Monday, February 11, 2013


“I’ve learned of a baby who needs a good home—just like yours.”
Would you say that to a person who had just buried their child? Of course not. Yet you are quick to offer a stray cat hanging around your sister’s house to acquaintances, grief-stricken over the death of their cat. You beg them to take the sweet-natured calico an infirm neighbor can no longer properly care for, or the tabby of a coworker who is relocating, and can’t take her pet with her. You feel so sorry for those hapless creatures.
So do I, but like you, not enough to offer them our home. And certainly not enough to feed them from my baby’s dishes, play with his toys, or sleep in his favorite places.
At times I see him in those places, and smile. I also see him cock his little head as he sits, his two white-booted feet pressed tightly together in front of him. “What…you’re busy? Like I should care you’re busy? I want to play. With you. Now.”
Yes, animals do talk. Like humans, they express themselves with body language. At times it can be as clear as any sound uttered out loud. As with person-to-person communication, sometimes we miss the message. My husband and I missed it with KittyCat’s illness. So did his regular veterinarian. The next vet we rushed him to, Dr. Christy Webb, caught it. But the antibiotics and breathing treatments that could have saved him, had they begun earlier, mocked us with false hope. KittyCat endured horrific distress his last night on this earth.
“Oh, KittyCat,” I’ve sobbed a thousand times, “how your daddy and I loved you. How your suffering tortures us still. And we miss you terribly.”
“People, stop!” I’ve wanted to scream several times. On behalf of anyone who has lost a precious pet lately, stop. Please stop giving us  your ideas about what will fill the vacancy in our homes and hearts.
We may appear to have moved on. We act with our usual professionalism at work. We attend functions, hopefully displaying courtesy and friendliness. We perform our daily responsibilities.
But in private moments, we cry.


  1. I think some people just don't know how it feels to lose a pet. I for one don't know. I have had my Smelly Cat for 13 years and have never been close to any animal that has passed. I'm very sorry for your loss. I hope that people can learn to be more sensitive and come to understand that there is a grieving process that must take place.

  2. Thank you, Sweetness. For a very young person, you know grief more than most can imagine. I hope Smelly Cat has several good years left. If you need a sitter for Oscar and Smelly Cat, you know where you can bring them.

  3. Sorry to hear about this. Pets can fill so many little holes in our lives.

    I did not realize you were back to blogging. I thought I had set up my blog feed to get updates of your blog, but apparently not. I am glad to see you posting again.


  4. Thanks, Amanda. I think one thing that makes KittyCat's death so hard is that he was young, and had been misdiagnosed by his regular vet.

    For all of that, my grief does not turn to anger toward her. As a secretary, I certainly made my share of mistakes, and looking back, I'm thankful I was not lured to a career that involved anything medical. We can laugh at our typos.

    I liked your article on kindness. Had I felt angst toward KC's regular vet, I believe your thoughts would have helped me rethink my attitude. --b