy that I wrote in as her owner in that book had no detectable imagination whatsoever.) Mouse in Adelsverein: The Harvesting (and in The Quivera Trail) is Spike the Shi Tzu. And Nipper in The Golden Road is Nemo the weird-looking terrier.
    Yes, of course, Euclid is Peegrass…

  28. I am sorry to hear about your cat. Losing a cherished pet sucks.

    I had to talk my daughter through putting down her beloved dog. She asked me how do you know when it is time. I had to tell he you don’t but that decision is part of the bargain. I told her to ask herself three questions.

    1. Would I want to live like that?

    2. Do I want him to live like that?

    3. Does he want to live like that?

    Only the first two can be answered by the human. However, if the answer to those two is “no” then you have to look at the third knowing full well you can never be sure.

    I told her it is part of what dogs and cats teach us: We are not gods but, sometimes, we have to make decision as if we were.

  29. The pain is your love turned inside out.
    You know he does await you at the rainbow bridge.

    1. And then there’s the story ‘Moses’ by Walter D. Edmonds., about a dog that makes his was to Heaven’s Gate.

      They will be waiting for us. Big John, my Father’s first Bulldog, came to see my Mother the night before she passed. She told us. It made letting her go easier, knowing she had company.

      1. Big John, my Father’s first Bulldog, came to see my Mother the night before she passed.

        This is probably the only place I can say this. … I swear Thump came Wednesday night to brush against my *cheek, essentially “Love the new babies I found for you. Taylor, Shilo, others, and I’ll be waiting.”

        * It was not the dog. She was busy pinning my legs to the bed, cleaning my feet, under the covers.

  30. ((Hugs))

    As you know, we lost Alice a few weeks back at 17, though we only had her for 9. It hurts, and I still look for her at kitty dinnertime.

    And now Gideon (11ish) is developing kidney disease and is losing his appetite. We’ve been given to understand that if he can tolerate the diet he could have some considerable good time left. But of course it’s chicken based and he doesnt like chicken much, silly boy.

  31. When it is the time, it is time. No matter how much we fight it.

    No, I am not talking about YOU, there, Sarah. Some people (and nobody better argue with me about the “peopleness” of our pets) will hang on long past their time, no matter how hard they are being told that it is so, out of concern for their loved ones; what will they do without me?

    Euclid is an obvious one of those people. He KNEW, from first laying eyes on you, that YOU needed him. He was not going to leave, no way, no how, until YOU let him know that you realized it was that time.

    (Side – I say “is,” not “was.” Agnostic though I be, I feel that there SHOULD be an afterlife. Paraphrasing what my grandmother said long years ago, to her family consoling her over the death of her last older brother – “Yes, they’ll all be there when I take that trip. But if my CATS aren’t there, I’m just going to say hello and goodbye, and get back on the road!”)

    1. Yes, they’ll all be there when I take that trip. But if my CATS aren’t there, I’m just going to say hello and goodbye, and get back on the road!”

      I agree.

  32. Losing a cat always sucks, but life without cats would be worse.

    I don’t look for cats. They find me. There are three cats flopped on the bed right now, and all of them started out homeless. Leaving them lost and abandoned was not an option. How can you say no to those fuzzy little faces?

  33. I’m so sorry; it’s never easy to have to make that choice. And having had to make the choice before doesn’t make it any easier in the present.

  34. Sarah, my condolences and empathy. We have loved and lost a number of cats over the years, the last one in 2009, at 17. She was a sweet little black purrball who preferred being petted above all else, even food. I still miss her sometimes. We have not had any cats since, by necessity rather than choice. So I appreciate your cat stories, even the sad ones.

  35. My condolences. We have some beloved family pets that are also getting old, though not there yet.

  36. *Hugs* I’m not looking forward to that day with Athena T. Cat, even though I know it is coming sooner than later (she’s 15, but a high mileage 15).

  37. I empathize completely. This old man moved to town in January leaving about 20 cats, 3 dogs and the feral chickens on the farm. Kitties Taichi and Fleur (sisters) came along in a backpack (they were asleep when I opened it) and have adapted to small town life shared with their Jackchi buddy TT. Cats and chicken friends would regularly die or be killed by predators on the farm, engulfing me in clouds of sadness I never grew used to. Taichi has been to the vet twice but seems okay; they will all likely all outlive me, which I find comforting. Especially comforting that all of this — including the thoughts in your head as you read this — is foreordained by our loving creator before time began.

