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#444657 - 08/19/13 07:15 AM Kitty Saved My Life
Lancer Offline

Registered: 07/13/12
Posts: 901
Loc: Florida
I debated putting this in the Off Topic forum, but as I thot about it, seems it belongs here. I lost my longest lived cat, Ricky, last week. And he saved my life.

When I've been at my worst, overwhelmed and, yes, suicidal (especially a couple times the past few of years...I'm NOT there now), this little guy was sometimes the only reason I decided to stick around. I knew he was getting older, so I made a promise to him (and to myself), I would be with him until the end...which came Wednesday the 14th, just five days ago, at 16 years old.

So many details to fill in, but I'll try to keep it brief. I've had nine cats over 26 years, two distinct "families". His "family" overlapped with the last survivor of the first family, Adam (on the right, pic below with Ricky). So, he was the last connection I felt I had to any of them. When Ricky lost the last of his family seven years ago, I knew he wouldn't tolerate a new kitty and I made sure I respected that. He flew solo with me. So that loss is particularly rough. And it's the first time in 26 years I haven't had a feline friend under my roof. As I told another member, the silence is deafening.

After I got sick in '01 and lost everything the following year, Adam and the second group were the only reason I didn't off myself. I could not imagine abandoning them like that, all the confusion and fear it would cause them, etc. Oh, they'd survive like I did. But not well.

In short, these guys literally saved my life. In return, I made sure I was the best cat daddy I could be. And it helped that I work out of my home, so it wasn't like I'd disappear for hours almost every day. They knew I'd be here.

Right now I feel like a ship without an anchor. The sobbing jags come and go. Had a large shoot last week, so I had to keep it together to get the job done. Just as well I was distracted. And, looking at the pictures of these guys over the years, despite the sobbing it brings on, I'm particularly grateful for my craft.

But it's been an awful and awfully quiet weekend. Much of it has been decided which reminders are okay to have out and which need to be put away for now. And I'll likely tackle his cremation tomorrow if I'm up to it.

I'll fill in more as I'm able, but had to post to get it off my chest.

#444658 - 08/19/13 07:44 AM Re: Kitty Saved My Life [Re: Lancer]
peroperic2009 Offline

Registered: 10/09/11
Posts: 3860
Loc: South-East Europe
Hi Lancer,
I'm so sorry to hear about your loss.
Adam and Ricky are so cute on that photo. I can imagine how are you feeling at the moment...

Hang on

My story

#444659 - 08/19/13 07:52 AM Re: Kitty Saved My Life [Re: Lancer]
victor-victim Offline

Registered: 09/27/03
Posts: 6387
Loc: 𝒪 𝒦anada
my condolences for your loss.

if you love your cat like we do in our family,
it ain't easy to say good-bye to a good friend.

our dear "stubby" is very near the end of his healthy life.
we got him when my kids were preschool,
now my oldest is in her graduation year.
we have no idea how old he was when he 'strayed' into our life.
we don't know how much time we have left.
he is still affectionate, but no longer playful.
he is getting clumsy and weak.
he limps and sleeps and eats and cuddles.

your story has me feeling sad.
not looking forward to the inevitable.


#444678 - 08/19/13 03:20 PM Re: Kitty Saved My Life [Re: Lancer]
Chase Eric Offline

Registered: 10/25/10
Posts: 2866
Lancer, I am so sorry for your loss. The gentle presence of pets in our lives (and I am very much a "cat" person, too) keeps us in touch with the things that really matter - simple and unconditional love (as much a cliche as that has become, it is so very true).

I lost my 22 year old cat not too long ago, and realized that she was the living connection to my history, my emergence into adulthood. Relationships have come and gone, jobs and schooling have altered my professional role in society, old friends have disappeared and new ones have filled the void, and I have moved all around this country. In a world full of variables and uncertainty, she was a constant. In the midst of changes all around and within me, she never did. She was the presence that kept me emotionally grounded, and no matter how my day went, when I walked in the door coming home, the only thing that mattered to her was that I came back to her.

And in my toughest times, just allowing for the briefest moment to exchange my priorities with hers - to look in her big, glassy eyes and lose myself in her little world - gave me peace and the strength to return to my own.

She WAS home, I suppose.

