They’re Serving Tuna In Valhalla Tonight


This is not a post I wanted to write.  This is not a day I wanted to live through.

And if I must write about Greebo I want the skill of a bard, to sing his life.

We don’t get what we want.  We get what we’re given.

Greebo’s mom was a stray, dumped in front of our house in the old north end of Colorado Springs, on the day we moved in.  Someone slowed by the u-haul and dumped a tiny little tortie.

I don’t know what they thought was going to happen.  What happened was that she was so terrified we couldn’t catch her.  After a while she started coming to my kitchen window, because I gave her food.

Greebo was born in the crawl space of the house across the driveway from us, in the summer of 2003.  The first time I saw him was with his brothers, nursing in our driveway.

He must have been all of eight weeks, all soft fuzz, and wobbly legs, when a mad feral Tom tried to attack him and his brothers.  I watched from the upstairs window, as he jumped on the feral’s head, tearing him up, till the bad cat ran away and Greebo came back, strutting like a warrior.  That was the day I named him.

Our next door neighbor took him and his brothers, but never socialized them or tried to find them homes.  She kept them locked in the bathroom almost a year, and had them fixed at a “free” place where they cut their ears to show they were fixed.  Greebo’s cut was deeper. He was also bigger than his brothers, which is how I knew him.

Once the neighbor released them (his mom having vanished) Greebo started coming up to my window every morning for food.  Through that year, I sat on the back step a lot, waiting for him to come nearer and nearer.  Eventually, he’d let us pet him.

He liked being petted so much that in the middle of winter, if we opened our door, we’d hear him meow as he ran nearer, basically “Wait for me, I’m coming for pets.”

We set up a little resting area, with a heated pad, in our airlock (Dan says it was really a mudroom, but you know…) with a cat door so he could come and go.

The local wildlife learned to respect him.  A fox took a bite off Maurice’s butt, didn’t do anything else because Greebo…  Well…. he brought us half a fox tail, cut vertically.

If we went to Denver for a weekend vacation, we had to be careful on coming back, because Greebo would build  a pyramid of mouse skulls to our glory on the backdoor rug.  (Actually a semi-circle, three levels carefully stacked up.  No. We don’t know why. But it worked. We always came back.)

For a while he had a baby racoon understudy. (Just before we moved.)  The racoon followed him around, and did everything Greebo did, including looking at Greebo to make sure he was doing it right. I have no idea what became of that very confused racoon.

Perhaps Greebo’s most notable exploit was saving the family from a fugitive.

To explain this one, I must tell you that sometimes, in downtown Colorado Springs, you’d see a floodlight, pointing down, from an helicopter.  We’d learned over our years there that this meant there was a fugitive, either someone who’d just shot a cop (twice) or someone who had escaped from jail and they were trying to find him.

One bad feature of the airlock is that the screen door didn’t lock.  And once you got in there, you had all the time in the world to break into the house.

I was cooking dinner and looking out at the driveway, which was empty (so Dan was not home) and the boys were upstairs doing homework, when I heard someone fiddling with the kitchen door lock.  I’d seen the spotlights before, so I was trying to figure out which knife to grab, when I heard a war cry from Greebo, and a scream, and a guy ran out the backdoor, with Greebo on his head, yowling and tearing him up.

The neighbor’s said, he just ran in the middle of the street, and gave himself up. Greebo came back, strutting, and we fed him well that night.

I presume this guy came in while Greebo was sleeping on top of the shelves, and so Greebo decided to attack. I don’t know why. He never attacked our friends, or even people coming in to knock at the door. BUT he was a very smart cat, and I guess he saw something wrong.

When we moved, we figured, like his brothers, he was the neighborhood’s cat and he would stay.  The neighbors across the street had built a glassed in porch with a cat door and a wood stove for their old age, and we figured he’d be happy in his familiar territory.

Only Greebo would sit in front of the house and lament all night, and the neighbors called and told us to come get him.

So, we did.

And he became my editor, my shadow, my dog.  If I were somewhere, Greebo was following along.  As consciousness returned in the morning, he was there, headbutting my forehead and purring.  His happy place was by my side.  He loved for me to be in the office and writing, because he could sleep at my feet, with no other cat or people around.

He’s been losing weight for about a month and a half. And I thought it was the hyperthyroidism returning.

It wasn’t.