  38. I’m so sorry for your loss. I lost a Miss Kitty (she followed me home) a long time and she left a green-eyed hole in my heart. I wrote her into Hero of Corsindor so that her mischievousness would never be forgotten. We remember.

  39. Thank you for Euclid’s story. It’s hard to give them mercy when they do still have some moments of Good Life, but of course you did the right thing. He’s glossy and fat and frolicking again somehow, somewhere.

  40. These comments remind me – for those of us who are worried about our pets outliving us, remember to cover that situation in our wills. My spouse and I are setting up a trust to provide for them after we die. Once they are dead, then our estates can be divided up amongst the human survivors. Another alternative, at least in Texas, is the equivalent of an old-age home for pets. Texas A&M university has such a setup that we visited, and we were quite impressed. They have four vet students living on-site, taking turns to cover things for holidays, along with other staff and vet care is provided by the vet school at A&M. All of the animals seemed happy and comfortable, and were getting plenty of attention from the staff. It’s fairly costly, but if one has no family or friends to inherit the critters it looks like a good solution.

    1. I don’t know how they have it set up, but in theory that is a brilliant idea.

      A vet school where you can will your pet and a bequest, they take care of the pets (since vets tend to really, really like animals, this also helps with Pet Withdrawal) including any needed medical care– same way that dental schools offer greatly reduced prices for dental treatment if you let students work on you.

      1. That’s exactly it. And it’s not limited to cats and dogs – they were setting up a bird room when we visited, and the person whose bequest started it left a llama.

  41. I have a had feline companion for about 18 years. He is part of me. I feel for your loss.

    1. This one wasn’t it. Just a very sweet and compliant cat who loved us. “Just.”
      Greebo, OTOH, who is also a black cat, aged 17 is…. a part of me. It will be like losing a limb when he goes. I DREAD the day. We spent 2k on treatments for him over the holidays because I wasn’t ready to lose him.

      1. We spent 2k on treatments for him over the holidays because I wasn’t ready to lose him.

        We spent $1300 over the last month on hope and prayer on Thump (not counting the final shot & cremation). Considered the $5k + a trip to CA to the closest location to perform cat kidney transplants (okay, briefly, we did talk about it). We had to take into account his life change requirements, repeated medical treatments to prevent rejection. No matter how much we did not want to lose him it wasn’t fair to him. He loved being loved on. He loved giving loves. He also loved his patrols. It would have broken his heart. I won’t deny the cost was discussed. Cost was not the factor except in the end we still couldn’t have a good outcome. We questioned our decision to the end, and … after. Could we have waited 24 hours? Maybe. 48 hours? Big Maybe. 72 hours? No, he’d been in horrible pain We KNOW we made the correct & right decision for Thump. It does not help. I will miss him forever …

        Bottom line. I understand. I can’t provide the answer for you. No one can but you.

        Aside. We don’t have Thump’s ashes back yet. Normally they say 10 business days (two weeks) and the ashes have been back faster (2x’s now). But with CV19 our veterinarian had a lot of euthanasia’s to preform. Long term medical cared for pets, who because of CV19, the owners could no longer afford critically required medical care, since surrendering their pets meant euthanasia by the shelter or rescue …

  42. Both of our/my last two cats were walk-ons. I found Gordon, a ditsy calico, complaining bitterly about her life when she was an 8 inch long kitten. Unfortunately she was past the socialization window and remains to this day mildly feral. Bear, The Great and Terrible, came into the yard when his “staff” apparently moved and didn’t bother to take him with them. Large black domestic long -hair, fangs so long they stick down in his lower lip. That was sometime in the middle(?) ’90’s and he was my wife’s cat-dog until she passed. So he mostly sleeps and eats and uses the cat pan. But he does get upset if I’m late coming to bed and complains loudly until I do. Really not looking forward to losing either of them. But over 50 years we lost several… worst was seven kittens in a week to feline leukemia
    Update The Bear just had his annual and the (new) vet says he’s in remarkable shape considering how ols he is… And he just came out to share in the kill.. I’m heating leftover fish.

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