Good Night Kitty

Good Night Kitty

When I had a home birth Kitty paced up and down on the back of the sofa where I was sprawled out screaming in pain, begging for it all to be over with.  I swear if he’d known what to do, he’d have dragged warmed towels down from the bathroom for me.  Kitty just looked like he wanted to help or at least like he really wanted to know what on earth was going on.

When the both of my kids were babies, and they cried, he’d wander up to them and put his wet nose on their nose sometimes, as if he wanted to comfort them (or he could have been trying to tell them to shurrup, I’m not sure).  I have noticed that when cats do that wierd yowling thing they do sound a lot like crying babies.  I reckon Kitty thought they were trying to communicate in very bad, scrambled ‘Catish’.  He’d often pace around them looking worried, staring at me as if saying ‘Well!  Do something!’

Often I’d trek up the hill, to be met half way by Kitty, who’d miaow and accompany me for the rest of the ascent – jumping on the garden walls, over gates and plants to keep up with me like a little Kitty athlete.  He did this yesterday in fact, and as he ran down the hill towards me it broke my heart just a little – because I knew it would be the last time I’d meet him on the homeward bound trip.

You see, we knew that today was the end of the road for him.  He’s been poorly for ages now, being sick, being sick at the ‘other end’ you could say too, not making it to his cat litter, not bothering to get to his cat litter, losing weight and generally going downhill. We tried everything we could think of, but when push came to shove, his symptoms became something we were unable to live with.  The decision was made and this morning Horace took Kitty on a one way trip to the vets.   We gave Darlek the option to come with us, but she declined so I had to stay at home with the kids and leave Horace to take him in.  I hated that.  I wanted to be there, but it couldn’t be helped.

This morning we gave him his last meal, and Horace sprinkled cheese on it.  Sounds horrible, but Kitty has always loved cheese.  Still, he happily polished off the cheese, and then we all stroked him and petted his beautiful soft ears and said our goodbyes.  Well I did, Sausage was too busy watching Horrid Henry.  Horace bundled him into his cat box, and I quietly cried a little as he walked out the door with my furry baby.  I didn’t want Darlek to see my crying, but when I came back in, she was just as bad as me, so we hugged each other and I told her about how when I was a kid we had a dog that had died and that I had sobbed my heart out then.

I remember how much that hurt as a child, and how I didn’t understand why our beautiful labrador had just stopped moving, and why no matter how much I shouted ‘Come back!’ and hugged her, she didn’t prick her ears up and look at me anymore or move.  God it hurt.  I wish Darlek didn’t have to learn about death.  I’d prefer her to just learn about life, about baby chicks, about things growing from seeds into big plants, about frogspawn turning into tadpoles and then frogs.  It seems so cruel that everything must come to an end.  Kids are taught so much about how life begins – but so little is said about death and decay and it’s a very tough issue to deal with.   Today I struggled, with my own emotions and with explaining what was happening too.

When Horace returned home with a Kitty that didn’t move anymore wrapped in a sheet, she said that he had been ‘put to sleep,’ and really did seem to think he was just in a very deep slumber.  Horace explained that Kitty’s heart had stopped and that it wouldn’t start again, he wasn’t going to wake up.  She stood in the garden with us digging a hole at the foot of the fruit trees, wiping tears away with streaks of soil on her cheeks.  Darlek was determined to help nonetheless and shovelled soil along with her dad.  Sausage stood by the grave very  solemnly for about a minute and questioned us about what we were doing.

He said things along the lines of ‘Kitty can’t move if you put soil on him’ and when we suggested putting stones over the grave, he said we’d hurt him. When we explained that Kitty’s body wasn’t working anymore and that he couldn’t be hurt, he stood and cried too saying he wanted Kitty back which broke my heart just that little bit more.  Then in true 3 year old fashion, he ran down the garden shouting about finding sticks and making a den to keep the zombies out.

I lifted Kitty’s body out of the cat box onto the damp dark earth next to the hole and all of us gave him one final stroke.  He was still warm to the touch, and his fur felt so soft.  The poor love had had a nose bleed, and stank to high heaven because he’d lost control of his bowels.  Poor mite.  Gently I shuffled my hands around his body and lifted him into the hole.  Horace tucked his tail neatly around his tummy, and we began to shovel the soil over him.  I remember sobbing and saying that I couldn’t bear putting soil over his face.  I’m such a soft touch, I just couldn’t bear it.