On Thursday he wasn’t in my bed when I woke up, and I thought that was odd, but son moved in Wednesday, and his friends helped, and he hated strangers.

I found him hiding in the dining room, and couldn’t get him to come out.  But on Friday, he jumped on the arm of my chair, and I petted him and spent time with him…

And then on Saturday he was hiding in a corner of my room, behind the armchair, and wouldn’t come out.  I called him to the bed, and he wouldn’t come. He also threw up a lot of green stuff.

Then around midnight, I heard him climbing on the bed.  Only instead of sitting by my head, as usual, he huddled by my legs, and stayed there all night, with me waking now and then to pet him, and afraid to hurt him.  Early morning he jumped down, and I heard him throw up.

All of yesterday he didn’t move, and I was afraid he wouldn’t survive the night.

We took him in to the vet at 2:15.  They said his thyroid was fine.  But they did tests.  He had intestinal cancer and it had metastasized to other organs.  And when we picked him up to move, he cried in pain, and the vet said he was in pain.  So much so they didn’t make us wait or schedule euthanasia.  We drove back (we’d left him for tests) and eased him over.

Only this is Greebo. The rainbow bridge would be too tame for him.  In my mind’s eye, he went to Valhalla, where all the warriors stood up to salute him and feed him tuna.

If there is justice in the universe, if there is one dram of justice, I’ll see him again, where cancer and pain don’t exist and where species is no barrier to friendship.

Goodnight, sweet prince, and flocks of angels sing you to thy rest.  Unlike the emo Dane, you were brave and equal to your task.  Your heart, in your small cat body was the equal of any warrior, any king, any immortal hero sang in poem and saga.

We shall not see your like again. And I’ll miss you everyday, until we meet again.


171 thoughts on “They’re Serving Tuna In Valhalla Tonight

  1. Well, frack.

    Every time you lose a pet, a little bit of your soul leaves with them.

      1. I know too. Never easy to lose a pet of any kind. I still grieve for Shilo after 30 years. I grieve for Taylor who passed away at my feet. I grieve for all the cats we’ve lost. It is always harder to lose ones we bottle fed & kept alive at all odds, even when they live to be very old. But Thump was even harder. He chose me over everyone else. Something not even Shilo did and she was MY dog before we got married. Not even Taylor for all that she ran to my feet to be with me when her heart gave out. All took a piece of my heart and soul. Thump took a bigger piece of each.

        But on the net all, including Thump, let me more whole, because the love they brought enlarged my soul & heart, they never take more than I can bear and always less than they gave in the first place. It is hard to remember this on your first day and in the immediate days to follow without him. You will look and/or reach for him then realize he isn’t here anymore. But he is. He will never, ever, leave your heart. Okay. Eventually I’ll remember that too. It is still raw.

        Only advise I can give. Grieve. Remember. Be ready for the next one that Greebo will put in your path. Be ready to look up & say “Yes Greebo we will take them in.”

        1. ALL of this. Been there, done that, with too many pets — dog, cats, horses. It doesn’t get easier. But when it’s a special furbaby, when — as my little Anna-cat did, a rescue kitten who lived to nearly 20 — when they wait for you to get home from work, then struggle on until you tell them it’s okay, to let go and be out of pain, and only then give that last final breath, with your permission, while lying in your lap one more time…yes. The pain is so deep it never really goes away.

          But you remember it, and you remember everything about them, because like all family, they are part of you.

          And always will be.

          1. But you remember it, and you remember everything about them, because like all family, they are part of you.

            There was this tiny black kitten with white 1/2 mustache and toes. She was barely 2 weeks, we’d been bottle, well eye dropper feeding (she never took to the bottle). She disappeared. We were terrified she’d gotten out. Called, called, called, and called. Eventually a little kitten pops up yawning out of dad’s white, black lined, helmet hanging from the kitten table … 40 years latter still haven’t figured out how she got in the thing.

            Then there was the day we came home and our German Shepard is cowering in the corner. “What’d you do? Where is the kitten?” Kitten was just fine. Kitten was piled in the middle of the remaining roll of TP that she’d pulled up & down the hallway. She had a great time. Shilo was sure she was going to be blamed …

            Last night Thump visited the new kittens giving instructions on how to “open” the treat container. They got an “A”, the contents, every piece they could consume while I picked up the pile …

            The day the 4 cats were at the 4 areas of the compass around the mole hole in the yard, while the dirt is flying up ….

