Thursday, April 18, 2013

When you aren't there

Being away from home is hard right now.

It is hard not to be able to be with our 18-year-old cat, Roscoe, as he leaves this world.

It's hard not to be able to be there with Lee, when he takes our big, black-and-white kitty with the longest tail ever to the vet's office today. He needs hugs from me, and I need hugs from him, but neither of us can get them until I go home.

Roscoe's health has been declining for the past year. But as is so often the case with pets, the vet couldn't give a solid diagnosis. So he'd been on medication that helped for a little while. For a little while, he gained back some of the weight he'd been losing. But then he started losing it again.

Cancer, we worried. But there aren't really any good options for treating an 18-year-old cat (or cat of any age, really) even if you know that he has cancer. All we could do is keep a close eye on him, see that he is eating and using the litter box, and let him enjoy his life. Let him keep doing the things he likes to do:

Be let out in the morning so he can pee against the privacy fence to mark his territory against that marauding orange tomcat.

Sit on the arm of the sofa, burrow his nose into my hair and purr loudly into my ear.

Knead my hair with his paws at every opportunity.

Glue himself to Lee's leg while he's sleeping.

Plant himself on top of all the catnip I've scattered on the floor just so that he doesn't have to share it with Stazi Lu.

Roscoe has wrapped me in pure, unadulterated love. I've been his person all these years since we brought him home from the humane society, his primary person.

He chose me first. He chased off the other shelter cats and refused to let me leave him behind. After his rough start, he has had a long and happy life, but it is hard not to be there with him when he is leaving us.

If I could go back home right now, I would. What was I thinking, leaving my little family behind?

So I sit crying for loved ones far away, alone in a place that isn't mine, reminded that loss can come any day, any moment, whether we stay or we go.

Oh, precious little life, goodbye.


  1. So very sorry to hear this, Carmine. Sending you and Lee and Roscoe lots of love and prayers.

  2. I'm sorry. I know what this is like. My 17 year old beloved Molly died when I was 3000 miles away. I hope you are comforted by visitations in dreams of your Roscoe, which is what helped me. I send you blessings and prayers and hope things get better and easier soon.

  3. Oh, that's so sad for both of you. I'm sorry.

    but, too, take heart in what I once read in "The Natural Cat" when the author found formerly stressed-when-their-person-was-gone cats could be remarkably calmed when the not-present-human spent quiet time "sending" loving thoughts and imagining the cat as blessed and peaceful even in their absence.

    Roscoe knows.


  4. I am so sad to read this. A cat is such a blessing as a friend. I personally don't believe in space or distance, not at the level of light, of love. I agree with what Wendy wrote. And I wish you and your family comfort and peace of mind.

  5. Thank you all for your kindness. I definitely was sending him heart-open, surging sunbursts of love, and my husband said he died peacefully, purring as he was being stroked, which comforts us. And I hope he does visit in my dreams, too...a dream full of my beloved lost ones would be a wonderful thing.


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