The cat who saved my life.

In 1998 my cat Dagny had kittens. In my bed. At 3 o’clock in the morning. Dagny had 4 kittens. I kept two. Gouda and Sleestak.

By that time I was pretty deep into my alcoholism. I kept a job, and did pretty well at it, but I was drinking heavily.

The same year I got promoted and moved from Albuquerque to Reston VA. I had been promoted. I drove across the U.S. in a UHaul, towing my car by myself with three pissed off cats. Dangy, Slee and Gouda.

I worked at my new position for a while but the move, in hindsight, was a bad idea. I ended up isolated, without family or friends, and soon my drinking got worse. During the really dark days I thought of suicide daily. I had a problem that I didn’t know how to solve (and I didn’t really want to solve it. I wanted to keep drinking but not have the negative consequences). The only reason I didn’t kill myself was Dagny, Slee and Gouda.

I ended up losing that job and moved out to Vegas. I tried a couple times to get my shit together but it really didn’t work. I was in an endless cycle of getting drunk, hating myself because of it, and then drinking to forget that I hated myself. But the cats, my friends and family, were always there and always loved me.

This went on for a while, there is a lot of drama but that isn’t the point of this. Through it all my cats kept me going.

I ended up going to treatment with the help of my family. My family suggested that I find a home for the kittens while I tried to fix myself. I said that I wouldn’t go if I had to give up my cats. Dumb, maybe, but they kept me going. So my cats lived with my sister for a while.

I didn’t get sober that time around. Along the way I had an apartment fire. Dagny ran away and I never found her. It took another few tries. Finally I ended up in a halfway house for three months. Same deal as before, I’d go but I wouldn’t give up my little tribe, now down to Slee and Gouda.

The last time worked. I got sober. And after I got out of the halfway house I got an apartment and brought my girls home. Since then I’ve been through a lot but my girls were always there, just wanting food and love. The dark days were behind me and they still loved me and I loved them.

Slee had been acting a bit off for a week or so, peeing outside the litter boxes. We have a couple younger boy cats and I thought that she was just nervous because the boys would want to play with her while she was in the litter box, which she thought was an attack.

This morning I went to feed the cats. Slee is normally the first one there. She loves her food but she wasn’t there. I found her and Slee ran under the bed. My wife and I got her out. Slee was in bad shape. She had blood and gunk around her mouth and her butt was wet. She was lethargic. We put her in the cat carrier and she didn’t even try and fight.

We took her to the vet. They did an X-Ray. Slee’s bladder was basically shut down. Probably cancer.

So the took Slee in the back and put in a needle. They gave her some pain medication. They gave me some time with her. Slee perked up a little bit and started purring. I told her, over and over, how much she meant to me. That she was the best cat in the world. And she was. All she ever wanted was food and love. And she gave so much in return. She gave me the strength to live for a long time.

Slee purred lightly. I looked in her eyes and told her that she saved my life. And then the vet came in. I held Slee as she died.

When I got home I went directly to Gouda and gave her some love. She is going to be heartbroken. Her sister is gone. They would curl up in a big ball of cat and sleep together. They would clean each other and play.

And now it is just Gouda and I left from our original little tribe.


I am so sorry to hear about your loss. I venture to say that her passing was probably as easy as possible for her, because you were there with her, surrounding her with love.

By the way, I think Sleestack is an awesome name.

There are days when I feel like my cat, Orange Julius, is my one true friend.

I am so sorry. Those little furry lives are so short, but they make such an impact, and leave such an imprint on us.

Condolences from an internet stranger who understands…

I’m so sorry. You did right by her, letting her have a little time without pain to cuddle with you again. I know well how important pets can be to keep you hanging on, and you returned her love of you by caring for her, even through hard decisions.

It’s never easy, but it is the best final gift you can give to one who has given you so much.

You know, I think I’m getting allergies. My eyes are tearing up and the screen is all blurry.

I’m so sorry for your loss. but as Chimera just said, sometimes is the best gift you can give…

It’s probably too soon, but do you think Gouda might ever be able to tolerate a new roommate?

The kitties…they give us soooo much.

i feel the same way about my dog

We have four dogs and two other cats besides Gouda, Filmoore and Roadkill. Filmoore and Roadkill are a couple years old and Gouda is all about love and food while the other two want to play. Gouda doesn’t like that as she is an old broad. So no new cats for a while.

Gouda has been hanging out with me on the bed all day. She is used to curling up with Slee. They’d preen each other. Gouda would get insistent sometimes and hold Slee down to clean her ears.

I fear that Gouda is going to follow Slee. Her sister is gone and I think she is going to get lonely.


That was a great tribute, and made me cry. You got some great help from those cats and they got great loving from you: a perfect trade. Thanks for sharing this with us.

So sad. RIP Slee.
Thanks for sharing your story.

I’m sorry for your loss. Slee sounded like one heck of a good cat. Thanks for letting us share her with you for a little while.

Sorry for your loss Slee.

I’m sorry for your loss. I’m glad she had a long, happy life with someone who loved her and was there to hold her as she passed on. That’s about as perfect a life as a kitty can have.

A terrible, beautiful story Slee. Thank you for sharing it and your bond with your tribe. Give Gouda all the attention you can for now. She needs it, and so do you. Hugs to you and scritches for the furry ones.

I’m so sorry.

What a sweet story. My condolences.

sleestak, that was a beautiful, moving tribute. I’m sorry for your loss, but I’m very glad for you both that you and Slee had all that time together.

I remember you posting about your cats a while back. I have a terrible memory for some stuff but I remember thinking then that I loved their names and it was obvious how much they meant to you. I was afraid I knew what this thread was going to be about before I opened it but I had to know. I am so sorry for your loss, but I am glad you were both there for each other when needed.

Thanks for sharing such a personal story.
It really made me tear up.
I’m glad you could hold her at the very last.

You clearly know your pets well, which is proof of your love for them.
I’m sure Slee knew how much you loved her.