            When Yellar rode the roaming neighborhood golden retriever to teach him to not interrupt his nap in the southern planter under the bush …

            We were feeding Spooker. Two days later he shows up with his sibling … We were able to keep his sibling, but Spooker disappeared … (our first 2).

            Yes. I’ve got 45 years worth … Well okay 63 years, if you count the childhood pets. Part of the last 42 years is we had trouble having human babies. The German Shepard was my baby when we got married (3 years) and 4 of the cats were 10 or almost by the time our son was born …

            1. … 40 years latter still haven’t figured out how she got in the thing.

              Haven’t you read Fritz Leiber’s “Space-Time for Springers”? Kittens teleport … or rather, they move through various dimensional folds. They tend to (sorta) lose the ability as they mature. Or perhaps they simply tire of bending reality to their will. Science is not settled about this.

              1. Eventually we’ll get to the slides, find the picture, & get it digitized …. I’ll post it to Sarah’s Diner …

                Fritz Leiber’s “Space-Time for Springers”? Kittens teleport … or rather, they move through various dimensional folds.

                Oh. Well that makes sense. Good thing they can’t teleport themselves outside without their slaves manning the door or the auto one is installed …

  2. Condolences. Remember the healthy, happy, loving times and focus on them. He knew he was loved and gave love back.

  3. The last time I cried for a pet, it was my own. But this brought tears to my eyes.
    To Greebo! A big heart in a small frame, a mighty warrior, no matter the breed.
    We shall not see his like often. More’s the pity.

  4. I am so sorry for you and yours. Yes, Tuna is on the menu tonight in Valhalla.

  5. Warriors come in all shapes and sizes. I’m so sorry this one has departed for now. We will see them again, those who have gone before us.

  6. My heart is breaking. I am so sorry for you, Dan, and the boys. Valhalla has a new mascot. May he feast on tuna while warriors sing his praises, and he keeps vigilance watching for you at the Rainbow Bridge (he can do both).

  7. I hate when you make me Laugh AND cry at the same time Sarah…Greebo is on my Daughter’s lap, getting rubs and Cuddles until it’s time for you to see him again

      1. To absent companions.

        That toast doesn’t pretend to equal reality. It admits its limits, and ours.

        If I may be so forward, how is Havey doing?

          1. Snuggle that Havey-cat, and let him know that you love him too. He’s gonna be lonesome as well.

            1. Havey is still roaming the house calling Greebo.
              Of all the cats, he’s the one who doesn’t want to be an only cat, and he’s now lost all his friends. He doesn’t get along with Valeria, who hates all cats.
              If I had any of my heart left, I’d get him a kitten. But I don’t think I can willingly put myself through that again.

              1. If I had any of my heart left, I’d get him a kitten. But I don’t think I can willingly put myself through that again.

                Yes you do have a heart left. You just need a little time.

                Kitten. The right kitten will find you.

                Yes. You can. Really. Just need time.

                Havey is still roaming the house calling Greebo.

                Pepper can relate. She keeps going to all his “special spots” and looking at us.

                Surprisingly Lil Bit can relate. She’s been crying for him. Even rubbing on Pepper and she doesn’t even like the dog. Lil Bit never played with Thump. She never cuddled with him when he was a kitten. True with Silver the older cat. Rather standoffish. She drove us nuts crying all over the house and the yard. She cries loudly.

                Pepper loves her new kittens. Not sure what to do about their invites to snuggle. Their invites to play … she gets too rough, still young enough that she gets too excited. They are too little to allow that. At full size they won’t be much smaller than her, but she’ll still outweigh them.

              2. From what you’ve told us of your other cats?

                If Havey needs a kitten, in their view, they’ll set it up.

                As Greebo is involved, for heaven’s sake don’t try to dodge it– he’ll do something worse than yowling for a week at high volume until the neighbors make you get the kitten.
                I know our local cat shelter folks have mentioned issues with finding foster families– might that work?

                1. I know. Lke Shilo (14y) and Taylor (10y) knew I needed a puppy … (Deep Breath) Spooker (1y), Feathers (15y), Pippie (16y), Yellar (18y), Tyke (16y), Bugs (3y), Hobbs (20y), Emerald (18y), Crystal (15y), Silver (20.5y), and Thump (5y), with Silver & Thump leading the charge, found us two new kittens.