The goodbyes in life are so tough. I've lost my father to a sudden, unexpected death. I may be losing my mother to Alzheimer's - a slow and difficult goodbye. I lost my best friend to suicide. And I lost my cat. And if you asked me to quantify each as if I could apportion the grief, I honestly could not tell you how those scales would balance. My mother, my father, my best friend, my cat - perhaps the heart just doesn't measure things like our minds think it should.

If it helps, it does get better. The emotional wounds heal, we learn to accept. I am sure you know that, but I think it still helps to hear it. Ricky is gone. The pain you feel is just the love that remains - the love you built over almost 17 years. In my experience, that love mellows into a true and gentle part of us. A part of Ricky stays with you as long as you open your heart and keep him there.

#444703 - 08/19/13 08:44 PM Re: Kitty Saved My Life [Re: Lancer]
Lancer Offline

Registered: 07/13/12
Posts: 901
Loc: Florida
Thanks for the notes guys. Loved what you said Eirik: "And in my toughest times, just allowing for the briefest moment to exchange my priorities with hers - to look in her big, glassy eyes and lose myself in her little world - gave me peace and the strength to return to my own." Summarizes my experience. Wow. 22 years! You were indeed blessed buddy.

Cremation arrangements today were awful and I'm going to take a break. Local Humane Society hires clueless little robot teens who can't handle the workload and have no sense of priorities. (HS priority, I found out, is to take care of those with dead pets first, no matter who's in line). I'd managed to barely hold it together during the drive with Ricky carefully bundled in his favorite towel on the seat next to me while I held his little paw. But cradling his little body in my arms while waiting on some stupid kid was too much and we both left because I had to have a good cry in the car.

My vet wanted a full third more for cremation. Period. I walked out. (And I'm finding another vet when I get the new feline family).

Came back home emotionally exhausted. Ricky still bundled. Called the Humane Society and made a complaint (i.e., "What is WRONG with you people?"). Their administrator, God bless her, was none too happy with the story and told me she'd make sure someone was there to handle it as it should be done, and as they had done it when I lost two others seven years ago...but I dealt with adults that time.

Another half hour drive back, but it went smoothly. Nevertheless, it was all I could do to maintain some shaky composure behind sunglasses. Of course the dam burst when I got back into the car with his towel.

I think I'm done for the day. Hell.

#444708 - 08/19/13 09:59 PM Re: Kitty Saved My Life [Re: Lancer]
BraveFalcon Offline

Registered: 02/26/13
Posts: 1231
Loc: The ATL

Hi Lancer. Man I can feel the pain in your posts here in this thread and believe me, I know that pain all to well. It's making me tear up as I write this. I had two sweet babies that I lost a little over two years ago. They were both very old and died within a month of each other. It hurt so much. Don't feel bad about any public displays of emotion either. I had both of those cats cremated and fucking lost it both times when I went in to pick up their ashes. I didn't make it back to the car before that happened. I cried right there in the place in front of the people who worked there.

Stay strong friend. You will always miss and remember your Ricky but the grief and pain will subside. We are here for you until then. Take care. Peace,


#444713 - 08/19/13 10:28 PM Re: Kitty Saved My Life [Re: BraveFalcon]
Lancer Offline

Registered: 07/13/12
Posts: 901
Loc: Florida
You reminded me to correct my post. In fact my dam burst in the parking lot...tears rolling from behind the sunglasses. Damn.

#444720 - 08/19/13 11:45 PM Re: Kitty Saved My Life [Re: Lancer]
bodyguard8367 Offline

Registered: 05/16/12
Posts: 1159
Loc: ""

Edited by bodyguard8367 (02/27/14 11:53 PM)

#444724 - 08/19/13 11:54 PM ! [Re: Lancer]
Smalltown80sBoy Offline

Registered: 03/26/12
Posts: 2217

Edited by Smalltown80sBoy (03/01/14 02:27 AM)

#444740 - 08/20/13 03:27 AM Re: Kitty Saved My Life [Re: Lancer]
ThisMan Offline

Registered: 01/23/13
Posts: 778
Loc: upper south

I am sorry Ricky is no longer with you. Cry all you want, when you want, where you want. I lost my best animal friend of 13 years two days after the spouse died. I have yet to cry. It's part of my fucked up non-emotional state the T points out every dang week... so cry all you want. Its what we are supposed to do when we lose someone we love. And the tribute- so full of love and devotion- was just beautiful.

Thanks for sharing and will be thinking about you.
For now we see through a glass, darkly.

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