Farewell to Teddy Cat

So, yesterday morning, our old kitty died.

She was with us for 16 1/2 years, half a year longer than the maximum most Maine Coon cats are expected to live, and nearly two years after being diagnosed with kidney disease.

She led a happy, healthy and long life, always a beautiful and gracious presence in our home. Even two days before she died, she was going outside on the patio to soak up the spring sun and sniff the breeze, always one of her very favorite things.

I wasn’t home. I was away at a conference. By the time it became clear to David that she was dying, it was too late for me to make it home. Saturday afternoon, she wasn’t doing well.  He was up most of the night Saturday night with her and I dreamed all night that she was lying on my hotel bed next to m. We talked early Sunday morning. She was suddenly in a lot of pain, he said, and he thought he should take her into the vet that day, for the final injection, so she wouldn’t suffer. I wanted to tell him to wait for me to get home that night, but I knew that wasn’t fair to her. So I agreed,  tucked the grief away and went to teach my workshop.

When I got back to my room, David had texted me that she’d died at home.

So, while I’m full of grief today, I’m grateful for so many things.

I’m grateful her decline was so swift, that she was able to enjoy her life until that very last night, instead of lingering in misery.

I’m grateful for this man of mine, who sat with her and comforted her until the light went out of her eyes. That she died at home, in her favorite sleeping spot.

I’m maybe grateful I didn’t have to watch it, myself.

Most of all, I’m grateful for all the years she spent with us. All that she brought to our life together.

This afternoon we’ll bury her. Maybe under the stone bench she loved to sit on to look out over the valley, while the sun warmed her fur.

Our lives will go on, but we’ll always carry a piece of her special graciousness with us.

51 Replies to “Farewell to Teddy Cat”

  1. Oh Jeffe! As a fellow cat lover I know the pain of losing one very well. My family lost our dog and my cat of ten+ years in the span of three weeks a couple years back. The dog was very sick, and as for my cat, it was her time. Just the timing of it all was very… Crushing. I still dream about her, and sometimes I think I catch glimpses of her.

    I will say in the short moments we crossed paths over the weekend you held yourself together with extreme grace. I’m very sorry for your loss and I’ll be thinking of you to get through this. Hoping you will find yourself a new furry child. 🙂

    1. Thank you, Lex – that sounds crushing. We lost an old dog and a sick cat close together like that once, and it was awful. This isn’t anywhere near that pain. And thank you for the compliment. I knew I couldn’t talk about it without breaking down, so the solution was not to discuss it at all. We have the rest of our fur family still, so we’ll get through this just fine.

  2. I’m so sorry, Jeffe, for your loss. May your many happy memories of her sustain you through this difficult time. I know only too well what you must be going through. Your husband sounds like a true hero. :’-) Mine did the same for me in a similar situation. Makes me love him all the more.

  3. 🙁

    So sorry to hear of your loss Jeffe. (My old man cat is turning 16 in another month or so, and it looms in the back of my mind a lot.)


    I’m glad Teddy was so well loved.

  4. Bless David’s heart for tending Teddy so diligently and through such difficulty. I am so sorry she’s gone. She lived to a grand old age, buoyed by your love and care.

  5. Oh Jeffe – hard to believe because she seemed so happy and relatively healthy two weeks ago. It’s wonderful that she lived happily until the very end, moving from heated bath mat and sun-splashed blankets, to happy lap cuddling with you and David. Your description of David’s tender care left me crying. His gentleness and ministrations clearly helped love her out of life.

    I’m thinking of you, David, and Isabel. Teddy will be sorely missed by all.

    1. I know it, Laurie. I was worried about her on our trip, but then she seemed to be doing better. I kept thinking, “when she can’t jump up on the bed anymore, then I’ll know she’s close to the end.” Bless her heart, she did all of her favorite things until the last 24 hours or so. You’re so right on David – couldn’t love him any more than I do.

  6. Oh Jeffe! I’m so sorry! That’s a terrible thing to come home to. I’ve got kitties and puppies and losing one of them is so, so hard. You obviously took great care of her if she grew to such a ripe old age. Sending cyber hugs.


  7. Jeffe, I’m so very sorry for your loss. Every special pet owns a piece of our hearts, which break a little with their passing. Teddy is at peace and still with you always.

  8. I’m so sorry for you. It’s always hard to have to say goodbye to a pet, but after so many years it must leave a big empty spot in your life. *hugs*

  9. I lost a kitty to this same disease and I know how this feels. I don’t know the right words to offer; a horrible thing for a writer. I only know that your kitty probably WAS sleeping next to you all night in her dreams too.

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  11. OH, honey!!! I just saw this! Oh, my heart goes out to you. I so know how hard, hard, hard it is to lose a pet. How they are like children, and part of us, and go through so much.

    I do think animals are very uncomplicated about death, even easy and simple and free about it, but that doesn’t make it easy for those of us left behind.

    What a lucky cat for a life with you two, and a sad parting. (and, her very own spirit guide! I saw that on today’s post!)

    xo So sorry

    1. Thank you, Carolyn. They do feel like so much a part of us. I can’t believe how much I miss her. But yes – I hope her spirit guide is leading her to a special new life.

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