                  It is like. “Pet Parents R Us” in session.

                  Can’t foster … I couldn’t give them up …

                  1. That’s why we haven’t gone into fostering, either, especially in groups that have a “you cannot keep any of your fosters” rule.

                  1. Just remembered a trick my mom used with some fussy kittens– have you seen those model cats made out of rabbit fur?

                    It worked well enough that we got a panicked phonecall from the lady who was checking on the cats because one of them was not moving… she figured out halfway through the call that it was a model, and is still telling the story two decades later.

                    1. IF we’d thought about it, and had got Greebo to sleep on it. IF we knew he was going to pass. But I suspect Havey wouldn’t be fooled. Like all Holy Innocents he’s wise about some strange things.

              3. Dear heart, you speak as though you had some choice in the matter.
                When the time is right and the universe allignes, some little furball will majically appear to claim their human.

          2. …I don’t know why WordPress is refusing to log me in properly. Sorry. It really is me.

        1. *raises his blade in salute*

          To Absent Companions!

          The mead flows freely with the tuna in Valhalla tonight, and the battlesongs ring out loudly….

    1. Raises glass. Isis, Ishtar, Knight, Mary, you all are missed but you gave more than you took.

  8. I know your pain, last week I had to put one of my furry babies down.
    I’ve been trying to get back to my usually mildly grumpy self… but memories of all the critters that have been part of my life and passed on have been on my mind.
    Good memories, but they still leave me a little unsatisfied that our fur babies live much too short lives…
    Godspeed Greebo, may the mice be just fast enough to be a challenge!

  9. I am so very sorry. But you will meet again. There are three ghost dogs in my garden, playing around my wife’s feet while they wait for me to join them.

  10. I am so sorry. You’ve lost too many recently. The price we pay, and they’re all worth it, but it’s still so hard.

  11. Always remember the good life you gave Greebo. You gave him a home and a family, and took care of him to the end. You did the best anybody could have done.

  12. 😡

    On Mon, Jul 20, 2020 at 4:04 PM According To Hoyt wrote:

    > accordingtohoyt posted: ” This is not a post I wanted to write. This is > not a day I wanted to live through. And if I must write about Greebo I want > the skill of a bard, to sing his life. We don’t get what we want. We get > what we’re given. Greebo’s mom was a stray, dumped in” >

  13. I’m so sorry. It’s not fair. It’s never fair.

    I was lucky enough to be loved by a very fluffy Siamese cross for almost two decades. The hole where she was still hurts, ten years later.

    Though… tuna in Valhalla? I bet he’s also wandering over to Fólkvangr and poking at Freya’s chariot cats….

    1. My thoughts exactly, you’d think there’d be tuna flavoured mead in Folkvangr.

      Though if he is in Valhalla, I’m sure Geki and Freki are on their best behavior.

  14. I’m so very sorry for your loss. I’m weeping for a warrior I never met anyone holding Tully Cat a little closer tonight. There is indeed tuna in Valhalla tonight, and in my kitchen. Ave atque Vale, Brave Soul 💔

  15. I somehow expect Greebo is already eyeing Odin’s throne.

    Sadly, while it is not a post you ever wanted to write it is one you always knew you would. The blessing’s pets bring into our lives are bittersweet for the greater the love the tougher the parting. Yet in spite of that we would take the deal three times three and count ourselves blessed.

  16. You and your family, including Havey, have my sympathies. But I’m glad for Greebo that he has been released from suffering, and that you were able to be with him at the end.

  17. I saw you note he was spewing green puke and thought it sounded just like Isabeau. Sounds very much the same, but for the weight loss, She didn’t thin, but she had been fairly chubby, so even though she lost weight, a lot of her was still there.
    And thanks for being around.

  18. Ave atque vale, Greebo! Kind to his friends and merciless to his foes, let all the demons of Hades tremble, let the cherubs of Heaven rejoice, for we, the living, are poorer for his passing.

  19. Yes Greebo is in the Happy Hunting Grounds and when he’s not hunting mice and foxes, he’s accidentally totally coincidentally just wrapped around the feet of the person with the tuna can and can opener.

