Goodbye to my cat

I said goodbye to an old friend, but I’m not used to his absence.

My conscious mind knows he’s gone, but my subconscious isn’t convinced. It still expects to find him underfoot, or in the next room.

It’s only been a day, so I guess that’s not surprising. But when I glance past the breakfront and his bowl isn’t in its usual place on the shelf, I have a moment of – well, not alarm, but that special zing that happens when you notice your watch is missing from your wrist, or your wallet isn’t in its usual place in your pocket. Then of course I immediately realize that he doesn’t need that bowl now, and never will again.

Last night, getting into bed was somehow made more difficult by not having to move him out of the way first. His habit was to jump up on the bed just when he knew we were about to turn in for the night, and place himself where I’d sit on him if I wasn’t looking. But of course he knew I’d be looking. He was confident that his years of training had not been wasted, and I could be relied upon to move him aside before I sat down. Then we would have a few minutes of petting, and I’d assure him that he was a terrible nuisance, after which I’d move him further aside and lie down. This pretty much ended his interest; he would try to crawl up toward our faces, but he knew the attention was finished for the evening. After a moment or two he’d hop down and go off on whatever cat business occupied him at night.

In the morning the routine was reversed. He lay on the foot of the bed, not too badly cramping the area my feet were trying to occupy, until I awakened. Then he stayed put, knowing exactly the routine, as I went through the usual bathroom rituals. But when I pulled on my pants, he knew his time had come. He yawned, stretched, stood, and presented himself for petting. I’d do so for a few moments, then tell him “Time to go, kitty” and give a small push, more a hand signal, near his rump. He would then jump down from the bed and walk leisurely out the doorway, again trusting me not to close the door on his bushy tail.

Tomorrow my feet will not be cramped, and I’ll notice. As I put on my watch and leave the bedroom, I’ll not need to mind his tail. There will be lots of instances like that, I’m sure. Swift little reminders of what was, and what is no more.

When he was tiny, amazingly now 20 years ago, he would attach himself to your ankle with little kitten claws, and then make his way up to your shoulder like an alpine ice climber. Trying to pry him off was like pulling velcro, from which he got his name. Back then he liked to lay on our faces after we fell asleep. I remember waking up with mouthfulls of cat fur and slinging him off and against the wall. He was both resilient and persistent. By the time the wall had a dirty spot from cat grease, he finally gave in on the issue.

He was a kitten raised with two puppies, Stef’s Doberman and her Husky. He never accepted a servile position with those dogs, nor with any other dogs he encountered for the rest of his life. Any dog that attempted to chase him was treated to a swift turn, a snarl, some spit, and a paw across the muzzle. Even big dogs were taken aback. And, just to prove his point, he would periodically creep up on them, bite their ears, and chase them around the room, just to show who was boss.

All human visitors were inspected immediately upon entry. If they measured up they would be allowed to pet his highness for an endless period. Such petting was enforced by repeated demands including head butting and, if the visitor attempted to put some distance between them, by reaching out with a forepaw to give a reminder poke. Unacceptable humans, like overly energetic children, were simply ignored. He would never descend to the level of physical altercation with them; instead he’d come near us, trailing the human child, as if to say “get this away from me!”.

Later in life he did a lot of lounging around, unostentatiously supervising the household. Weekends when Stef would take a nap on the couch, he would climb to the highest part of her reclining form and nap there, like the king of the mountain.

As his weight and condition began to decline, we wondered how the inevitable end would play out. Would he suffer painfully, or perhaps become deranged? But no, instead he simply became more and more frail. A week ago he could no longer jump onto the bed or the couch, and we had to help him up. Then he couldn’t jump down without a crash, and we had to watch closely, notice his desires and intentions, and help him around to the next comfortable position. Finally, for the last two days he was unable to move himself from place to place. He drank, but had no interest in food. It was apparent that life held no further attraction to him. He had maintained his dignity throughout, and his condition was a burden to him. It was time.

I petted him and told him goodbye, and he gave me a small head bump of acknowledgement. After 20 years of friendship and respect, there was nothing else for either of us to say. Then I watched as he fell into the final sleep.

Velcro, I miss you. You were one damn fine companion. If there really is a Rainbow Bridge, I hope you’ll wait for me there.

That was very well written, and very touching. I’m so sorry you’ve lost your Velcro. He was obviously a great cat companion. Thank you very much for sharing so much about him - I feel as though I almost got to know him as well.

Thanks. He truly was different.

I’m so sorry and hope with time the loss will not be so devastating. Something got in my eyes toward the end of your story.

He was one lucky cat to have owned such a one as you.

That was a nice tribute. He does sound like a special cat and it sounds like you took good care of him.

What a beautiful tribute to a well-loved kitty. Velcro was obviously a special guy. I am so very sorry for the empty spot he has left behind.


Beautiful story: thanks for sharing that. Did you say he was 20 years old???

I am sorry to hear of your loss. Sending supporting thoughts your way.

I’m so sorry. Reading this reminded me of having to put down my cat a few years ago… I read this just about to leave work and I had to collect myself before I stepped out of my office :frowning:

Lovely tribute. {{{}}}} Sadden by your loss.

I am so sorry for your loss - he sounds like a great cat, and it sounds like you had each other exactly where you needed to be in each other’s lives.

Goodnight, Velcro - you will be missed. I will give my girls extra time cramping my feet just for you.

I’m so sorry. sending you lots of hugs

I’m sorry for your loss. :frowning: Letting go is never easy, even after they’ve had a long and happy life.

Great tribute CannyDan. Sounds like he had an outstanding life.

What a lovely tribute. I’m sorry for your loss.

I am so sorry for your loss. We are lucky they choose to share our lives with us, and they bring such joy. It is so hard to let go.

Ugh, WHY do I always read these threads? It makes my allergies act up something awful. That was eloquent.

I’m so sorry :frowning:

Do you have a picture of Velcro you could share? It would be fitting.

A lovely tribute to Velcro, he sounded like a fine companion. I’m sorry for your loss, I know how much of a hole they leave behind them.