After we finished filling in the hole, we all found stones from the garden and piled them on his final resting place.  We’ll make a little cairn for him I think.  Just as we were finishing the grave, one of our next door neibours started practising his bagpipes.  It felt strangely like a final solemn musical salute in a really silly melodramatic way I suppose.  I couldn’t help but think maybe I should salute, although I resisted the urge.  It wasn’t really an appropriate time to be acting the fool, and anyway, I was too busy trying not to bawl my eyes out like I did when our old dog died twenty odd years ago.  Age and experience hasn’t dulled the pain of losing a pet, it still hurt just as keenly as it did then.

Carrying an empty cat box and heavy hearts we set off home.  The green hills in the distance lit up with sunshine, and the rest of the hillside and the town lay in shadow.  The cold air had made all of our fingers numb so we gratefully went inside to warm ourselves, leaving Kitty nestled amongst the roots of the fruit trees, stone cold but peacefully and permanently asleep.

I know he was only a cat, but we loved him so much.  Good night Kitty. xxx

Sleep well my love, we'll miss you. x


12 responses to “Good Night Kitty

  1. Ah Kay, don’t say ‘he was only a cat.’ He was a member of your family and you loved each other. It sounds like you gave him a lovely send off. Hope you all feel better about it soon and the happy memories take over from the sadness xxx

  2. That was very moving, I know how much I love my cat so I hope you and your family can make it through this.

  3. I am in absolute floods of tears. So sorry to hear about your family’s loss. Every family pet is special, and I’m glad you have so many happy memories of your extra special Kitty.

  4. I’ve just cried with you and for you and for myself still mourning Biff. I know that there are no right words to say, that whatever is said just won’t be enough. I also know you did the right thing, and no matter how bloody awful that feels now, it is a decision you will look back on as being the right one. My heart goes out to all of you. Nuff said.

  5. night night Kitty. may you enjoy your roaming free of pain and suffering. and god bless all the bedlam family…xx

  6. Rest well little Kitty. ❤

    Sending you and your family loads of hugs. Animals become part of the family, they are always there and never tell.

  7. Ellen (@Webkinny)

    A poem for you *hugs*


    If it should be that I grow weak
    And pain should keep me from my sleep,
    Then you must do what must be done,
    For this last battle cannot be won.

    You will be sad, I understand.
    Don’t let your grief then stay your hand.
    For this day, more than all the rest,
    Your love for me must stand the test.

    We’ve had so many happy years.
    What is to come can hold no fears.
    You’d not want me to suffer so;
    The time has come — please let me go.

    Take me where my need they’ll tend,
    And please stay with me till the end.
    Hold me firm and speak to me,
    Until my eyes no longer see.

    I know in time that you will see
    The kindness that you did for me.
    Although my tail its last has waved,
    From pain and suffering I’ve been saved.

    Please do not grieve — it must be you
    Who had this painful thing to do.
    We’ve been so close, we two, these years;
    Don’t let your heart hold back its tears.

  8. I read this with tears streaming down my face. Sleep well, Kitty

  9. Aww, I don’t know what to say hun, am sat here crying, poor Kitty, but in a better place nowxxxxx

  10. What a beautiful piece of writing – I was so moved and actually felt I was there when you were burying Kitty. The lose of a pet is hard for a child but at least your two have the opportunity to learn death in a warm family environment and they will be stronger for the experience. Thanks for sharing this Kay. xxx

  11. Kay this had me in tears. What a horrible thing for all of you. Well done to you and Horace for handling it so well! As Susie said home is the best place for the kids to learn about this stuff, even if it makes you feel crap
    .Love to D and S.
    See you on the 26th

  12. I just want to say thanks for all your lovely supportive comments, on here and on Twitter. It’s been a tough couple of days, and I still keep expecting to see him sprawled out asleep on the window ledge, but that’s just the way it goes I suppose. You’ve all been so kind, thanks ever so much. x x x (hugs)

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