    In a way I’m reminded of the Just So Stories and “The Cat that walked by himself”

    But the Cat keeps his side of the bargain too. He will kill mice and he will be kind to Babies when he is in the house, just as long as they do not pull his tail too hard. But when he has done that, and between times, and when the moon gets up and night comes, he is the Cat that walks by himself, and all places are alike to him. Then he goes out to the Wet Wild Woods or up the Wet Wild Trees or on the Wet Wild Roofs, waving his wild tail and walking by his wild lone.

  20. Sarah, I am so sorry for your loss of a one in a million companion. Maybe he will meet up with my beloved Ju-Ju who also was a total devoted love cat that wanted to be with me at all times, too. I wrote about him in a prior post and he also had intestinal cancer that finally got him. Tears and big sniffs.

  21. Dang it. Just . . . dang it. Virtual hugs headed your way. *slinks off, muttering about dust and allergies and the need to change air filters and who’s chopping onions this time of evening*

        1. I’ve been trying to adapt the death speech from 13th Warrior, but it’s just not coming together.

  22. I’m not sure they’re “serving” tuna in Valhalla, which implies just putting a dish in front of him. For a cat like that, I think they’d give him an arena with a full size, still living Albacore at the other end and tell him to eat his kill when he’s done with the battle.

    As Kipling says, we give our hearts to dogs (and cats) to tear.

  23. Now *that* was a cat. Though you grieve, it may be a small comfort to know that you gave him the best life he could have had. I never met him, but I share your sorrow.

  24. My glass is raised to Greebo. Tux has been bugging me all day. They know when one of their own crosses.

    We salute you, Warrior Cat. We grieve with your humans.

  25. So sorry for your loss. He sounds like he was wonderful and indeed a fierce warrior. I have no doubt he will be given the finest cuts of tuna and will be able to hunt whenever he wants in Valhalla.

  26. Angels are fearsome warriors. Angels don’t always have wings. Sometimes they have whiskers. My sincere condolences.

    1. …and sometimes those angels come back to visit. I swear I’ve been visited by my Anna-cat, often when I’m traveling, or when Elrond has had to spend the night at the vet or the like. That’s the only way I can explain the feel of the little purring body against my leg when there is no cat in the house, or the hotel room.

          1. Word Press acting weird? How would we know??? I thought weird was its default state.

      1. I know. I’ll feel something where Thump snuggled each night. I’ll reach up to give a pat as he snuggles in … only nothing is there. I’ve caught Pepper nudging just to the right of me, where his tail would have curled over her nose at night.

  27. That’s too bad. I sometimes wish they would outlive us so we didn’t have to bury them.
    But then who would buy the kibble? Who would rub their head when they come up to you when your in the bathroom? Where would they sleep when there were no legs to cuddle down in between?
    Who would be your perfect armrest when your on the couch? And bite your fingers when your trying to text. No, as hard as it is it’s better this way.

  28. A cat like Greebo doesn’t die on July 20 for nothing. That’s Apollo Landing Day. And St. Margaret the Dragonslayer’s day.

    Obviously he is busy somewhere, kicking space demon butt. And leaving little skull monuments as markers.

  29. I’m so sorry, Sarah. Greebo is definitely enjoying all the tuna he can eat now. Probably hanging with my Fritz and Flash and trading attack strategies…

  30. I’m so sorry. I guess he had to report to the file his report to the Great Editor…along with a few skulls of the demons slain in his duties.

  31. It hurts, as I well know. Maybe Greebo will say “hi” (or “mrrowr”) to my cat Neutron, who half a century ago was the terror of dogs in the neighborhood, who were five or six times her size. My late brother once suggested she should have a Viking name of Neutron Dogfighter. So much love and furty can come in such smallk, furry packages. Remember the good times and hope for a resumption.

  32. I’d claim there were onions involved, but this is a Viking funeral, and they grieved as big as they lived, so let us lift our flagons to the mighty warrior and hope to live so well.

  33. So sorry. If not Valhalla, perhaps St. Peter is getting help keeping damned souls from getting past the Pearly Gates. {{Hugs}}

  34. I’m so sorry Greebo has gone to the land of Endless Mice. Your eloquent tribute is the verbal equivalent of a proper Norse send-off. What a brilliant cat he was, and lived a good, long life with the most loyal of serving staff.

    1. We’ve lost three in less than a year.

      Two in six months. Four in the last 4. Other than Thump, they’d lived their lives, a matter of letting go and not letting them suffer. Still hurt. Still miss them.

      Worst we’ve dealt with is one a year for almost 5 years. But when you are losing big dogs at 12 years (Siberian Husky/Malamute cross), 14 years (German Shepard), and cats at 16, 17, 18, and 20, well …

  35. *HUGS*

    And somewhere, in the afterlife, a valkyrie looks up and sees Petronius the Arbiter get up to greet a long-lost friend and fellow human herder, and says softly, “Oh, no. Now there are two of them…”

    1. Didn’t Sarah tell us that Pixel was her other really smart cat? I’d be more afraid of those two putting their heads together. It’s the clever ones you really have to watch out for…

  36. A beautiful tribute to a noble warrior and a dear friend. May you always remember the good times.

  37. I’m so sorry for your loss Mrs. Hoyt. Ah, but they steal into our hearts on small furred feet and never ever leave.

    There’ll be a Great Wall of mouse skulls waiting for you outside the Pearly gates.

  38. The pets we love are truly a part of our family and the loss is very great. My sincere sympathy. We are still grieving our Yorkie we lost almost a year ago. They do not leave our hearts when theirs stop beating. I’m sure Greebo knew how much he was loved. He was lucky you were the one who took him in.

  39. So sad to hear. Be grateful for the time you had him, but I know it was still too short.

  40. I am so sorry to hear of your loss.

    *raises his sword and salutes Greebo as he parades to Valhalla*

    I would be mightily pleased to slice off bits of tuna with my blade and hand-feed him. Though as a stranger, he would more likely challenge me to mortal combat, which I would most respectfully accept.

  41. First off, I’m deeply sorry for your loss. A few years ago, we lost our little black cat, Hexerei. My had rescued her from a dumpster, and she’d been with us for over ten years. She even woke me up once in the middle of the night when my glucose had dropped to dangerous levels. I would say however that Greeble was not Valhalla or Odin’s Halls but was instead with the Keeper of Cats, Freyja, who gets first choice of the battleslain before Odin. So, Hail Greeble!

  42. I really understand about that special cat… We had one…
    She found us, well particularly our middle son, on a family outing. As a little kitten, she came stumbling out of the woods and came up to Bryan. Yelling for him to pick him up. We couldn’t leave there to an unknown fate so we brought her home.

    We had a dear neighbor who was a cat lady. We told her the story and she was ready to take her but the kitty pitched a fit and wanted to go “home”. So my wife brought her back and she immediately found Bryan and stuck with him. He had a lot of health issues, eventually we learned it was juvenile diabetes, and whenever he was sick she would sit with him. Actually she would nurse all of us it we felt bad, if Bryan was OK.

    She would catch field mice around the house. She would eat everything but the butt and the tail, we’d find the butts with the tail sticking up like a flag. Her best friend was Rudy the black mixed Golden/Lab mix, who was there when she arrived. As a kitten, she would climb on his back and do that cat thing until she found the right spot, while his muscles responded but he didn’t move. While still a kitten, she got into a yowling match with a cat through the front door. Rudy was just standing behind her. Getting tired of the noise, knowing Rudy would protect her, I opened the door. If there was ever a real situation like the cartoons where the character’s eyes would pop our of their heads, this was it when that cat saw Rudy, who finally barked when the door was opened. She strutted back into the house successful.

    She once, while sitting on the TV (remember when TVs were big enough a cat could sit on the cabinet?) in a darkened room, stood up and stared intently behind me – made me look – after which she had gone back to sleep.

    Nimrod was her official name but like most pets, we called her by the name appropriate at the time. After many years, she lost a bunch of weight, so I knew she was going downhill but she never complained or appeared to be in pain. One morning she wanted to go outside desperately, so I let her out. When I left for work, about half an hour later, I found her dead on the sidewalk. Evidently she knew it was time. We buried her next to her best friend.

    Thanks for sharing your post, it inspired me to share these memories.

  43. It always hurts, but we welcome the pain. It reflects the love we had in life.
    Two sides of the same coin, as it were.
    We don’t “get over it”, nor should we. The pain will always be with us; a silent ache in our soul. But we continue living the day to day, until it becomes a familiar part of who we are, and we can live again.
    And when we cross over the Rainbow Bridge, to join the Valiant and Good, that pain is transformed to joy as we again reconnect with all the love taken from us in the travails of life.
    And yes, that includes the angels in our lives on two legs and four.
    (Raises a glass of tuna juice) To Absent Companions! Make them proud!

    1. Amen to this. Even if it didn’t rhyme much, you sung of his exploits just fine.
      He will live on in your spirit.

  44. “If we went to Denver for a weekend vacation, we had to be careful on coming back, because Greebo would build a pyramid of mouse skulls to our glory on the backdoor rug. (Actually a semi-circle, three levels carefully stacked up. No. We don’t know why. But it worked. We always came back.)”

    Conan Kitty !

  45. My sincere condolences. I have a senior feline companion. I salute you and yours.

  46. Terribly sorry. I think you took care of the bard issue. I still miss Calvin, he was getting sluggish then just “walked out onto the ice” one day and never returned. It’s worth it. Now to go find Merlin – the afraid of everything, probably hiding under a bed – kitteh and give him some pets…

  47. What a privilege it is to share your life with such a magnificent being! I’m glad I got to follow Greebo even just a little bit, from afar.

    This reminds me of the dog I had as a kid, the first pet I ever loved and lost. A more loyal friend has never walked the earth. It’s been 40 years since then, but when I die, if there isn’t a big, goofy German Shepherd/St. Bernard mix waiting for me at the pearly gates, I don’t care if they call it heaven, I ain’t going in. (Well, I’m probably going to hell anyway, but that’s beside the point.)

  48. Because cats, though they are not people, are persons – and are truer to themselves and to basic goodness than we.

  49. This came to me for Greebo.

    A Shadow Walks by Valhalla

    A shadow walks by Valhalla;
    The grim doors clear the way.
    The tales, the tuna, they call him,
    But he scorns the lost battle’s day.

    The skalds chant out his deeds,
    But blithely he passes them by.
    There are other voices he heeds,
    Voices that to a weary warrior cry.

    He finds next a gate of gold,
    Beside it a book and chair.
    A kindly man becons him,
    And the shadow comes to stare.

    “Come here, come he re, sir shadow,
    Ye echo of a soul,
    You gave of yourself so greatly,
    Come, rest, and be made whole.

    “Your Lady will yet come for you.
    Come rest and bide the days.
    We have sent others to stand sentry,
    And guard her in her ways.”

    The shadow nodded slowly
    And joined the family line,
    Of those shadows who awaited
    The sharing of life divine.

    And Peter turned from the throng of shadows,
    To the long and biding queue,
    And one by one souls entered,
    And the shadows who still knew them, turned souls and entered, too.

    *raises a glass*

    1. That was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever read. I’d have a couple of doggos, and cats well, waiting in the hall of shadows for me. I hope I actually deserve to meet them again.

        1. I’ve got to get there … there’s a slightly rotund beagle sitting, waiting to deliver morning papers with me.

  50. An impressive cat your Greebo seems to have been. And good looking too, he reminds me of my current feline companion Hiccup who is also a black cat with a white patch (though Hiccups is further down on is tummy and the patch is I think larger). The cut ears give Greebo a devil may care look. Taking on a potential home invader is quite astounding. I’ve known cats to guard, but have never seen one go into action except against other household cats. I suspect Greebo TheivesBane is sitting in kitty Valhalla enjoying a long pull of whatever it is kitties drink in Valhalla(Cream mead?). I do like situating Kitty Valhalla with Freyja given her association with cats to pull her chariot. Hail Greebo, your tales of valor and fealty will be told in the halls of the chosen dead.

    1. Cream mead?

      Brain=> “Oh, that’s yogurt!”
      Memory=> “Yeah, cats love yogurt! Remember all those kittens you’ve helped raise on yogurt, tuna and kitten chow liquified in heavy cream?”
      Brain=> “…we raised the cats on kitty mead. That explains so dang much.”

      1. For anybody using this hack:
        yes, the yogurt avoids the squirts problem from giving the kittens pure milk or cream. Make sure you find that one brand the store has– different by each store, but for some reason there’s usually only ONE whole milk yogurt brand– that isn’t “lo fat” or “nonfat yogurt.” Look out for fake sweetenings, the X-something one causes diabetic death in dogs and cats. Our technique was usually an empty milk jug, a jug of yogurt and a jug of whipping cream, get’em mixed and keep it in the fridge. The yogurt will slowly eat the cream, of course, but that’s a feature.

        1. Our local, preferred frozen yogurt emporium offers a special on frozen yogurt for dogs. Presumably it is acceptable as the Daughter has several times bought it for her roommate’s dog without reporting issues. Thus it would probably be acceptable for cats, although they might object to the small dog biscuit applied as garnish to the bowl.

      2. I’ve had many a kitty that liked a taste of yogurt. I was thinking something alcoholic, maybe Kumiss (though that’s horse milk). No cats have liked anything beer like. Current pair are always curious but lower the glass and they wrinkle their nose at a minimum. Hiccup will turn and make burying motions marking his thoughts…

          1. That’s a new one to me, although much of my experience with cats was when I couldn’t have a wineglass in my hand (too young). They will eat odd things. Unique foods I’ve seen
            Bumble bees
            Maple Syrup
            White sugar
            Spicy Thai food
            The two most astounding to me were the white sugar and the Thai food. The white sugar is odd because allegedly cats can’t taste sweet (genetic knockout). But the only flavor in refined sugar IS sweet. Tyger (the cat who liked it) was so aggressive about it the sugar bowl had to go in a cabinet or he’d knock the top off and sit dipping his paw (the same one that went in the cat box) in it and licking it off. The Thai food was a curried beef dish. The cat that liked it would steal a piece of beef and nibble at it. After each time he put his mouth on it he’d sneeze and shake his head and do odd things with his tongue. but yet in 15 seconds or so he was right back at it. that dish was right at my limits for hot (and I like hot) I’m not sure how or why that cat liked it so much.

            1. We had a Siamese cat when we were children, who would gamely eat ANYTHING that he saw us eat. Bread dough. Canned peaches. Cornflakes. Popcorn. As long as he saw us eating it, he would chow down.
              That was Clancy, of blessed name. A magnificent creature, a Himalayan Siamese – that is, a cross between a white Persian and a Siamese. The coloring and temperament of a Siamese, but the lush fur and heft of a Persian.
              A neighbor of ours found him as a half-grown kitten, treed by their goat in their backyard, and he became ours.

          2. I had a ferret who was partial to Crystal Pepsi and vodka. Which would have been cute if he hadn’t been a mean drunk.

            (And mixing with vodka was the only legitimate use for Crystal Pepsi.)

  51. When James Lileks had to ease the much-beloved, incredibly long-lived Jasper into his next life, he wrote something I vow to never forget when these decisions fall to us. He wrote, “We’d been waiting for a sign. He was waiting for permission.” My condolences on the passing of the Valiant Greebo.

  52. Dear Sarah, as a lifelong cliffdweller, I’ve never had a warm-blooded pet and thus have never quite understood the deep bonds that connect pets and people. So I’ve always lacked empathy for my friends whose pets died and had a hard time sharing their grief.

    So it is a tribute to you that for the first time ever, I have an inkling of how this really works.

    I hope you don’t find this too dry and analytical under the circumstances, but your eloquence deeply moved me, and I grieve with you.

    No tuna for me tonight, but the salmon I have on the menu will be consumed with thoughts and prayers for you and your beloved companion and friend Greebo.

    Warmest regards and blessings.

  53. My deepest condolences, cats are the most precious thing. It so hurts to lose a friend. I wish you all the comfort you can find. Tonight Tik-Tok herself and all the Jontarou Crest Cats will howl in Greebo’s honour. Old Scar will welcome Greebo into the finest company, to be loved for as long as he wishes.

  54. I’m so sorry for your loss, and we will soon be sharing your pain, yet again. My oldest son is soon to lose his faithful canine companion, Skippy, to a large tumor.

    It will be devastating for my son, especially, as he has been accompanied by Skippy since he was 8 years old.

  55. Hey Sarah- As a longtime reader who has not left a comment before, please accept my compliments on your memorial to Greebo. I am a dog guy, and to my mind Will Rogers put it best; “If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.” A proper sentiment for Greebo. -T

  56. Sarah

    I am very sorry for your loss. Animals can sometimes show us how to be our best selves, and Greebo sounds like one of the best.

    In sympathy as a pet lover,


  57. What a touching post. Thanks for writing. We also raised a kitten born in the bushes next to our neighbors’ house. Your account of the amazing Greebo’s exploits brings memories of Jazzy back to me.

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